I wrote this article in July of 2006. In light of where we are at today I'd say my concerns were valid.
Negotiated a deal on one of my listings yesterday. The Buyer is purchasing using 100% financing with the Seller paying closing costs. My market is affordable housing with the majority of homes priced from $190s to $250s and it seems like most of the Buyers lately have been purchasing with no money down.
Now don't get me wrong I am in favor of home ownership for everyone but I fear a lot of the Buyers are going to have financial difficulties in the near future. With high insurance costs, property taxes and mortgage payments I am seeing payments of close to $2,000 per month for a starter home. That's a pretty big nut to crack every month, in my area, where most families are regular working class people and don't have any reserve funds if they should encounter a financial setback.
Also, a good number of these purchases are being made with ARMs with the Buyers basing their ability to pay on future raises at work or a part time job that they may or may not be getting. In my opinion Mortgage Brokers and Realtors are being overly aggressive in selling these folks on the advantages of home ownership without really taking the time to counsel the Buyers on the true costs involved. And since they don't have to come up with any money at closing they are sitting ducks for Mortgage Brokers who are charging them sometimes outrageous fees for doing these types of loans.
So my challenge to REALTORS(R) who are dealing with first time Home buyers, with a little or no money down, is to really take the time to explain the pros and cons of purchasing a home. If the Buyers are fully informed and are wanting to move forward then help them to negotiate fees or guide them to the myriad of programs available that can help them with financial assistance. Placing a Buyer in a home he can't afford can damage them for years. It can cause bankruptcies, divorces and even illnesses. So let's "Protect the public" it's what REALTORS(R) are supposed to do.
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