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>>>Don't let impatience push you into a bad decision. 18 months isn't forever. (Heck, we spent over a year just looking.)<<<

We have spent over the last two years looking, and after much deliberation, we decided to build our first house, rather than buy. Many factors went in to deciding this (seller's market, etc), but the main thing is that you get to build the exact house you want.

Even still, it took us over a year to find the lot of our dreams, and we are finally getting a cost estimate for our new home tomorrow.

It's not to say that we weren't anxious to buy or build, it's just that buying a house is a big decision, one that usually lasts more than 10 years. One that we hope will last at-least 20 years.

Any real estate agent that's worth a grain of salt will have you closing on your home within 90 days (around St. Louis at-least). They'll convince you that everybody pays PMI, and you can deduct all these things, and finally talk you into buying a more expensive house. Don't get forced into making a decision that you don't feel comfortable with.

Set up some sort of methodology. We used a three strike rule, if we were finding more problems with the house the third time we visited, it struck out. It worked for us, but you should find something you're comfortable with.

Another thing, waiting longer usually means more that you can put down, thus lowering your monthly payments.

With careful planning, you should be able to afford both your house and your car.

my $.02 worth.
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