Housing prices are rising, so too are mortgage interest rates. If you’re selling your house while home prices are steadily climbing, you could turn an attractive profit. Then, you will have to buy a new home. Before you know it, you could have entered a cycle that finds you right where you started financially when you bought your very first home or, worse, you could find yourself struggling to recover from the burst of another housing bubble.

Keep yourself safe from the burst of another housing bubble

As painful as the 2007 mortgage crisis was, it wasn’t the first time a housing bubble burst in the United States. During the 1980s, homeowners and lenders experienced the end of a housing bubble. Rising interest rates played a major role in both the 2007 and the 1980s decline.

  • Sit down and create a line item budget. Do this before you start house shopping. Add up how much you’re currently spending on rent, entertainment, clothes, student loans, credit cards, travel, utilities, daycare,insurance, autos and food. Don’t guess. Be very clear about these totals.
  • Identify how much you can afford to pay for a monthly mortgage. Factor in closing costs, interest rates, homeowners association fees,the cost of furniture and appliances. Consider adding in another $2,000 to $4,000 a year to cover house maintenance costs.
  • Think about how much mortgage you could afford should you or your spouse lose their job and be out of work for six months.
  • Work with a reputable real estate agent. Let the agent do the house hunting leg work for you. Look for a real estate agent who has her clients’ best interest as a priority. A good real estate agent will encourage you not to take on too much debt.
  • Focus on the neighborhood. By buying a house in a neighborhood that you value, you’ll gain more than a great house. You’ll gain friendly neighbors, access to top schools and low crime.
  • Pay attention to mortgage interest rates. Buy when interest rates are low. Fixed interest rates may start out higher than adjustable interest rates. But, let the market shift or another recession strike and adjustable interest rates might rise, sending your monthly mortgage payments up by $200 or more.
  • Instead of focusing on easy access to financing,work with lenders who check credit scores and conduct thorough financial background reviews on loan seekers. This type of lender may have the resources to keep the bulk of their lenders from going into foreclosure should housing demand drop well below supply.

Besides the stock market, few financial instruments produce a yield like selling a house does. But, the housing market doesn’t move anywhere near as fast as the stock market. As the housing market strengthens and housing prices rise, make smart decisions. Unless you’re a professional house flipper, avoid buying and selling houses solely to turn a profit.

Buy a house because you want to build equity, start or grow a family and stop giving a landlord rent and invest in a home of your own. Buy a house because you want to create rewarding memories and leave real estate for your children or grandchildren. Most of all, buy a house that you can afford, now and in the future.

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