Question Details

Pete Flint, Home Buyer in Noe Valley, San Fran...

Is home ownership still part of your American Dream? Yes/No - and why?

Asked by Pete Flint, Noe Valley, San Francisco, CA Mon Mar 2, 2009

Given all the economic news of late, I want to get some insight from home buyers/sellers/owners in the Trulia Voices community.

Help the community by answering this question:

Answers

368
NO. After building and paying on my home for 10 years at $1181 a month, it was auctioned today for foreclosure after being on the market for 7 months. And I still owed almost 100 thousand dollars!! The original loan was for 108 thousand dollars. The dream of homeownership turned into a nightmare and I don't want any part of it! I now rent a home almost twice as big for $1400 a month. i dont have to worry abt maintenance, taxes, insurance(renters ins. is $12 a month) or HOA dues. I am glad to be free of the weight of home ownership!!
11 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
No,

Homeownership is not my dream anymore.

Initially thought that it would bring an increased sense of identity in my community. I thought it would tie me to a community that shares and supports each other, much like participating in a local community church or charitable organization. I felt it would bring a renewed sense of involvement.

I believe that home ownership meant those things at one time. I think that is why we hold housing in such high esteem. If you own a home you should have a participant's stake in seeing things succeed.

Unfortunately over the last 10 years the reality has changed. Corrupt politicians and nepotistic local governments have eroded the value that community brings. Zoning and planning boards have failed to even remotely consider that community and family are the central focus of residential development. Even the school systems have become tainted by the hand of the politicians. Additionally, people started to buy homes as investments or "flips". The average American became more nomadic, moving every few years from home to home.

I feel no need to be included in this abberant reality. I don't even recognize the value of community in this new lifestyle.

Great job Politicians, your self-serving policies have alienated you from your constituency and only the contributions of failing institutions keeps you in power. Thank you for destroying democracy and capitalism.

Great job Wall Street, you not only destroyed the financial industry but the very fabric of the homeownership and community.

Great job RE agent turned House Flipper, you tore apart the truly great thing about homeownership and what is the true key to "location", community.

Will homeonwership become my dream again? Possibly, but I wouldn't count on it for the next few years. It takes time for the twisted delusion of the failed reality to fade.
10 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
I am a home owner and buyer/investor in the NYC market.

I have disturbingly noticed that there seem to be many realtors out there taking advantage of the current market in order to 'steal' properties from the banks and attempt to flip them;

I put in a solid offer on a short-sale property recently. (downpayment of 30% supported by bank statements showing enough cash for cash offer - bank preapproval and solid credit) I was told mine was the best offer at this time. Six weeks later I was contacted by the realtor who told me I could still buy the property at this price if I was still interested, however, not from the bank but from some 'other' company as the seller. On pressing for an explanation, the realtor basically admitted that the other seller would make a profit selling me the house... To me this means my offer was never even presented to the bank. If another better offer had come in, even if it was all-cash I should have been advised as I have financial capability of putting in an all-cash offer as well. This is at minimum a breach of fiduciary duty to the bank if not criminal.

I am focused primarily on REO properties and short-sales and have run across MANY situations now where either 1) I can't get the listing agent to return my call 2) the agent tells me the price is a mistake although the listed price is not subsequently corrected 3) I am told the house is sold already although it is continued to be listed as if still available for an extended period afterwards.

My feel is the listings are window-dressing for the banks and allows the realtors to either buy the properties themselves or sell them to someone with whom they have a pre-established relationship at below market prices because they simply don't show them or present the bank with offers.

I have also come across other situations where I am told it is a short-sale and then later that the property is owned by one of the agents who is now listing the property for sale through one of his brother agents.

My feeling if one person has done this probably it is becoming commonplace in the industry and is another instance of abuse of power. In the end this amounts to stealing from the banks and in turn stealing from the taxpayer who is bailing out the banks.

I plan to try to report the instances where I suspect this is happening to advise the banks if in fact they are unaware that this may be happening. I pay for acouple services like propertyshark which often list the banks who lend on a specific property., although I am not sure how accurate this information is. I don't know what else to do.

