I have a new Academic Job; Should I buy a home?

Congratulations!  You’ve been hired.  There is lots to do before you take your new academic job.  The task in front of you may seem overwhelming.

Four key questions to ask immediately are:  “Where should I live?  Should I own or rent?  Should I live in a home, condominium or apartment?  Does the university offer post-doc or faculty housing incentives?”

Sometimes academic jobs may be the most secure employment available; sometimes they may be the most insecure.  Only you can be the judge of that.

As your Higher Education career progresses, be keenly aware of the real estate market you are moving to.  Generally, our suggestion would be to NOT immediately buy a home if you have just taken a new academic job, but to consider buying one if you have a leadership or administrative management position.  Unless you are a more seasoned post-doc, be careful about buying a home or condominium.

If you still own a home where you are moving from, definitely do NOT buy now.  Don’t be pressured into buying because the housing market “has never been better for buyers.”  It may be great, but there is generally plenty of housing inventory with great deals available; one only has to look at Houston, Texas from 1980-1987 to know how much a roller-coaster housing can be.

Why our negativity and/or divergence of thought?  Right now, many non-tenured faculty jobs are not that secure.  Unless you know exactly where you are moving to, variables such as school districts, age of neighborhoods, dual careers and drive time can factor in.  If you are moving to a college town, we acknowledge that the housing search is often easier to manage; if you are moving to a larger community with a new faculty job, we suggest renting to “get a lay of the land.”  For administrators and faculty, housing may provide a better short-term decision to rent.

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