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Real Estate Q&A: Is 2012 the Year to Buy?

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By Gary M. Singer

(MCT)—QUESTION: With the market up and down and with elections on the horizon, my husband and I are unsure about whether we should buy a home. We don’t want to wait too long and have prices go back up. What are your thoughts on buying in 2012? —Emalita

ANSWER: Buy. The housing market is nearing a bottom in many areas. But I think this recovery is fragile, just like the beginnings of a recovery in the economy. Unforeseen events certainly could cause another dip in prices. Even if this occurs, I don’t think that most areas will drop very much. And temporary declines don’t matter as much to people who buy and intend to live in the home long term. Interest rates seem to be on the rise, and that will cause mortgage payments to rise as well. I would start planning to buy, but don’t be in a rush.

Q: I have a 30-year Federal Housing Administration loan and am paying mortgage insurance as required. If I die, does the mortgage insurance pay off the loan and does my estate get the deed? —Clifford

A: No. The mortgage insurance that you were required to buy when you got the loan covers the lender from its losses if you default. It does not protect you at all. As a matter of fact, if the mortgage insurance company has to pay out a loss to your lender based on the policy, the insurer may sue you to get the money back. If you are looking for an insurance product to pay off the mortgage when you pass away, you will want to purchase a life insurance policy. You can buy a general policy that will pay money to your designated beneficiaries, who can spend it how they like, or you can buy a policy specifically designed to pay off your mortgage.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.

©2012 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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