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When Is The Best Time To Buy The First Home?

Praful Thakkar

Are you not too familiar with this scenario? Let’s go few years back.

Oct 2003, Woburn:
Renter (over a phone conversation): Hello, I am Babu and looking forward to buying a home very soon.
Agent#: That’s perfect. Why don’t you stop by our office? Is Saturday morning good for you? Or afternoon? And where can I reach you?
Renter: OK, I’ll be there at 2 PM. My phone# is 781-938-xxxx.

Agent waits for a while and calls Babu at 2:30 PM. Babu informs the agent he cannot make up his mind and will call him later.

Mar 2004, Woburn:
Babu: Hello, this is Babu. I am calling for the house on sale.
Agent#2: That’s a beautiful home. Why don’t you stop by our office and we can go over this one and many other homes that you may want to see?

This time, Babu does visit the office of this agent. When agent asks him for the pre-approval, Babu promises to get back to the agent with pre-approval. In the meantime, the search is on. Babu browses through the Sunday Globe for Open Houses and in some cases, does pay a visit to some of them – but not to the agent#2.

June 2004, Woburn:
Babu decides to extend his lease for 6 more months, because the homes are little more expensive than his budget. The one that fits his budget are not THAT GOOD. Can he afford little more expensive homes? May be, so says the pre-approval.

Sep 2004, Woburn:
Babu starts his quest for his American Dream again. This time, he has a pre-approval and the budget is slightly up. Surprisingly, the homes he had seen a few months back are not in the market and the one available in market is a little over his budget. But the lease ends in Dec 2004. So what next? In the meantime, he liked a bigger rental place in Burlington. He opted for ‘open’ lease, easy to break.

Mar 2005, Burlington:
The search is on. Babu now works with agent#4. Budget is now lot more than what it used to be. He makes an offer to a house he liked a lot. Not accepted – too low, said the Seller. Babu is discouraged but continues the search. Some more offers, some more rejections. Agent explains to Babu about how market works. Agent#4 is now out!!!!

May 2005, Burlington:
Some more visits to open houses. Another home, another agent (#5?) and another offer. Now his budget is up substantially compared to when he first thought of buying a home, but how unfortunate! The home prices are at a different level – just slightly above his budget. How surprising - this difference has been consistent all through past couple of years!

Aug 2005, Burlington:
The school year is about to start and Babu. does not want to move now. May be, early next year. Good thing is – he now gets lots of emails from lots of agents about lots of properties! He loves browsing these virtual tours. Once in a while, he does pay a visit to an Open House, and thinks of making an offer, but there is someone out there, little quicker than him. Well…wait and watch.

Feb 2006, Burlington:
Babu: Hello, I am Babu and am looking forward to buying a home very very soon. I wish I could gift it to my wife on Valentine’s Day.
Agent#6: That’s perfect. We can surely do it. Why don’t you stop by our office? Is Saturday morning good for you? Or afternoon? And where can I reach you?
Babu: OK, I’ll be there at 2 PM. My phone# is 781-272-xxxx.

Babu has a repeat conversation, now with agent#6. Target date to own the home: June 2006. This time….

Good Luck, Babu.

Does it not sound too familiar? The fact is, Babu is a buyer who would have bought the home yesterday, but procrastination was the name of the game. There is a saying in Hindi – ‘Aaj kare so kal kar, kal kare so parso. Itni jaldi kya hai, jab jina hai barso’. (Let me take care of this tomorrow or day after. After all, there is still some more time…)

Many of us have this question, lingering in our minds for years and due to some unknown fear, although the desire to get the answer to this question is always very high, the mind is not ready to ‘work’ to get the answer. And if I say, the answer is simple and just in one word – ‘TODAY’: there will be many more questions – Why? How? When? Where? Etc.

The truth is – House Market will never be better than what it is TODAY! Another truth: No one can say, with certainty, that house prices will be up or down in next few years. So take a leap – and go for it!

If you are interested in selling or buying a home and want a FREE CD, “A HOME BUYER’S GUIDE”, please email me at Praful@iPraful.com, with your details, of course.

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