I wonder if any realtors out there would care to comment on this - Do you know of any colleagues who are doing this, and if so how do they justify it?
8 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
Rent until the market stabilizes. owning a home is a very good long term investment but anyone with half a brain can see, it's going to take a looooooong while before we start seeing appreciation. Buy in 2 to 3 years—As rental rates go through the roof, you’ll see more people buying real estate. This depression will take well over 10 years to pull out of, maybe longer. I have many friends that paid well over 600k for their home that is now worth 300k...they will not recover over night. It will literally take years. Realtors should be prepared to adjust their business model, everything is about to change. The general public is now cocooning (staying home) and will continue to ask for services that cater to staying home. Agents think online interviews, listing presentations, transparent real estate info---all the latest and greatest listings. Everything will be done form the homeowners PC, People are scared, they don't trust, they want us to come to them. Prepare for the future and be nimble.
8 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Owning a house is not for everyone: mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, fixing the toilet, pipes that leak or burst, obnoxious neighbors, outrageous taxes, etc etc etc. But all in all, owning a house has been part of my American dream, and I like it.
8 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
As a first time home buyer I would say yes a to your question.....but as I start thinking about things I think home ownership or obtaining such is so much more complicated giving the economy and the times we live now. More than ever, is a time when you really have to educate, research and prepare yourself for what's out there. There is an ever changing world of financial markets. Ideally finding a home would be an experience with all ups and no downs....but with the high rate of banks owning properties and people going for short sale and foreclosures and all of that craziness and just financial question of what the president has instore.... home buying seems much more volatile than ever. Renting takes out alot of factors and basically leave them to someone else who has already made the commitment and everything that comes with such.
8 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
This is a second post for me and a bit of an update. I have been in Alexandria Virginia where the homes are still well into the mid 500,000's and up working on remodels. The huge number of government employees and the security of thier jobs makes this area very good for service industry people like me. On average the going wage for construction workers is 4 to 5 times higher than in California, yet still the encroachment of illegal laborers is ever present and growing at an alarming rate. The locals do not like it one bit, especially since the Shandra Levy rape/murderer has been recently found to be one who has an existing criminal record but was released.

Property taxes will be going up nation wide very soon, and the affordability index( the percentage of the population that can afford to buy a home) is driven by the value of the home ,which is based on the COST of building it, along with the desireability of the area. Illegal labor reduces the cost by more than half but also reduces the earning potential of many of those who would also be buyers. A double edged sword for sure.

Home ownership is what gives us the opportunity to leave a legacy for our children. A nice home owned free and clear, unencumbered,(except for property tax and up keep!), and that has always been the launching point for the next generation to be able to afford college, to save money, and increase the wealth that will transend generations as the value increases. It will always be a security blanket for your future family,and for you in your later years. The greed factor of recent years has led buyers to try and get rich quick, and all it did was leave them holding a loan that was more than they could afford.

The real pain comes when the downpayment they once had is now gone with the home they could not afford, and the reality of 10 years of hard work and saving it up went with it. Now the likelyhood of repeating that windfall is ever more distant for most these days.

The bottom line here folks is, 'realestate is "ALWAYS A LONG TERMINVESTMENT". The longer you hold on the more it will pay off. Ask anyone who bought a home in 1985, and still has it now, or in 1975 and still has it now, did they lose? Those people are the winners! They paid 80 to 100,000 for a real nice home and are equity rich. Most own them out right and can tap into it if they need to. If you buy this year or next, hold on to it till 2025 at least, use it to buy another and rent that one out when you have the equity to do so, and the income that can handle it if something goes wrong. You can't lose if you do this.

My Dad bought a house in 1957 for 35,000 dollars. It is a Mansion. Most homes then cost about 10,000. He sold it when he retired in the late 70's because it was too big. If he held on for 10 or 20 more years he would have made several million. He still did very well, but his long life and short pension didnt stand the test of time as the amount he got monthly by 2003 was a pittance by 1977 standards, even with cost of living increases. I could never afford that home today and wish it had stayed in the family. He's gone now and for his last few years myself and my siblings had to chip in to support him, he was a very independant person and would want to be taken care of by living with one of us, and his girl friend of 85 liked thier privacy!

The story here folks is that the dream takes many years to come to fruition and you must be patient and do the right thing. The younger you start the longer you can live the dream, and it's almost fool proof. 3 extra loan payments per year can make a huge differance on a 30 year loan. The problem is most people now think of how little they can spend each month instead of how much extra they can spend on the loan. The quicker you own it, the quicker you own it. The key word here is leverage, and the less debt you owe the more leverage you have. Don't try and get rich, try and get wealthy. Rich is in the moment, but wealth transends generations.
7 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
Owning a home was part of my American dream until I bought into the dream. Now, I think home ownership is over rated and definitely not for everyone. If you want to be a proud home owner then you need a checking account with lots of money in it. You need a good contractor, a landscaper and a designer or you can spend every weekend for the next 30 years learning how to 'do it yourself'! That should keep you busy or you can rent and have the next 30 years of weekends doing what you really love. Like I said, I think home ownership is over rated and unless you are a true handyperson or have lots of money my suggestion is don't buy into the fairytale dream.
7 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Is home ownership still part of my American Dream? Yes, However, the funny part of this question is that over the past few years it went from being a "privilege" to trying to make owning a home a "right". Owning a home is not an entitlement program, it takes lots of sacrifies and hard work. From working hard in have a good job, to saving money as a downpayment, to building good credit, buying a home is a big deal!

