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First time home buyer

Chris Farrell Aug 19, 2009

Question: I am considering buying a house (for the first time) – the government incentives to do this are a big factor in this decision- However, I am in my 50’s – Is it a good idea to buy a house, or should I continue to rent ? I would be buying it with a friend, so we would be sharing the mortgage payments-( I don’t know whether that would factor into your answer)–What are your views on buying houses at a later point in your life? Thanks for any input! Rachel, Athens, GA

Answer: I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be a first time homeowner in your 50s. All the normal economic caveats about owning versus renting apply to you, of course. The $8,000 credit is really a drop in the bucket when it comes to the overall cost of owning. So, make sure that the motivation and numbers work first–the $8,000 is a bonus.

A couple of other points. I believe that it’s generally a good idea to be debt free in retirement. So, in your financial planning with your friend I would discuss the practicality of being aggressive with paying down the mortgage. Since you will be buying with a friend both of you should make sure that you’re legally protected.

I posted some more details about home ownership versus renting in your 50s responding to a similar question on 7/21/09. Check it out.

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