Sunday, July 6, 2008

Real Estate Road Signs - "Buy A House for $500 Down"

I'm noticing an uptick in the number of roadside cardboard signs that have something to do with real estate lately. You know the kind - here in Phoenix they're usually hand-inked, on cardboard or oak tag, stuck in the ground with a stake.

Surely it's a function of the bad economy, the looming recession, the credit crisis and the housing 'bubble'.  Whatever, I figured it would make a good blog post. Here's today's Real Estate Road Sign:

Here's the thing. A ton of people would qualify to buy a home - any home - with $500 down. The amount of the down payment is a function of 2 things - 1) the contract you negotiate with the seller, and 2) what sort of loan program you qualify for.

You don't need to call somebody who advertises on the roadside to get a $500 down house. In fact, I submit that it's probably not a good idea to get a home mortgage from somebody who advertises on the roadside with a cardboard sign. To buy a home with $500 down, you just need to speak with a reputable lender, and see if you qualify for a loan program that allows a low down payment.

Veteran? Done. You can buy a house with $500 down - use the VA loan program. eHow tells you how to figure out if you qualify, but I take no responsibility for their sponsored lender links.

First time homebuyer?  Done and done, and then some. You can buy a house with only $500 down - use a standard FHA loan. Or use an AmeriDream loan. Or use Nehemiah Corporation to buy your slice of the American Dream. Go through Maricopa County's Home In Five program and get your downpaymnet as a gift. Try the Down Payment Guy website, which advertises homes for sale on the regular MLS that are owned by seller who agree up-front to partcipate in a program like these. But note that the DownPaymentGuy steers buyers to their approved stable of lenders, and you can use any lender you choose.

Not a first timer, but still cash-strapped? There are FHA programs you qualify for too. My favorite blogging lender Shailesh Ghimire explains FHA loans.

When you see a road sign like this one, remember 2 things: 1) You can work with any lender you want and still potentially qualify for a $500 Down home purchase.  2) Doing business with a "lender" who advertises on the roadside is probably not a great idea. Buying a "new in plastic, pillow top" mattress off a road sign might be OK. But selecting the single most expensive financial asset you'll ever own in your life off a road sign is potentially a recipe for disaster.

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