I feel the sooner we go back to basics, the sooner this housing crisis will be over. I love my home as I am sure most American do. A home is a place that even same children love and know is a safe place. A home represents alot of things and I strongly feel that the sooner we realize this the sooner we can recover from this painful part of history.....
6 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
In 1961, the year I was born, my dad bought a new home in Huntington Beach. He was a carpenter and my mom, a stay at home mom. Now my kids rent, the same type home in Huntington Beach, just a few streets away . My son is a CPA my daughter is a Nurse, their income together barely makes rent. Now, a blessing in disquise, the homes in Orange County are so low and with the first time home buyers low interest and down, my children hope to buy their dream homes. Fixers, but still a dream come true and answer to prayer . Now my kids are thinking of staying in CA, when they were thinking they had to leave to buy a home.
They dont have a lot of extra money, but they have something money can't buy now. GREAT CREDIT!!
We taught our children to always pay their bills and keep their credit high. Now good ol' fashion morals and values are going to pay off for them.
6 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
I am concerned that my dream of owning an "affordable" home is now up in smoke because of the bank rescue plan. If the government is going to purchase the toxic real estate debt at bubble prices then I will loose out as not only as a potential buyer but as a tax payer.
6 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
yes it is still my american dream. I know what to do. I will only buy a house that is within my budget but not to the limit. I have to make sure that if ever I will be laid off from work I have to make sure that my monthly mortgage, my utilities, my food and some other necessities will be within the unemployment benefit amount that I will be receiving. And I will not carry balances on my credit cards So I do not have to undergo foreclosure. Total financial control is a must.
6 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
No. Although I invest in real-estate, I never considered home ownership to be part my American Dream.

I used to be a hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool renter-for-lifer, because I didn't want to deal with all of the headaches I've seen my parents, grandparents, and other relatives deal with from owning 1 or more properties. For me, the negatives (annoying/nosy neighbors, terrible tenants, demonic county inspectors, eminent domain issues, dandelion battles, etc) far outweighed the positives (tax deductions, and I can paint my walls), and it took me years before I'd even consider doing anything--other than running from and renting--real estate.

Later, I learned it's possible to acquire 1 or more properties, and to hire someone else to manage them. I also learned that it's possible to invest in real-estate without actually buying any properties, and that's what began to pique my interest further.

Now, I view home ownership mostly as a business transaction--hence why I still don't view it as part of my American Dream.
6 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Depends!

Home ownership is sorta like having a family. Having a family can be one of the most fulfilling things in life, however, having a family when you are not prepared emotionally or financially can be a complete nightmare.

I think home ownership is the same. Owning a home that is AFFORDABLE that will adequately suit the needs of your family while ensuring financial stability is still the American Dream , and will always be.

Owning an overpriced subpar home for the sake of "getting into the market", buying more house than you need and using it as a retirement account or ATM machine, and the concept of the "ownership soceity" where everyone is encouraged to own no matter what, are fads that are dying with this crappy economy.

I have been jaded for years about home ownership because friends and family would encourage me to give up renting a 3 bedroom apt in a wonderful community just so I could buy 1 bedroom condo near the projects. Those days a ending, but RESPONSIBLE home ownership is still very much part of the American Dream.

