Most people in California’s Bay Area don’t have the income necessary to afford homes there. The “U.S. Sustainable Home Price Report—Fourth Quarter-2015” from Fitch Ratings says that home prices in San Francisco are “unsupportable by area incomes.” The report mentions parts of Florida and Texas that have the same issue, though not as severely. While we certainly don’t have that problem here in Minnesota, there does seem to be a constant challenge with regard to what people know and *think* they know about qualifying for a mortgage and how owning versus renting benefits one’s overall financial picture.
It’s easy to see why the public may be suspicious of Realtors’ and Loan Officers’ motives when they tout the benefits of homeownership when following up on a lead – it’s human nature to conclude someone is just trying to sell you something and discount what they’re saying. That’s why we as industry professionals have to be talking about this every day to everyone. Questions that can start conversations and really reinforce the benefit of owning over renting are things like:
“Do you think it’s better to put money in the bank or spend and never see it again?”
“What if your biggest monthly cost also doubled as savings?”
We certainly hope homeownership doesn’t exceed people’s reach here in our neck of the woods or anywhere for that matter. Starting these dialogues with the public is never a bad idea – whether or not they have decided they are “in the market for a home.” Naturally, we’re always trying to build and increase business, but part of our job is sharing the understanding of how important the product we deal with (homes) is to the benefit of the clients – past, current or “eventual” – we serve.