you want the place to live in and can see yourself living there for a long time...
Don't buy if:
you only plan on living there a few years (plan on leaving that area, having kids, etc)
if renting a comparable place is significantly cheaper
if because of price you have to live somewhere you don't really want just to afford it.
I think a home is not the best investment, in the traditional sense, in that:
-It's the ultimate UN-DIVERSIFIED investment (imagine owning a house in new orleans a few years ago)
-It's expensive to upkeep
-It costs 6% in fees just to sell it
-If you miss a few payments, they can take it away and your whole investment is lost
But if you're going to live in it for the long haul:
-Your payments will lower thru the magic of inflation (it will stay the same as the dollar become worth less)
-One day it will be paid off and you just have to pay property taxes (some day)
I live in chicago (ashland & chicago) and it never made sense to buy as we paid $750/mo and to buy in this area would probably triple our bills (though it would be bigger). All our friends who bought places (admittedly in the bubble) live far north or west and it takes them a half hour on the el to get to work. But we had a kid, and now schools are important, and we need more space so we're buying a townhome in river forest. Of course, the low prices, interest rates, and obama's 8 grand were also motivating factors that helped make now the time. But I'm buying a house because I want a house at this time - not just for the sake of buying. And if I could rent the same kind of space for half the price, I would. But to rent would be just as much, if not more - so it makes a lot of sense to buy. I don't think I'll ever move out of it (though I'm sure lots of people say that).
My understanding is that you are a real estate broker.
If yes, why not make an appointment with one of your ABR agents and ask them to represent you. A good Buyer Agent will take you through the Home Buyer Presentation and explain ALL the details of the home shopping.
And the best part is you get to sign your own Buyer - Broker Agreement! It does not get cooler then that! :-)
If by any chance, you only have listing agents in your brokerage, or all of your ABRs are overscheduled and currently busy working with other Buyers, I will be happy to meet with you, arm you with the most current information, stand by you through out the entire home-buying process, and make sure that your rights and financial interests as a purchaser are fully protected.
You will only be obligated to compansate me if you choose to purchase from FSBO - unless the FSBO
volunteers to compensate me.
Pros of working with one of your ABRs - You get to sign the Buyer-Broker Agreement
Cons of working with me - My Broker signs the Buyer-Broker Agreement :-)