Despite the terrible economy I am still ACTIVELY looking for my American Dream, and I think it is near. Despite the fact that my parents home lost 60% of its value, they still view their home as their castle and are quite happy with their decision to raise me in that home.
6 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
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5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 29, 2009
I'm from the second hardest-hit area in the country.
I sold and bought when prices were rising...We had grown out of our current house (1,700 sq ft), that we had only been in for 2 yrs. So we sold ours, for $50K profit, got into a 2,300 sq ft home and with the profit, dropped the best pool we could get in the backyard.
BUT...we got into this home, its been 3yrs now, for $463K.
It is now estimated to be worth $212K...it has lost 54% of its "value"
We do not want to leave...but the ECONOMIC downturn, is...suffocating.
IF our jobs become endangered (really...is anyone's job safe?)
We will QUICKLY not be able to afford our mortgage.
We will end up like the rest.
Now...IF our home can be RE-VALUED comparable to what the SAME house is selling for...
We might be able to survive (at least we'll last a few months longer) if there was to be lose of employment.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2009
Yes.
am both a home buyer and a home seller, but mostly a buyer. When my job moved me years ago, I found out I could rent out my house for more than I could afford to pay. So, I did not sell the house. I used the equity to buy another house in my new location. That was my start in building my real estate portfolio. I now have tons of equity in my homes. Between leveraging and the homes' increase in value, I have much larger assets than if I had invested in the stock market over the years. If you have good financial ethics and common sense, if you don't try to live beyond your means, and if you are willing to take on the challenges and responsibilities of home ownership, then my advice is to become a homeowner. Another caveat: the first house you buy will most likely not be your dream house. No doubt you will have to compromise. But, in my opinion, it will be worth it.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
Yes. I hope to make a purchase within the next 30 days. For those who are currently upside down in terms of loan to value, hang on. Things ALWAYS turn around eventually. Keep the faith.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Absolutely not. That what people were told by real estate agents and US govt and look at the mess we are in now. Renting and living stress free is more important than having to pay a large mortgage at the end of every month. Home ownership will make sense only when mortgage goes below monthly rent by quite a bit. For that prices have to go down another 50 % at least and they are on their way there.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
No, it's just like the late George Carlin said, it's a place for your STUFF and with the big world and short life we have to see it all, who needs all that bagage anyway?

Doug in Lexington/Uruguay
Web Reference: http://pro-housesitter.com
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Home ownership as public policy is relatively recent, and idiotic. So the answer is no.

Barry Ripp below is typical of the sad state of the real estate industry--not capable of basic math.

"Homes that sold for $25,000 in Fremont, CA in 1960 are now worth $350,000. or more. " means an increase in nominal value of 5.5% per year. Subtract inflation from that (remember it hit double digits in the 1970s and 1980s) and you get approximately, let's see, ZERO.

"If you can afford it, buy real estate...you'll be glad you did."

Tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people bought real estate they could afford between 2003 and 2007. I'm sure they're really glad they did.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
NO , NOW IT'S A NIGHTMARE. HOW CAN PROPERTY TAX GO UP WHEN THE PRICE OF HOMES & REAL ESTATE KEEP GOING DOWN. IT MAKES US SENIOR CITIZENS GET PICKED ON BY ALL BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM THE BOTTOM TO THE TOP.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
It most certainly depends on the person you ask. More and more homeowners are loosing their homes because of financial difficulty, so for those individuals the answer is No. In these times of financial chaos cash flow is surely king, when in coming cash is still more than out going expenses you can breath. This situation is still workable even when your property is in negative equity but when the cash is not flowing the American and English dream dwindles somewhat.

Talking to UK buyers everyday needing to sell their property quickly, it's hard to look at this crisis optimistically.

We can only hope that the financial sector is able to stand up again.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
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4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 28, 2009
Yes it is (for me) because owning a home provides a predictable and safe environment for my kids to grow. It is my responsibility as a parent to provide for them and ensure they are educated and protected, and if it is possible for me to provide a secure haven for my kids in the guise of a home, then I will.

The thing that has changed for me in recent years is my perception of the American Dream and how hard it is to accomplish. As an immigrant (a legal one) I have lived a mighty nice life for the last 18 years in this country and I am thankful for it. But in the last 4 years I have personally witnessed the heartbreak of people who have been caught up in financial and political matters beyond their control and they have paid dearly - both literally and figuratively.

Hard times can fall on anyone and the stigma of apparent failure is disproportionate in America. We can all help by not judging people who struggle to make it, and we can all help by making changes that will allow them (and us) to succeed in the long term. These changes are different for everybody, but are ideally grounded in some basic principles about roles and responsibilities in society, especially if you have kids.

My priorities are to keep my family safe, to educate my kids well, and to help others out when I can - my decisions on finances, politics, homes, cars, vacations etc... all have a foundation in those simple priorities - and so far, we have been lucky, and I have been thankful.

In closing I would say that the American Dream is in your heart, not your retirement plan. My guess is that many people are living the American Dream right now, and don't have a penny to their name. For me, I need to know that the roof over my kids heads will be there for at least another eight years...
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 26, 2009
The problem is the unemployment.!

