Yes, Buying a Home Is Truly Insane Right Now

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After a lot of consideration and number-crunching, you may have concluded that you've reached a point in your life where you'd like to stop renting where you live. Homeownership is, after all, the American dream, and with interest rates at eye-popping lows right now, it seems like as good a time as any. Sure, it was always going to be difficult, but was it always going to be ​this​ hard?

That's what many first-time buyers are asking themselves as they throw themselves into a truly outrageous housing market. CNN reports anecdotes of a single, entry-level house in the D.C. suburbs garnering nearly 80 offers within a few days of listing. That story isn't unusual, and it's a huge problem for anyone trying to establish themselves and build wealth in one of the most achievable means available to younger people.

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Part of it comes down to a long-simmering and historic shortage of houses to buy. Current homeowners just aren't interested in moving, especially not with the COVID-19 pandemic still an issue, while many renters in dense urban areas are looking for bigger alternatives to their work-from-home options. All that has been driving up prices and turning the bidding process into a bloodsport.

There are lots of places where it actually makes a lot more sense to rent rather than to buy property, but costs aren't the only thing that factor into the decision to own your home. If this is the path for you, do as much preparation work as you can, and be ready to make a huge choice very quickly. The frenzy might slow down, but costs could stay in the sellers' favor for a while yet.

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