"Moving into a house takes time and energy, and making it your own takes a lot of time and energy," Josh Cohen added. "Ifyou're thinking of doing that at he same time you're moving from another state or getting married, that's something to keep in mind. We bought in April and didn't start school until August. It helps to minimize the life changes that all happen at once." Dr. Benny Joyner ' 93, who earned both his master's in public health and his medical degree from Carolina in 2002, and his wife, Rebecca Joyner ' 96, are getting to be old pros at home buying. Several years ago, they bought their first house in Westchester County, N .Y, mainly for the tax breaks it would allOw. About to rerum to Chapel Hill so he can work at UNC Hospi- tals (Becca Joyner is a lawyer with a Raleigh firm, and he previously worked in the GAA's Records Depart- ment), they've sold the New York house and are about o close on a house in Durham. "The second time was much easier than the first," she said. "This tllne we knew what we were getting ourselves into. The first tiJ.ne around, we had a lot less to invest in a house. That mortgage was a lot more daunting than this one will be. We were able to make some money on [the first] house. In Durham, we'll still have a mortgage, but it's not so big." Having bought once, Benny Joyner said, they knew how to think through questions such as how long a commute was acceptable to them. "Also, we under- stood the process, the nuances of what to offer on a house - what's too much? What's too little?" He said he can't underestimate the im.portance ofknowing what you want, researching financing options and being honest with your real estate agent about the down paynlent you can afford. "You have to be really patient," he said. "For us, it was a four- to five-month
process before we found this place. It's a daunting
prospect, and it's easy to get overwheh11ed."
Becca Joyner said they discovered while searching
for their first house that buyers could make a smaller
down payment than they expected.
"We put 5 percent down, got a 15 percent home
equity line and did the rest as a mortgage," she said.
"We vowed we wouldn't do that again on this house,
because the equity line is a variable rate and has gone
up. But it was still a good thing to do. It got us into
The New York home, she said, is definitely the best
Continued onfollowing page
Dr. Benny Joyner ' 93,
who also earned his
master's and medical
degrees at UNC, and
Becca Joyner ' 96
said buying a home
was easier the s
ec-ond time around.
What About the Bubble?
Certain areas of the country - including parts of
North Carolina - have seen a dramatic increase in
home prices in recent years, and that has prompted
warnings about a real estate bubble
that may soon burst. Should young
alumni thinking about buying a
first home be concerned? In a
word, no, according to finance
Professor James F. Smith.
"Forget about the bubble," he
said. "It's kind of silly. A house is
not like a stock or a gold bar. If
house prices go down, you just
don't sell your house." Smith said he believes young
homebuyers have little to worry about because
they're likely to own houses long term. And he
predicted that demand for most kinds ofhousing will
remain high for the next 20 years or so as the baby
boomers move up into their 60s and 70s. That's the
age group with the highest rate of homeownership,
he said. He also pointed out that households where
the head was not born in the
U.S. tend to buy houses 10 years
later than those who are U.S.-born. The immigration boom, he
said, means there will be a good
source ofhome buyers over the
One segment of the housing
market that may see slackening
demand is investor-owned
condominiums, he said. That's because it's harder to
"flip" them, or resell them quickly. But young people
starting out typically don't buy those condos anyway,
he pointed out. They tend to want homes they'll live
in, not rent out.