If there is a positive light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, it has to be that our nation has taken away some valuable lessons from the housing market slump and the credit crisis that has plagued us for the last couple years.
It seemed like just a few years ago that times were good, housing markets were red hot, and credit was flowing faster than water. More than a few of us got cooked up in the excitement, and therefore, many of us are now paying the price.
What have we all learned as a result of the credit and housing mess?
o We must establish and maintain good credit. The government programs that were encouraging banks to lend to nearly everyone, regardless of their ability to pay back the debt, are now a thing of the past, and for good reason. Up until a few years ago the only two things that aided your new home endeavors were hard work and a good down payment. Then along came modified loan programs that twisted the rules and made many people believe that owning a home was not only possible, but plausible, as well.
We are now back to a lending sector that had no choice but to revert back to traditional loans and the hard work that went along with obtaining them. We must all remember that a home is privilege, not a right, and that, at the end of the day, you must pay your dues and earn your home.
o If it's too good to be true, it probably is. You've no doubt heard the old adage before, and for good reason – because it still holds true today! The no-credit, no-problem loans, the no-doc loans, and the interest-only loans were good for only one thing: putting people into homes they could not afford. The loan process is not easy, and it is sometimes quite frustrating, but it weeds out those who have earned the right to purchase a home from those who may not be quite ready for the financial responsibility of home ownership.
o Good things do not last forever. For most individuals, looking into the future was not even a consideration during the height of the housing boom. Housing prices in many parts of the country were ridiculously inflated and many want-to-be homeowners were doing nothing short of begging for a new home. Sellers were in control, and the bubble was bursting at the seams.
In hindsight, we should have all been looking ahead and realizing that home prices could only go so high before the bubble burst. Sometimes that would have saved many of us from purchasing over-inflated homes that naturally took a nose dive when the credit crisis ensued.
o We all must save smart and spend wisely. The credit crisis has moved us all toward a more cash-geared society. Instead of credit cards and personal loans, people are now choosing to save for the things they want. And that may be a very good thing.
o Home ownership is not for everyone. For some of us, renting just makes more sense. Owning a home involves many, different circumstances, some of which just do not suit every individual or every family.