Continued from previous page
financial investment they've made.
The Joyners were able to get their first
mortgage despite substantial student loan
debt, and Alex Lewis said that's often the
case. "But if people have a lo t of debt due
to tuition loans andlor a lot of credit card
debt, a lender might not work with them,"
he cautioned."That's why we have them
work with a lender up front."
He advised prospective buyers to shop
for lenders and get at least three good-faith
estimates on mortgage rates and associated
James Smith also advised that it's not
necessary to payoff existing debt to qualif Y
for a mortgage, though that's always a
desirable goal. Some buyers will qualifY for
FHA loans because of their income orVA
loans because they are veterans, he said.
These loans require no money down and
still have good interest rates.
His final advice: "Enjoy homeownership
ifit's right for you. If it's not right for you,
don't worry about it.You've got plenty of
time in the future. There are reasons home-
ownership rises with age."
The Grass is Greener
Though tax breaks and growing
equity certainly matter, not all the bene-
fits ofhome ownership are financial.
Sarah Cohen said she and her husband,
Josh, enjoy making their home welcom-
ing to guests. "We enter-
tain a lot, and we
enjoy the fact that
h ere," she
said."I'm a big
cook, and I love
that I can finally
plant an herb garden."
Josh Cohen added that he likes being
able to control what happens in their
own space. "And we have a little bit of
land," he said."I like to work in the yard,
and I like to make a fire in the fireplace
and go get some logs from the back
yard. I like being able to grill whenever
we want. All these things are hard to do
in an apartment."
Ben and Becca Joyner, who bought
their home just outside N ew York City a
few years ago, agree that having more
space was a big plus for
them."In New York,"
she said, "you're in
an apartment and
above you. In a
house, you can
play the radio as
loud as you
want." The couple
enjoyed the freedom
to take down wallpaper,
make renovations and paint the walls
whatever color they chose. With two
dogs, they also were glad to have room
out back. "The bad side," Ben Joyner
said, "is that you have to take care of the
yard. But the good side is you have to
take care of the yard."
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