Will go up and up and not even Obama has a solution for it. What he offers is only a temporary solution.
American economy was based on profit from other countries always...cheap labor. (China )

It is over....

To create jobs means to build industry in America. And it will take time. Years! The second (easier way ) is to start a war and get new slaves.. That one in Iraq was about this only .....however not successful.

On one hand Obama promised help to people losing jobs and homes.....but the reality is, there is no increase in budget ...that means the more unemployed people...the less money each of them will receive .
On the other hand he asked Congress for billions to "solve" Afghanistan problems... Let's wake up..
Time for dreaming is over.


I can read ads on internet I have never believed could exist in the USA:

Please, there has to be someone who would rent us a garage... to sleep in a tent... all we need is an access to a bathroom....

Rents are going up because people that have lost their homes need a place to live.
Prices of houses are going down but still not enough...

Five years ago:

Realtor's "song no 1": Buy now...because prices will continue to go up.... and people were buing it... took loans of $500,000 to buy 50 years old houses!!! Ridicilous!!!
( Realtor's profit is about 6%... they earned a lot.... government was happy, too.. property tax!!)

Realtor's present "song no 1": Buy now.. because the prices are going down and it willl stop pretty soon!

Hehe... hehe... hehe..

I know there are not many people here in the USA realizing the fact of slavery existing in the USA.

I repeat myself now: To have a home is a basic human need as well as a right. No dream.
And to pay for your home 50 years is the worst rip-off.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 19, 2009
After reading many of your responses to this question, I get a truer feeling of America. What applies to some, does not apply to all. There will always be those who fear, those who risk, those who don't know what to do. As a Realtor, I have seen many people buy and enjoy their homes. In my 20 years as a Realtor, I have seen only 2 families stretch to buy and they are still living in their homes today. Remember, nobody is free of change!
Today is not yesterday! It never is! Buying a home is emotional, but satisfying. Any investment needs attention. Every investment costs you money and time. I know the present economy may not be the time for everyone to buy. If you have strong fears about losing your job, if you have no savings, if you do not budget, if you do not understand what ownership means, then do not buy OR learn more about real estate and the joys of ownership and the pleasure of seeing your investment grow.
Keep in mind, investment value goes up and down. Do not panic. Stop, review, ask questions of professionals whom you trust. Then you make a decision based upon your knowledge.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
Yes, but I can't buy my new home until I sell my current home. There just aren't enough buyers looking and buying in my homes price range.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
More than ever, I have been offered several grants to purchase a home that would be way out of my reach if the market was good. However the market's problems are mostly simple logic gone out the window...
Adjustible rate mortgages were designed to be for people that have a history of substancial income increases over time.. It was designed to get new college graduates homes. Over the 30 years that the mortgage was writen these people as a segment of our culture increase income at a rate that would more than be able to stand up to the mortgage increases. People at the bottom of the economic ladder usually have fixed incomes..Seniors, poorly educated, single parents struggle to survive. Woman still do not make saleries that are equal to the young white male population but have far more dependents. The courts still don't place Fathers in the possition of paying their fair share. Women in comperable possitions to their counterparts are usually better educated, stronger in work ethic by putting in the extra hours to support their families. Very few of these mortgage holders should entertain a ARM but the banks love them because the rate keeps its value over time. However the applicant should be qualified on the most that will be paid and not the least.

This and senior's want to live in communities of mixed generations but the federal government just funded housing for seniors that is neither wanted nor cost effective. 450 Billion with a B are given to build senior and handicapped housing that is assisted living. The horror stories inheriant with this kind of housing is that they are warehouses for dying indivuals that are having their lives cut short by inactivity and isolation.

They would be far more reasonable to use this money to develop homes and repair the current housing stock.

I am being given the money to buy a home that I can afford. This is through housing grants and possible because of the market. I will soon have my own home in a decient area because of the program. I would like to think I have this chance because of my value to society however the reality is that I am a senior with a disability income. The reason I am getting this chance is because it is far more cost effective to give seniors what they want and allow them to age in place in the communities they live and have social support systems that are already in place.

The banks are introuble because of imprudent loans, That means they are scheduled items for the bank eximiners. Look up what that means and to protect deposits the amount to pay off the loans must be kept in the bank and can not be part of the cash they depend upon to issue new loans. This and the federal defisit have created a monitary cash flow problem that can only be solved if the homes are disposed of at current market and a loss diclaired. Banks do not want to do this because poor lending practices are disclosed. I strongly feel that if the Government is going to protect these banks they should first be forced to sell all the scheduled items on their books or go under and the depositors and debtors should be given a judge to take the bank through chapter 11 kinds of reorginazation.

