Never Too Old to be a First Time Home Buyer

Fewer than 1% of first time home buyers in 2009 were more than 75 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors. But as the population ages and life expectancy gets longer, the number of older home buyers will increase.

Hank and Verna Schmiess are not your typical first time home buyers. He was 89 and she was 84 when they bought their first home last year - a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo in New Brighton. After thoroughly going over their finances and determining it was cheaper for them to buy than rent, they carefully laid their plans to finally make the plunge into home ownership.

Though they hadn't had many reasons to buy before, they were priced out of the market when they did finally want to buy. Originally from North Dakota, they moved to the Golden Pond senior apartments in New Brighton to be closer to family. But they couldn't paint their walls, they couldn't have pets, and the laundry room was too far away. Additionally, the rents were increasing. They now pay slightly less per month for their home than they did when renting.

They aren't your typical first time home buyer, though. The 2009 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows the median age of first-time buyers was 30 and the median income was $61,600. First-timers tend to be young couples, workers early in their careers or people who were once priced out of the market but who can afford to buy after the real estate pricing bubble burst. The typical first-time buyer purchased a home costing $156,000, and plans to stay in that home for 10 years.

Hank and Verna were just two of many buyers who purchased their first home in 2009. The number of people who were first-time home buyers last year rose to 47% of all home sales. Many of them were enticed by an $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit that was scheduled to end in November. The credit has now been extended to April 30, 2010.

Buying a first home at any age takes some careful financial planning, but it can be done and in many cases, it makes more sense to buy than rent. There are also many programs available right now specifically meant to get first time buyers into homes. Talk to a Barker & Hedges Realtor today to find out how you might qualify.

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