Should we buy, even though we weren't planning to do so for a while?

Asked by mollyg, 33701 Fri Sep 13, 2013

The owner of our adorable 2/2.5 townhouse we are renting wants to sell. We have been there for over 3 years, and just love its downtown location (we walk everywhere), and the fact that the townhome is relatively new (built in 2004). The owner wants to give us the first opportunity to purchase, before officially putting it on the market. We are in our late twenties, have good/stable jobs and such, but I am planning to go back to school for a Masters degree (part-time, while still working) and I like the idea of being able to move across the country if we like. I know that nobody can tell us what to do, but any help would be much appreciated. We believe we can get a mortgage for similar (if not less) to what we are paying in rent. Don't have kids, but plan to start a family in 3-5 years. People say that it could be a good investment, but it would tie up our money and prevent us from buying our "dream house" later on. Note: husband's family lives close by and the price is good.

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Caroline York, Agent, St Petersburg, FL
Sun Mar 9, 2014
You seem to be answering your own question. You have made several reasons why you should not buy at this time. You also indicate that it is NOT your dream house. "People" may say it is a good investment but are any of them ready to jump in and buy if you don't? You really have to listen to your accountant and your immediate needs rather than the "people."

Now, if you do want to buy the property is the property being offered to you at a fair market value? Is the seller offering financing or do you have to go to a bank? If so, what does the bank say? Do you have the 20% or 30% down payment required for a lender? Does the property qualify for an FHA loan? Do you or your partner qualify for a VA loan? Interest rates are changing so you should talk to the bank right away. Then be sure to hire an attorney to prepare any purchase contract.

Remember it is your life and only you can decide if it is a good investment. Good luck.
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Jereme Carter, Agent, Clearwater, FL
Tue Jan 28, 2014
Molly, Give me a call or shoot me an email if you are interested in looking. I hope all is well. - Jereme Carter 727-564-4570
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nussmom, Home Buyer, 33701
Mon Dec 2, 2013
Have your seller contact us, nussmom@gmail,com, we are looking to buy a townhouse downtown... We bought and sold four homes as we expanded our family and made sure we had good schools that were in our county, we moved outside of Florida, now wanting to move back...we moved for good public schools and it paid off, now that the kids are grown we want to move back....
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Graham Munce, Agent, Clearwater, FL
Mon Sep 16, 2013
It sounda like you may need flexibility in the future, I would keep renting. Or buy just north of downtown a small home, that could be used for a rental in the future or resold if need be.
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Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sat Sep 14, 2013
Molly, tell us - do you want to invest in real estate, or not?

From an investment point of view, this is pretty good, because the rent just about covers the mortgage, and with the tax benefit, you'll be ahead. If you need to cut back on your hours, you could move to a smaller place and rent it out to save money. Plus, you would own that baby free and clear someday! Do your parents have a rental that they own outright? If not, wouldn't it be cool if they did and had that income every month?!

From a lifestyle point of view, I wouldn't do it. I'd move out, and rent someplace else, because I don't know where my post-degree life is going to take me, and there are a lot of things to do in this world!

Congratulations on having these options, Molly!
All the best,
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Sep 14, 2013
Fear of the unknown is normal but it shouldn't be a deterrent that keeps you from fulfilling your dreams. Providing details about the buying process and supporting your personal needs are two important issues that real estate agents can assist with.

With interest rates on the rise and inventory decreasing in many areas, it may be time to get serious about buying sooner than later. Obviously, this should be driven by your means and needs but as I see it, waiting is not a favorable option!

