The housing meltdown is still affecting more and more Americans each day. That nest egg called equity that so many people thought they had is evaporating faster than Rebecca Black’s career. People who never thought they would live anywhere but in their own home are now finding themselves checking out one and two bedroom apartments just to make ends meet.
According to many slick real estate agents, who will talk bad about their own mother just to make a sale, talk about all of the advantages of owning your own home. They usually say some non-sensible catch phrase statements like:
- Pride of Ownership.
- Tax savings.
- A more stable monthly housing expense.
- It’s The American Dream.
Yeah, whatever you say, I have a pint of grease in my hair and I-Wanna-Win-Mr.-Realtor-of-the-Year guy. You ever wanna piss off a real estate agent? Here’s how. Spend 3 long weekends looking at homes. Each weekend, change your mind drastically as to what you are looking for. After looking at a ton of homes announce you finally want to write an offer on the first house you looked at. Right before you sign the very last page of the offer tell the agent that you need to make a quick phone. Say you want to call your psychic to hear what she thinks. Then come back and say, no, the psychic doesn’t have a good feeling about this. You will see a middle-aged man (the real estate agent) blow a gasket. In his mind, he had already spent the 3% commission he thought he had earned.
I don’t say to do this to be mean, but to emphasize a point.
I seriously think a psychic has about as much knowledge about whether owning a house will have more advantages for you than a salesman does. This salesman is someone who makes their living on commission by selling you the home – talk about a reason to lie. Besides, you can’t just rely on the blanket statement of statistics and propaganda provided to them by The National Associations of Realtors (NAR). The truth is homeownership is all about money, but not for homeowners. The National Association of Realtors is one of the largest associations in the country. We are talking over a million dues paying members. And the yearly dues for a Realtor are not cheap. We are also talking about the NAR having a multi-million dollar office building within walking distance of the White House in Washington, DC. Why? Because they can lobby about housing issues and continue the propaganda about the importance of home ownership and how it helps the economy. It doesn’t help the economy, it only provides an inaccurate sense of security of an individual’s net worth.
Three years ago home ownership was at an all-time high. Now look around. How good is our economy for the people who spent years paying on houses that are no longer worth what they paid? Where did the equity go? Follow the money. It went into politicians coffers from the Realtor Lobbyists, who in turned gave it to politicians to do dumb ass things like bail out the banks and then create a housing program that helps no one. That’s where it went. Ask yourself, how good is our economy now that people listened to the NAR and their favorite local snarky Realtor and borrowed against their house to get massive lines of equity, only to be caught with their pants down when their lines of credit was revoked and recalled by the bank. It is all about the money. Does the Government really want to fix the housing problem. No, not if the best they can come up with was “HOPE NOW”, the Obama answer to solving the housing crisis. HOPE NOW was supposed to help 4 million struggling homeowners keep their homes but has helped less than 400,000. The rest of the people? Shit out of luck. So who owns their house when they default? The banks that the US Government lent billions to bailout at taxpayer expense. Do you see a trend? Follow the money.
Real Estate agents will talk until they are blue in their face about Truth in Lending, but the reality they are some of the most unscrupulous individuals in our society – often doing or saying anything to close that deal, even if it is not good for the client. Let’s talk about the selling points an agent uses to persuade someone about buying a home:
You do not have to own a house to have pride of ownership. Some of the most luxurious homes are actually New York City Apartments. Yes, they sell deeds on them, but an apartment is an apartment. If you choose a building that is well maintained it will select fellow tenants in common who also have pride of Rentership.
OK, let’s get this big ole’ myth right out in the open. Many Americans with a home mortgage are able to deduct the interest or portion of the interest they are paying each month on their home mortgage. They shriek and scream each year at tax season about the huge tax refund check they get back. Most of them stick it in the bank to pay their property taxes. How’s that working out for you now that your taxes are still the same (or higher) but your house is not worth diddly squat?
During this houses crisis, the people who lived in apartments never saw huge swings in their net worth due to the value of their home. Now that’s a fixed housing cost you can count on. Yeah, you never own it… but in the long run, look at how many people spent years living the American Dream and now don’t own their own home either. It’s all the same. If you live in a smaller, more economical dwelling like an apartment that you NEVER have to pay or worry about maintenance, then you are instantly ahead of the game financially. If your washer quits washing, the dryer quits drying or the heater quits heating it is a phone call and it is fixed. Cost to you $0.
It is 2011. What’s that?
Ditto. What’s that? Or should we be calling it the great American myth?
It seems that most of the new homes in America are being built in Planned Urban Developments (PUD) or planned communities and we all need to think or be aware of what comes along with one of these new homes, a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) That means yes, you “own” your own home, but a board of directors tell you what color you can or can not paint your house, if you can put up a fence, where you can and can not plant a tree and if you can have a certain breed of a dog for a pet. There are so many other rules that most HOA rules and regulations or CC & R’s are bound in agreements 50 -100 pages long.
As I said, follow the money.