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The Long Road to Home

Malkie Schulman

Buying a home may be the American dream, but arriving at the destination is anything but a pleasure trip. In addition to the countless details, there’s a seemingly endless outlay of money, not to mention the anxiety and hand-wringing intrinsic to the process. To smooth your path, we’ve brought together experts from each stop along the journey to advise you on your way.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Step 1 Yes, it’s a dream, but is it time? Name: Mr. Nathan Leibowitz of Assante Capital Management in Montreal Occupation: Investment advisor since 2004 Mr. Leibowitz is a big believer in the (North) American dream: owning your own home. When you buy a house two things happen, he says. First, over time, the house generally rises in value. Second, you are creating equity in your home by paying down your mortgage.   “I know a rebbi,”Mr.Leibowitz says, “who bought a house 20 years ago and paid his mortgage every month. When it came time to marry off his children, he was able to access significant sums of money to pay for the weddings through a home equity loan,” a loan that allows an owner to borrow money against the value of his property. One of the biggest decisions to make is whether to continue renting or to buy. When making that decision,Mr.Leibowitz says, it is important to look at the price differential. That means the difference between the rent and the potential mortgage payment — plus property taxes, maintenance fees, insurance and other extras of home ownership. If the difference is minimal, then it might be prudent to buy a home. When interest rates are low, as they are now, that translates into lower mortgage rates. That, in turn, means that buyers might be able to afford homes that were formerly out of reach. But don’t get stuck in the “shoulda woulda coulda” mode,Mr.Leibowitz cautions. Yes, it may be true that you could have bought the same house in 2008 for significantly less money, and it’s hard to fork over that extra $100,000, but what are the options? With that thinking, he says, you’ll never buy a home. 

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