Hi Kyle, please do yourself a huge favor and align with a professional Realtor. Since the Seller pays the commission to the Buyer's Agent there really is no reason not to get professional guidance when purchasing a home.
In a nutshell, I wouldnâ€™t be in any rush to buy right now. Nowâ€™s a great time to find a Realtor to work with and have them available to answer all your questions and help you get Pre-Approved (not pre-qualified, see dif here: http://www.Steven-Anthony.com/default.aspx?pp=39377
Trulia is a fantastic source for getting fundamental questions answered and identifying agents with â€œprofessional depth.â€ However, Trulia's format is not the best source for advice when it comes time to put your hard-earned money on the table. For Realtors to meaningfully provide advice we need specific details about the target property sought and the true timeline for purchasing.
I think you will find that when May 1st rolls around it will still makes sense for you to continue to lease. Right now, I'm suggesting that my buyers hold their cash at least until the end of Q109 and then reassess the direction of the economy. I donâ€™t see anything yet that indicates Q2 will be better. The resulting reduction in jobs will lead to less demand for purchase housing (and will also lead to more distressed supply).
While the predominate amount of foreclosures tied to â€œsubprimeâ€ loan products has passed, we're not in the clear. This chart shows scheduled reset loan volumes for different loan categories: http://docs.Steven-Anthony.com/Resets.pdf
As the chart shows, Subprime loans have pretty much run their course; however, Option/Alt-A/Unsecuritized ARMs are the next phase to provide an unstablizing affect. We have already taken on some of the projected Option ARM pain. This is because Option ARMs have valuation based "triggers" that can cause resetting to occur sooner than originally planned (due to property devaluation and the owner's payment selection). The following chart shows how the resetting of these loans has shifted and I have also provided an explanation.
Local net jobs growth rate (local jobs growth rate â€“ local unemployment rate) is THE early predictor for housing recovery in any area. The larger this number, the greater the "velocity" of the recovery. With jobs creation comes a heightened demand for housing, allowing prices to stabilize. Eventually, housing appreciation will develop. My sincere hope is housing appreciation occurs well before 2011 and with enough zest to allow some homeowners to refinance into more affordable loans prior to the currently projected reset schedule.
In the Newsâ€¦
Thereâ€™s been quite a bit of attention concerning the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) approved by Congress. That certainly is a large amount of money; however, what most people do not realize is that the â€œmaximum commitmentâ€ of programs targeting an economic recovery currently amounts to 8.5 trillion! http://docs.Steven-Anthony.com/Bailout.pdf
Adding to the above, President-elect Obama will most likely fund public infrastructure projects to immediately help create jobs and spur local economies; however, the localities that will receive this funding is unidentified at the moment.
When it comes to timing a purchase, it important to work with a licensed Realtor who has their eye on the economy and their finger on the specific area you are thinking of purchasing in. Once you are Pre-Approved, have your Realtor set up a targeted and specific automated MLS search agent for you. This way, when any property that meets your search criteria comes active on the MLS both you and your agent will automatically be notified. You will also be able to see price changes as the Listing Agent makes them. Take the time now to find a professional you would like to work with, you wonâ€™t be disappointed that you did.
Best Regards, Steve