I will love being independent of people trying to give what they think I should want and not what I do want. I am a big girl I have been a single mother. I am disabled because I spent to many years fighting to do the impossible and fighting to make ends meet. I am capable of making my own decisions and currently volenteer my time and energy in my community to help people in trouble. The first thisn I ask them is what they are trying to accomplish and we go over the realistic options they can expect to have. Then and only when clear goals are established we devise a plan to get them where they want to be. At that point it is my job to help them get there from here by using any resorce I can find and that includes my time. Only seniors have that kind of time, so the there should be no shock that they represent a resorce that communities desperately need.

Home ownership represents stablity and a certin amount of freedom. It will always be the dream of everyone that manage to pull it off.

M. Gullan of WA state.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2009
It is quite the dream come true for the former Countrywide (the largest mortgage loaners during the real estate glut) employees.
They made out HUGE while it was hot...now they are scooping up loads of properties that are being foreclosed for pennies on the dollar.
Double dipping...the American way!
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
Yes, Pete, I still dream of owning a home, and of living in an owned home, again.

When I was little, my divorced Mom and my single Aunt bought a small house together. I grew up there in that house. I want, I suppose, to re-create a lot of that, only now with Mom and my guy, who actually get along. The hard times just make me want it all the more. Mom grew up in the Great Depression, travelling from place to place. Being rootless feels scary. Speaking of roots, we grew a back yard garden in the 1970's when the economy was in a mess, and we had food security.

I want to do that again.Also, I want a green roof and a grey water system, in time.( SIDE POINT, but I think this is the sort of thing that will make a difference AND raise the property value AND lower the costs of utilities and services if EVERYONE did it.!!!)

In other words, if you own, you gain a large measure of control over your life.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
I posted a yes answer earlier but I wanted to comment on some of the political statements I’ve seen here.

When Bush entered office he inherited a healthy thriving economy. Republicans like to glorify and empower the wealthy because of their belief in Regan’s “trickle down economics”, the idea that the wealthy will spend their money and it will trickle down to others. We have experienced this system for the past 8 years and obviously it hasn’t worked.

There have been comments in this thread that this is the fault of Obama, who has been in power for less than 2 months, and the Democrats who were the minority for the past 8 years. So my dear neighbors, we have watched as your idiot dictator dragged us into pointless wars based on lies, and destroyed a thriving economy. The fact that you DARE to blame it on us is obscene. Please remember how many Americans have died in military service to Bush. Please remember that those garbage loans were only possible because of Republican deregulation. Can you possibly be so cruel and callous that you won’t admit that you were wrong even in the face of all this? The rest of us are suffering for your stupidity. Try to be the “compassionate conservatives” you once pretended to be and offer apologies, not blame!

Your emperor has no clothes, and now neither do the rest of us!
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
No,

It never was. The American dream is the idea that anybody can do well if they're willing to work hard for it. Home ownership is often a part of that experience but don't confuse the two and start looking at non-homeseeking renters with no interest in family as somehow less American or less vested in the American experience. That anybody can bust their butt and get a home is the American dream. Simply buying a home is not. Nor is having a family.

And Sherry, are you seriously attempting to associate the current administration with the combined housing market and banking collapse that happened well before it was elected to office? Most people can get used to a nasty odor if they are around it for long enough but after 8 years of shoveling, aren't your forearms getting tired?
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Simply No, The real estate market is not built on a pure supply and demand equalization. It has been manipulated by builders, developers, speculators in the chase for more money. Much like Enron, General Motors, etc.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Yes. Americans are going to have to accept a different standard of living and be willing to delay gratification. Home ownership most likely will return to the requirement of equity investment and residential rental may see some increase. In order to bring the economy back into balance it is imperative that American jobs be preserved. It is too early for me to guess for sure, but economic sanity may now mean wage competition on a global level. As long as business can successfully sell here and produce off-shore we are going to see periodic chaos. It will work to produce off-shore as long as we have good paying jobs and can maintain a decent life-style, but so far the priorities seem to be dictated by a get-mine-first mentality. The systemic health of the economy has not been of concern for too long. The depth of the housing problem has been exaggerated by banks that fluffed mortgages into meringue and then quit lending when the day of reckoning came. Without brakes of any kind we had to hit a brick wall to slow down. And we had to slow down, but delayed that by over-leveraging our homes.
At its core the current problem is and always was about good paying jobs.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
I think so. If I buy a small home the cost per month will be about the same as what I'm paying for rent. I look at it like this----you don't RENT a car for everyday use. You KNOW you're going to need a car, so renting one does not make sense. So, why rent a residence when you know you'll need one until you die? You might as well put the money toward a home for yourself instead of toward your landlord's home.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Yes I belive so, but in the area I'm in (Marin County, CA)..prices are still a bit high and when I do find a property I can afford, I'm competing with 5-10 other offers.

