The news media has been all over real estate the last couple years. From the reason for our economic troubles to a bursting bubble – it’s been a lot of bad news lately. But step back for a moment – what is real estate? Simply put, real estate is personal property. Sure, it’s been used for investment purposes and even get rich quick schemes. But when you tear away all the hype and hysteria, real estate is personal property that provides shelter, stability, and a place to gather with friends and family. You can rent it or you can own it, but you still need it to survive in the modern world. If you rent real estate, there is a landlord that owns that home that is making a profit from your need for shelter. If you can afford to own real estate, you are your own landlord and it can provide for you a certain amount of security in a set place. Somewhere in this process of finding shelter, real estate became a vehicle to get rich quick, to leverage personal spending, and a way to impress friends and family. What was lost was the basic reality that real estate is personal property that provides shelter.
Can you believe everything you read? Sure, the news media is right in some respect that real estate is one of the causes of our current financial struggles. But let’s not rule out greed as the motivator behind those struggles – real estate was merely a vehicle. During other tough economic times it was dot.com stocks, and before that precious metals and the gold rush, and on and on. But is it really as bad as you might read? I’d say no – in the right neighborhood. While you can always find statistics that show that the sky is falling in terms of real estate prices, I can show you areas where prices are holding firm and actually increasing in some cases. Whether you are looking to buy to live in or to rent to others, there is still a need for real estate to provide shelter. With the proper goals and financial preparation, buying real estate is still a good idea. The moral of the story is that news hype often over simplifies reality, and that you have to dig a little deeper to find the truth, especially with regard to real estate.