P3G, I didn’t want to buy right now (as house prices are dropping like flies.) so I had to look at the long term advantages for my situation. Real estate investing or not, I don’t have to deal with not finding a parking space when I come back from the ER w/ a kid who had a 104.8 temp. busted waterbed overflows etc. etc.
If you can, buy with equity. Another perspective or two - don’t buy ‘dirt cheap’ (unless it’s in a desirable neighborhood, and the numbers work to rehab it) buy dirt cheap value.
… buy the house the next buyer wants. Another is to think of your house as a low-interest credit card that you can live in.
I also had to get comfortable with the price tag of my home. The last time I purchased, very large homes were going for a little over 100k. Now, starter homes are over 200k. You also may have sticker shock of sorts.
Buy efficiently, I love free cash flow, so I was in the same spot as you, analyzing why I should buy. Think like an investor. Even with modest credit, you have a little tool in your back pocket - a house key. 3-6 months on time MORTGAGE payments vs. rent payments says a lot about you, and your character, to a banker.
Keep your DTI good, and cash flow - i.e. not at the tip top of affordabliity. I bought a starter home with rich neighbors. What do I see for the future? A couple or young family will want to come here to enjoy the benes of the school that the taxes and perceived value of my wonderful neighbors added to the community.
Research your local landlord/tenant laws. Then get yourself a roommate. Let them pay your mortgage. Rent that basement or attic level in your house.
Check your local “Your town” center. Soo many free programs, incentives, closing help… promote your state flower fund … ok I 'm exaggerating. You could own and keep your acquisition costs very low.
Then set that cash aside, accumulate - if you haven’t already - liquid reserves for living expenses/emergencies, then buy as much value stock as you can … CFC, Toll, F, – remember cyclical… I also found benefit researching what stocks were profitable during the depression. Not to say we’re going to that extreme again, but as recession looms… I sought to research which were the companies that were profitable. ca ching.
As for education… or anything else for that matter… go free and/or low cost. The library is Sooo overlooked. I prescreen what books I can there for free. Then order if it’s a keeper, or I have more than 5 post it tabs when I read it. Property manager’s book is worth getting w/o the prescreen. The basis of that decision was… how long would it take me to accumulate all of his posts and read. and /or how big a blunder would I have made if I hadn’t spent $ to know better 1st.
If you don’t know about stock investing… again, library.
Another way to cut expenses, frugal living. Research the websites on the topic. Lots of useful ideas. You may not be into line drying your laundry to save money by not using a dryer, but you get the idea. I made a substantial cut my grocery bill for a family of 6 using some of their tips.
I made a game of it. Remember to keep your goal in mind, and adjust your perspective when you hear yourself getting negative, doubtful, or uptight.
Ask, How can I prosper from this? What can I do to be ahead of the game when this opportunity presents itself again? etc. Scavenger hunt for home furnishings. Make it a big cheesy used car commercial… how loooow can u go.
good luck and keep postin.