For me, the ideal time to buy a home is when my mortgage will be little more then what I'm currently paying to rent a home.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
No, unfortunately having gone through a short sale six months ago, it pretty much wiped out our dreams for owning a home for at least two years. We fear by that time, prices will have escalated to a point where we will no longer be able to afford one. So, we are stuck with renting. We are responsible people, the short sale was a result of unexpected expenses arising from van repairs. But, it was either get the van repaired or pay the mortgage--equal to three months of mortgage payments. We tried Habitat and various other agencies for help because my partner is in a wheelchair and we are low income but so far nothing has been forthcoming. We are in a category of people who are falling through the cracks as far as the economic stimulus goes, etc.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Fifty percent of homeowners with a mortgage say they're very confident they can keep making their house payments. Again, that's down from 58 percent a year ago.

Also down are the percentages of Americans who are confident they can pay their other debts, things like credit cards and car loans.

When it comes to saving for long-term goals, it's even worse.

Only 24 percent of parents say they're very confident they'll be able to pay to send their children to college, and only 22 percent of those who are still working think they'll be able to save enough for retirement.

This used to be the country where each succeeding generation could look forward to a better quality of life than their parents enjoyed.

In the meantime, as the federal government continues to print money that isn't worth the paper it's written on and as our national debt soars past $11 trillion, a United Nations panel is set to recommend that the world ditch the U.S. dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies.

One of the enduring strengths of the dollar has been that it has always been the currency of choice in times of crisis. But that's not the case anymore. Our ballooning deficits have driven down the value of the dollar so much that the Chinese government recently asked for guarantees from Washington that the Treasury bills they own are safe.

All of this isn't lost on the average American. Last week there were protests and demonstrations by taxpayers in cities all around the country who are beginning to object in increasing numbers to runaway government spending, taxes, bailouts and our growing national debt. These protests were called tea parties. Has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it?
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 28, 2009
Home prices also appeared to be leveling off in the first quarter of 2008, but continued to plunge afterward. I have a strong feeling that the same thing is happening now. Unemployment is triggering a second wave of foreclosures, and Alt-A and ARM loans have started to reset. Obama's housing rescue may help a little, that's if investors and banks who hold the mortgage agree to the terms. The problem is larger than the proposed 75 billion, it is in the trillions.

Hold tight, because the rest of the world is falling into a depression, and this in turn will cause the US to fall into a deeper recession. The US treasury and FED will keep throwing money into this inferno, so we are going to see massive inflation once the economy begins to recover. This massive inflation will push housing prices down even further, because interest rates on mortgages will be in teens to twenties.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 12, 2009
I believe home ownership is part of my American dream but it wasn't the right time for me. I wish I could turn back the hands of time and not sign the contract. Owning a home is more costly than just the mortgage, there is also insurance, property taxes, home repair, etc. I could go on and on.

The dream should have stayed just that, A DREAM.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2009
Although there are some deep discounts in virtually every housing market, I would not recommend buying during this administration. Lets see what happens in 2012 and hope these nut jobs in congress don't push the economy to that of a third world country.

OneBigAssMistake,America O.B.A.M.A.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2009
Yes - The King must have a Castle complete with a Drawbridge and a Moat.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2009
In my humble opinion yes. Home ownership gives you privacy and rights not afforded by renting. Here is the caveat: location, location, location. Increasingly the long term viability of a neighborhood is also important when deciding to stay or move.

One HUGE issue is illegal immigration and the sanctuary town policies of Los Angeles. My family immigrated here legally and I have all the passports of my dead relatives to prove it all the way back to 1928. But, the vicious cycle of illegal immigration, drug trade and blight has spread like a cancer to all the southern border states such as California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.

Bottom line: Yes home ownership is still the American Dream so long as the American Flag is flying high and proud. Otherwise forget it, blight is contagious and has a negative impact on property value. I'm choosing to be blunt because our state of California is broke and I'm tired of dancing around the issue.

