Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Don't buy cheap; buy good schools

By now you've heard from somebody who knows somebody who got a great deal on a foreclosed property. But when you buy a house, you're also buying into a neighborhood. And foreclosures tend to be bunched in areas where residents and speculators alike took out exotic mortgages to get into homes they subsequently found they couldn't afford. That's not a recipe for stability. Prices and quality of life could both decline further.

Similarly, avoid developments that popped up in the past few years. They too likely have a lot of owners with risky loans and little equity, says Mike Larson of Weiss Research. Instead, go for areas with highly rated schools. They generally fare better during downturns, and that pattern is holding today, according to a recent study by real estate site