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Getting it about starter homes

Posted by Rona Fischman August 12, 2008 03:14 PM

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You probably know someone who married too young or too impulsively because it was “what you are supposed to do.” In some cases this works out great, as the couple grows in parallel courses. Many times it is an emotional, financial and legal mess. The same is true of a starter home.

John Perkins, in The Globe article I mentioned yesterday, did a great job of outlining the costs of a real estate transaction to show the young couple that buying for the short term was not a good idea. Short-term ownership does not pay. Well, actually, it does pay... It pays the mortgage broker, the real estate broker and the real estate attorney and the seller. It is just a bad idea for the buyer.

This leads to a thesis I state regularly:
Starter homes make as much sense as “starter marriages.” Unless you have a good idea that you will grow into your property, you are hurting yourself financially by getting legally entangled with a short-term one. It is better to rent until you know where you want to settle.

What’s your starter home experience? Did you buy one? Where you talked out of one?

On Sunday, I was condo-shopping with a single woman who is looking for two-bedroom condo to live in. We were near Harvard Square. Our fellow open house attendees were mostly parents of college students (with the students in tow) and young adults who looked the age of grad students. Why haven’t they gotten the news that our market is going down, that closing on a condo is an expensive activity and that it is cheaper to rent?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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