Q: I've just gotten engaged, and am starting grad school in the fall. My parents are all over me, saying that I "have" to buy a home right away, and that paying rent is throwing money away. I'm not sure where my career will lead, and I have student loan debt. should I buy now or wait?
A: Following your instincts is always a good idea; if you have serious doubts about your ability to meet the expenses of owning a home and paying for a mortgage, now may not be the time to buy. That said, home prices are low in many areas, which could make buying a small home or condo affordable. Although mortgage rates have lately been creeping up, they are still comparatively low, particularly for 5/1 hybrid adjustable rate mortgages, which carry a low initial rate for 5 years, and then reset as adjustable rate loans after five years. Talk to local real estate professionals and compare mortgage quotes to learn what's available in your area.
Q: I've been waiting to buy a home, and now my other half says we've waited too long, as mortgage rates are going up. Should we continue to shop for our next home, or wait some more until rates go back down?
A: Low mortgage rates alone are not a great reason for buying a home. Are you ready to buy? Do you need a larger home? Also, no one knows when rates may go lower; many analysts are predicting an upward trend for the next few months. Request quotes from several mortgage lenders to learn what you can afford in today's markets.