Good luck,

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Jon Bauer- F…, Agent, CLEARWATER, FL
Sat Sep 14, 2013
Now is a fantastic time to buy, even in the short term. Pricing is going up and will probably continue for the next few years. Interest rates will also undoubtedly rise. Even if you hold onto it for a few years it will be worth it. If you pay a bit more above the monthly payment each month towards principal you will be surprised how quickly it adds up.
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Althea Morris, Agent, Houston, TX
Fri Sep 13, 2013
Weigh your options and think about the fact that you will be starting a family, however, if market continues on the up climb, you won't have any problems selling it in order to purchase dream home.
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Marge Bennett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Fri Sep 13, 2013
from your description it sounds like a great deal. Do verify the value with either a market analysis from a Realtor and or an appraisal that you pay for. I would suggest you hire a Realtor to do the market analysis, contract, all the disclosures, etc. That should increase your comfort lever.
The excellent location with the high walk score will make it more marketable for either the rental or resale market when that time comes. Good luck on the masters degree. You can do it.
I love St Pete. It's where I grew up.
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Dana Ball, Agent, Treasure Island, FL
Fri Sep 13, 2013
Let me ask you this: If the mortgage would be about what you are paying in rent or less, why wouldn't you purchase this townhome you love? First, you will receive a tax deduction from your mortgage interest. It should make you money towards your "dream home." Don't look at it as tying it up. If you keep up the townhome or improve it that is going to grown in value, thus giving you more money towards your next home. When you rent, you are just giving your money away, when you own you are giving yourself money. Especially if you are not in a flood zone!
Look at the big picture. Can you comfortably afford the mortgage with the HOA while still going to school for your MBA? If so, then you should heavily consider making the purchase. If you need, I have a wonderful Mortgage Broker who many of my clients work with. I would be happy to make the introduction.
Also, you should consider a Real Estate Professional. they can help you determine if the townhome is priced correctly and can enlighten you on buying issues you probably don't even know. Let me know if I can help and good luck.
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Barry Smith, Agent, Saint Petersburg, FL
Fri Sep 13, 2013
Molly, This is an easy answer. You said you may want to move across
country...for a job. Well, unless you plan on owning it more than
10 years, it's probably not going to be worth it. Sure, you spend
money on rent, but with a mortgage it all goes toward the interest
until that is paid off then payments go towards the principal.
Then, when you get ready to sell, you wonder why you still owe so
much. It can be very disheartening....then it looks like you were
just paying rent but owning. Of course, you might could rent it out
and still move on but being a landlord and out of state, can
present its challenges. I would say don't saddle yourself with the
extra burden of a mortgage, right now. Your future is still unclear
so save your money as best you can; find an inexpensive place to
live and build a nest egg for a down payment on a house.
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It used to be that a house would appreciate as time went on, but today, there is no guarantee that it will appreciate. It might be likely, but still no guarantee. All bets are off as to what the market will do. If the value does go up and interest rates are high and people can't afford to buy, what have you accomplished? You might be in a situation where you need to sell quickly but can't because the market says otherwise.
Flag Fri Sep 13, 2013
Bill Szydlow…, Agent, Tampa, FL
Fri Sep 13, 2013

buying a house is a huge decision, especially for the first time. Doing it on your own, without the help of a good Realtor, multiply's the anxiety even more so. Most home purchases in the Tampa Bay area are good investments, unless you overpay, of course. Doing your due diligence on the property will be the most important part. Because you are doing the purchase directly, you will need to do all of the sales research, inspections, etc. without help. This raises the bar on the level of anxiety you will be feeling. You should find someone you are comfortable with, who knows real estate procurement and the area, to help you thru the purchase. This is my recommendation since they will help you answer most of the questions you will have.
Good Luck!!
Bill Szydlowski
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Jimsellsstpe…, Agent, Saint Petersburg, FL
Fri Sep 13, 2013
It can be a little scary making your first home purchase. It would be a good investment though. And who's to say that should you decide to move across the country, that you couldn't rent it out? Most home buyers don't buy their "dream house" on their first purchase anyway. They buy their starter home and after being a home owner for a while then that helps them to determine what they really want and need in a home. (Ex. Pool vs no pool. or bigger kitchen) As a Realtor, I say go with your gut on this. I never push my buyers during their home search. It's gotta feel right to them. I want them feeling like they made 100% the right decision at closing. It's a good time to buy with the interest rates still low and the market is increasing. I hope this helps.

Tara May Webster Realtor
Your Neighborhood Realty Inc
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