Monday, August 30, 2010

Taking On Time Magazine

In the world of blogging, there's a traffic-generating trick known as 'punching upward' (or fighting upward, punching above your weight class, etc.) - in which a blog picks a fight with a highly trafficked blog or media source, in order to gather some of that blog's traffic in the ensuing battle.  While this is certainly not the primary goal of this post - we won't complain if we see an uptick in traffic as we take on Time Magazine and their most-recent cover story "Rethinking Homeownership, why owning a home may no longer make economic sense."

The actual title of the article is even more menacing "The Case Against Homeownership". 

Homeownership has been proven, over and over, to be the NUMBER ONE driver of wealth creation for low- to moderate- income homebuyers over time.  (The key being over TIME).  Even Barbara Kiviat, the article's author, understands this fact:

Homeownership has done plenty of good over the decades; it has provided stability to tens of millions of families and anchored a labor-intensive sector of the economy.

The article... which is only available in an abridged version online states that:

But the dark side of homeownership is now all too apparent: foreclosures and walkaways, neighborhoods plagued by abandoned properties and plummeting home values, a nation in which families have $6 trillion less in housing wealth than they did just three years ago.

The problem has never been - and never will be - homeownership. 

The problem stems from one of preparation, education and expectations.  BEFORE deciding to purchase, homebuyers need to fully understand the financial implications, the risks and the responsibilities of homeownership - and the information needs to come from an unbiased source... not a marketing/sales pitch from someone who has a financial stake in the decisions the homebuyer makes.  Homeownership should never be seen as a short-term vehicle to wealth creation.

In Minnesota, THE source of unbiased information about the home buying process and homeownership is HOME STRETCH.  A Home Stretch Workshop will help you become an informed, prepared consumer. The workshop offers objective, practical information to help you:

  • Determine your REAL financial situation
  • Understand credit, credit issues, and how credit affects the costs of homeownership
  • Decide what type of mortgage is best for your needs
  • Select the right home for your family
  • Understand the loan closing process
  • Find special programs just for first-time homebuyers

And, even though we are the HOMEOWNERSHIP CENTER... we consider it a success if someone takes a HomeStretch workshop, or speaks with a pre-purchase counselor, and decides that homeownership is not right for them.  Homeownership is NOT right for everyone... and being a successful homeowner isn't easy.

To find out more, visit the MN Home Ownership Center's website, here.

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