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6 Questions To Ask Before Buying A House In This Hot Real Estate Market

Is now the time to buy that perfect house in Palm Springs or wherever you are looking to be living?

The housing market in most of this country has been highly competitive for quite some time. There are way more people looking to buy a new home than those looking to sell. Many buyers and sellers find themselves in situations with multiple offers and homes selling for seemingly unbelievable prices. This has left many would-be homebuyers wondering if now is a good time to be buying a house. Keep reading for six questions to ask yourself before jumping into the real estate market.

Are you willing and able to live in the house for at least five years? Extra credit if you can handle five years here. Having a house that meets your needs and is in a location you like will make owning a home much more palatable when inevitable home repairs come up or if house prices drop.

Under normal circumstances (we are not in a normal housing market at the moment), it will usually take a few years to recoup the cost of buying and selling a home. So, the longer your time frame, the greater your odds of making money if or when you decide to sell your home.
How much house do you really need? More importantly how much house can you afford?
For most people, spending more than 28% of gross income on housing will leave you house poor. There are exceptions. For example, someone buying a duplex or multi-unit property or having a roommate could help make homeownership more affordable. Also, in many scenarios, the self-employed appear much poorer on a mortgage application than in real life.

Your mortgage broker can likely get you a mortgage at 43% of your gross income, but that won’t leave much money to enjoy life or even do things like eating after taxes.

I’m not saying you have to put 20% down but having the ability to do so shows that you are likely in a position to afford to own a home. Side note, in the current market, the larger your down payment, the more competitive your offer will be (assuming many of you are buying a home with multiple offers).

Home maintenance can be costly. Not to mention mortgage payments and property taxes.
I purchased my first home way back in 2007, right before the worst of the financial crisis. My house was likely underwater (worth less than I paid) for a good five years. While it wasn’t fun, I liked where I lived and was able to weather the storm. On a happier side note, my mortgage is less than half what it was when I purchased the home, thanks to lower interest rates.

Honestly, I wasn’t happy to see my house value decline, but there wasn’t much I could do about it at the time. Thankfully, I kept the house, and it is now worth more than double what I originally paid for it.

Depending on your situation, now may be a perfect time. For others, buying now may be a terrible decision. In many real estate markets, the supply of houses for sale is far outstripped by demand. You may be buying at relatively high values, but on the flip side, I would expect mortgage rates to be higher in 5 years than they are today.

While I know being patient isn’t fun, don’t rush out and get in a bidding war for a house you aren’t sure you want. However, if your dream home comes on the market and you can afford it, don’t lose out on it just because you aren’t getting it for a dream price.

Home prices are up, and so is the cost of remodeling your home. The supply chain issues make it harder to get items, and all the best contractors are busy. Just be cautious before you take on a house with a larger project than you can handle or that your budget can bear. The prices you see on HGTV to redo a home are likely far less than you will find in the real world.

As a fiduciary financial planner, I think owning a home is a smart long-term financial move. There are better ways (in my opinion) to build wealth, so not owning a home doesn’t mean you can’t be building wealth over time.


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Colorado Gov. Polis signs new batch of gun laws

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a new batch of gun legislation into law on Friday, several months after a deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

The laws establish a three-day waiting period to obtain a firearm, raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, make it easier to sue gun manufacturers and expand the state’s red flag law.

“Coloradans deserve to be safe in our communities, in our schools, our grocery stores, nightclubs and everywhere in between,” Polis said at the bill signing, according to The Colorado Sun.

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Five people were killed and 17 were injured in November when a 22-year-old gunman opened fire at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

A proposed assault weapons ban failed to make it to the governor’s desk alongside the other gun control legislation after the House Judiciary Committee voted last week to postpone consideration of the bill indefinitely.

However, legislation to ban the sale and manufacture of so-called “ghost guns,” or unserialized firearms, remains under consideration in the Colorado state Senate.

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Kushner firm received hundreds of millions from UAE, Qatar

Jared Kushner’s private equity fund has received hundreds of millions of dollars in investments from the UAE and Qatar, according to a report.

Kushner, son-in-law to former President Trump, was the administration’s adviser tasked with policy in the Middle East, including delivering a peace plan between Israel and Palestine.

According to The New York Times, the investments, which follow a similar cash injection from Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund, raise concerns about how those close to the Trump administration have profited off of their former government roles.

The UAE sovereign wealth fund invested about $200 million with Kushner’s firm, Affinity Equity, and a Qatari fund invested about the same, according to the Times. The recently revealed investments are small compared to that of the Saudi fund, which invested $2 billion with Affinity in 2021, shortly after Kushner left the White House.

The investments are not believed to be illegal, as there are few ethics guidelines or laws regarding foreign investments in private firms after an official leaves government work. The investments are also not unique to Kushner, as investing is a known strategy of Gulf states to exert influence with American officials on both sides of the aisle.

Former Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s investment firm has also received vast sums from Middle Eastern wealth funds, including $1 billion from the Saudi wealth fund.

Similarly, Trump himself has announced business deals with Middle Eastern interests, including a Saudi-backed, Trump-branded hotel complex costing $4 billion. Trump has also been a vocal supporter of the Saudi-owned LIV Golf Tour, the upstart rival to the American PGA, including hosting tournaments at his golf courses.

Last year, the House Oversight Committee, then controlled by Democrats, launched an investigation into the initial Saudi investment into Kushner’s fund. Then-Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said the investigation was into whether Kushner traded influence from this government position for the investment.

“Your close relationship with Crown Prince bin Salman, your pro-Saudi positions during the Trump Administration, and PIF’s decision to fund the lion’s share of your new business venture — only six months after the end of your White House tenure — create the appearance of a quid pro quo for your foreign policy work during the Trump Administration,” Maloney said in a letter to Kushner at the time.

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2 Cases Filed Against Wrestling Body Chief, 1 Of Them For Harassing Minor

he Delhi Police, which functions under Amit Shah’s Home Ministry, filed the two first information reports (FIRs) hours after the Supreme Court ordered them to do so.

The Delhi Police have filed two cases against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh after the country’s top wrestlers made allegations of sexual harassment against him.
The Delhi Police, which functions under Amit Shah’s Home Ministry, filed the two first information reports (FIRs) hours after the Supreme Court ordered them to do so, amid protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar by wrestlers including Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat.

One of the FIRs is over a complaint of sexual harassment by a minor, filed under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which gives no scope for bail.

The Delhi Police will pursue the case actively, sources said.

Mr Singh, who is also a BJP MP, welcomed the Supreme Court’s order to file the police case into allegations of sexual harassment against him.

Mr Singh told reporters the wrestlers should have waited for the report of a committee that was tasked to look into the matter before they decided to sit on a protest in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

“I am happy with the judiciary’s decision. The Delhi Police will investigate the allegations and I am ready to cooperate with them in every possible way. No one is bigger than the judiciary in this country. The order has come to file an FIR (first information report). The government had also said it had no objection to filing an FIR. I am not larger than the Supreme Court. I welcome the order,” Mr Singh told reporters.

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