Buying an Old House Now Might Really Help a Family

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News

It seems like every time I read the financial news there is another article about looming foreclosures. The last several years the big issue was the subprime mortgages, and the damage they were causing. Much of this crisis appeared to be caused by greedy lenders making loans that they should not have been, to buyers who were purchasing houses that were beyond their means. And in some cases, to buyers who should not have been purchasing a house of any type.

I hate seeing anyone lose their home to foreclosure, although working in the home building business I saw many people purchasing homes much more expensive than they could afford, hoping that it would appreciate and they would make money from it. I also saw many people who 10 years ago would not have been able to purchase a new car, yet somehow in the years just before the housing bubble burst they were able to get loans on $500,000 houses. So it was hard for me to feel too sorry for those types of buyers, and the lenders who were involved, but I did feel very sorry for everyone else who was hurt by the economic fallout from this crisis.

And now I feel very sorry for the group of people who are supposedly going to make up the next wave of foreclosures. I am reading now that many people who had not been living beyond their means, who up until recently had been responsible financially, are now falling behind on their mortgage payments, and their homes may be going into foreclosure. I am sure that many of these people are hard working and responsible, but they have been caught up in the fallout caused by others. They may have lost their jobs due to companies downsizing, or found that they can’t refinance adjustable rate loans due to lost value in the house. I am also sure that some of these homes are old houses.

If you have been thinking of buying an old house, now may be the time. Prices have been falling, but in some areas they are starting to stabilize. There are tax credits you may be eligible for, and you may be able to help someone out. In most cases it’s not a matter of taking advantage of a family’s misfortune, it’s a matter of helping them get out from under an expense they can no longer afford, and get a fresh start. In many cases the owners would prefer the house go to someone who will care for it as they did, and you might get that old house you have always wanted.