should I buy a home?
I'd like some unbiased input on whether or not I should consider purchasing a home. Here's my situation--single female, early 50s, self-employed. Back in the 90s I had a catastrophic medical situation which wiped me out financially and left me with a boatload of medical debt. I managed to avoid bankruptcy and paid it all off, although that took a long, long time.
Now I'm totally debt free, earn an average of 80K a year (although I admit that these days nobody can say how long that will last), and have managed in the past couple of years to build back up to about 100K in savings.
Normally I would not even consider buying, but would continue to put everything I can into savings. However, in the area where I live, in the current market, I'm wondering if I shouldn't start following foreclosures. The market here is very, very bad. There was a huge amount of frenzy investment buying and the crash has been proportionate.
I went with a friend the other day who was looking for a place to buy and there is one townhouse development where we looked at a foreclosure that had been badly upgraded, but was all done, really except paint and a couple of the appliances. It was listed for 79K but had just sold for 35K. (That was a Homepath listing--other foreclosures don't go quite so low, but low enough.)
Assessed value in that complex is in the low 70s. I'm thinking that if I could find another that I could get for 55K or less, assuming it didn't need major repairs, it might be a good idea to buy it. I should mention that everything in the complex needs some bath work, mostly just tub replacement and resulting work, which I think I could get done for approx 5K. Outside of mortgage I estimate total monthly cost for HOA, insurance, etc. at $264. There is a new sewer assessment, but that's only 1K, so not onerous.
I currently pay $900 in rent and I don't think I can save much on that if I continue to rent in this area. More importantly, if the owner of my current rental decides to put it on the market (not unlikely), it's very hard to find a rental in this area these days which is not also for sale. I realize that I would be able to stay out a lease if it sold out from under me, but the prospect of moving every year or two as it happens in the places I move to isn't appealing.