To many baby mommas in SoCal, Nadya Suleman is just one of MANY examples I see daily. I want to own a home where I know my tax dollars are better spent to benefit my community not welfare mommas.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
Yes, but under the right terms and conditions. However, one should not think of her primary residence as an investment. It is your home, before it is ever a real estate investment. That being said, in these highly unpredictable times, it is a real leap of faith to purchase a home. In owning a home, one may enjoy the tax benefits, freedom to decorate as one wishes, and up until the last 18 months, ownership of something that kept pace with inflation. But to purchase now and risk a reduction of 10-20% of the selling price within a year's time, is where the leap of faith comes into play. For people who did not purchase what they could not afford and/or did not use the increasing value of their home as a bank account to tap into at will, the dream is alive.. For those who stood on the sidelines as they saw family, friend and colleagues purchase beautiful, wondeful homes with kitchens and bathrooms right out of House Beautiful, the dream is over, and it may be a long, long time if it ever returns. For those who wanted to buy, but who stood on the sidelines, refusing to accept mortgages they could not pay, and instead stayed in cramped older rentals all the while worrying if the landlord would be enticed to sell the property, out from under them, the dream is still out of reach. Many homes remain overpriced, and given the current financial and employment crisis, a home remains out of reach. So the dream remains deferred, with anyone's guess how it will end.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
yes. living in an apartment forever... doesn't seem like i have gotten started wiht life yet. although the prospect of the responsibility of a home for a single mom with many responsibilities seems very daunting.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
Not any more
I am a builder and built nicer homes for my customers than I ever owned my self. I owned 5 acres vacant land for 15 years and in 2004 finally wanted to build my own home. I only applied for 180K the salesman called me with good and at the time better news he says for 800 month I can borrow 360K One year after living in my American Dream I woke up and refinanced to a fixed rate of 2400 month . In 2008 I am now 55k in credit dept and owe 270k on my Night mare and now lost my job. They are forclosing on the dream and I have to file bankrupcy I will not be able to even get a morgage for the next 5 maybe 7 tears. 30 years with a 736 credit rating gone in just three months. Now houses and morgages at there all time lowest and I will always have to consider it a dream again.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
In theory the answer would be yes. However, the home I currently have for roughly 3 years now the bank has constsistantly been chaging our intrest rates and up goes the payments. I have lived here for 12 years and since our morgage was sold now we cannot keep up on anything. Now they want us to just pay interest pmts for 2 years BUT tack on over 13,000.00 more to the end of the loan and when the 2 years are up it will be more of the same we are in now except that we have less life of loan to get it paid and have added more to it, this house is not worth what it is going to end up being paid if we were to take their "offer"! I actually have found my dream home, even though in bad need of repairs, the price is worthy and yet with the situation our current mortgage is in and credit, I can NEVER expect to find a lender willing to work with us on buying or renovating it! Huge catch 22 in my eyes and it does leave me a little bitter, depressed and just plain discusted that after 7 months and all the work to find out all the details of this house(it was abandoned), all the things that were just perfect for us about a move to this house and hopes and dreams our family has had for it is no more than a carrot dangled in front of our faces for there seems to be NO HOPE of ever making that dream come true. Instead we are forced to either pay the mortgage on the house we are in, that is no longer worth the cost and not to mention the mortgage leave us with pretty much no money for the rest of the bills, food on the table or anything else, or most likley get rid of the animals that are family to us, move to town which is something we don't want, worring more about our children as that leaves them more chances of finding trouble to get into, possibly having to put our college child out just to enable finding a place large enough we can all fit into and afford the rent! It has turned into a vicious circle we can't seem to get out of and where NO ONE wins except for a landlord!! So, to truly answer the question, in my dreams yes but in reality, how could it be! IF there were a way out of the loan we have and could have gotten the bigger, better, more family friendly home we wanted that even with the money invested in renovations would still had payments less than what we currently do, been our dream home and in the long run been worth a lot more than what we have now and what we would need for the entire process of the other home it would have been and asstounding YES to this question!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
I ask what happens if america dont recover????? I HOPE THIS DONT HAPPEN.IT WILL TAKE A Mericle. i hope Barack O'Bama has one in his hat. if only america had the 3 TRILLION Dollars that George boy bUSH SPENT ON AWORTHLESS WAR IN IRAQ. MAYBE THINGS WOULD BE DIFFERENT. MONEY WASTED. Bush even found a way to double the national debt to 10 Trillion Dollars. (THIS IS WHY AMERICA IS NOW IN THIS POSITION. because of Bush STUPIDITY.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
we have recently purchased a new home and are happy we did so.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
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