Buy real estate for the right reasons

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

There were 1 million foreclosures nationwide in 2010 and there are expected to be more in 2011. Many consider now a good time to buy because mortgage interest rates and home prices are low. But how can you keep from ending up in a distressed-sale situation, or ending up underwater with a loan amount that is higher than the market value of your home?

According to Robert Shiller, a professor at Yale and known for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, housing bubbles aren't that common and are usually more localized than the one that began in the summer of 2006, which wreaked havoc with the housing market in this country.

Shiller points out that housing bubbles are dependent on extreme public exuberance. He and colleague Karl Case have been surveying homebuyer opinions since 1988. Speculative investment fueled the most recent housing bubble.

If anything, homebuyers now see homes as a risky, rather than a great, investment. This is a m...