Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maybe We Should All Rent Now

Go to Zillow.com and check out your home value. Shoot down some whiskey or gin first. Ok now go to ziillow and pump in your address. Now sit back and wait for it. Here it comes...there. That's how much your home is worth. Zillow is strangely accurate. It is strictly comparison based and renders what the market will bring today for your home. In the Chicagoland area where I live we are approaching forty percent. That is forty percent of the value gone. Poof!

So you hear about renters all the time now. The people who dump their homes and go rent. Well they had to. They lost their homes. They lost the privilege of home ownership. Right. Well we still have the privilege of home ownership and you have to wonder who is zooming who. The equity is largely gone. For most Americans they are back at 1996 levels. Over a decade of appreciation has been wiped out. So, that means you are just living in your home and if you sell you hope you can cover what you owe.

So what is the difference between a renter and a homeowner now. Well, let's see, tax deduction for interest on the mortgage. Renters don't get that. A tax bill. Renters don't get that either. Maintenance. Homeowners get to pay for that. Renters just show up and live and then they just leave. Shoveling the walk, mowing the grass, homeowner association dues. Renters don't do that. Utilities. Some renters get that some don't. Homeowners pay all utilities. Equity. Nobody gets that right now. Flexibility. Renters move at will. Homeowners are stuck. Size of payment. Mortgages are generally higher because of taxes. Upside down in their house. Renters are not upside down. Twenty five percent of homeowners are.

I guess you might say we are all renters now. Or we want to be renters. Middle class people were told that buying a house was the ultimate investment. Not so much anymore.

Rocket Man will blast off in April


Books by William Hazelgrove