Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To Buy or To Rent, Part II

I've been giving more consideration to whether to buy or rent, since I talked to my mom about how much you can expect a house to appreciate in a few years. She was of the opinion that a single family house is a better investment than a condo, which I think is right. However, in the market that we are planning to move to, we probably can't afford a house in a good location. We could do it with less traditional financing, but I hesitate to put down less than 20% as a downpayment. I also came across this article from US News and World Report, which suggests that buying for only the next few years may not be a good idea:

"No matter what your situation, housing experts say that almost everyone needs to dial back expectations for appreciation in the future. Most say real estate should remain the solid investment it has been over the past 30 years, with values rising just a bit above inflation--hardly the get-rich-quick formula many have recently followed.

'We're entering a period where people need to follow the sort of old-fashioned rules their grandparents lived by,' says Christopher Cagan, research director at information provider First American Real Estate Solutions. 'Buy a house when you plan to settle down for a while, and don't think of it so much as a financial investment as a place to invest in your life.'"

My major concern with this is that because of my career (which will take me unpredictable places every few years for the next 10 years or so), we may be having kids before we're settled geographically. Somehow the idea of renting with kids seems much less appealing than renting while it's just the two of us. But then again, having an "investment" property that we have to deal with from afar while we wait for it to appreciate, while also having kids, seems like an absurd idea too. So I will continue to mull it over. Comments extremely welcome!

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