How do Americans really feel about home ownership?
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI

A recent survey of 1,857 Americans polled by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) found that many would-be home buyers are worried about their ability to raise down payment funds and meet monthly mortgage bills. Fifty-two percent of those polled cited down payments and closing costs as a barrier to home ownership while 50 percent said having enough income to meet monthly mortgage payments was a hurdle.

Forty-eight percent said they were fearful over their job security, and finding the right house in the proper neighborhood was cited by 43 percent. But when it came to making sacrifices to own a home, 91 percent said they would rather own a home than drive a better car and 67 percent would put off retirement for 10 years in order to obtain one.

Despite the concerns, 61 percent of those polled agreed that now is a good time to buy a home. How do these survey responses compare to the concerns you have and the sacrifices you'd be willing to make to own a home? If you're like a majority of Americans, home ownership is a high priority. Why then is there an element of fear and reluctance in taking the home buying plunge and what would make it easier?

Freddie Mac (The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) recently gathered their own answers 125 people participating in focus group discussions. The concerns they expressed about home buying centered on:

  • Finding a desirable house in a decent neighborhood;
  • Negotiating a fair price;
  • Finding trustworthy information on which to base decisions;
  • Choosing a mortgage lender and qualifying for an affordable loan;
  • Understanding closing costs and legal commitments of the settlement process.

When asked specifically, what could help them feel more comfortable about the home buying process, the participants' response was equally specific: They wished the home buying process was more streamlined, and they wanted more education so that they could feel more comfortable with the process.

By reading our "Frugal HomeOwner" segments, we hope we can arm you with the information and education necessary to help you feel good about becoming an informed home owner--not just for today, but for the long run!