1. How will owning a house affect potential financial aid from medical school? I know if I have $50k in cash sitting around, I won't get as much aid from the govt because they will expect me to spend my savings (which I don't want to do!). Would it be better for me to put that money into a house that I am living in? Owning a house is a good thing for financial aid. However, having money sitting around doens't hurt you as bad as you think. The feds only expect you to use something like 7% of your savings on your education each year, however, schools usually look at your assets much closer and will give you much less need based aid if you have that much money in the bank...but given that you will be coming from a high paying job anyways, it doesn't really matter one way or another, you will likely only get loans your first year.
2. If I bought a house and sold it, would I be able to buy another house to get me through medical school (use loans to make mortgage payments)? Seems like a good thing to do because my equity could grow over 4 years (a lot more than renting anyway!). It would seem like a dumb move to go from owning to renting, correct? You can use loans to make mortgage payments, but you can't get a loan approved based off of future loans that you will get for medical school, if that makes sense. So you have to get your house bought while you are still employed, and unless you are buying where you work, you would have to buy the house in your second location as a "vacation" or "second home" with a higher interest rate. I just went though a whole nut role because I am working in a separate state than where I will attend medical school, so they wouldn't let me get a loan without verification of employment at the place where I am moving to.
3. How much money will I lose in fees if I bought a house vs. renting (throwing money down the drain)? $1000/mo rent for a year is $12000 down the drain. Would closing costs associated with buying and selling a house be more than this to justify renting over buying? Check out this page. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/10/business/2007_BUYRENT_GRAPHIC.html# 3 to 4 years of ownership is generally worth it, especially if you have some money to put down.
4. How much house can I afford with a $65k/yr salary, no dependents and $50k in the bank right now? What price house SHOULD I be looking at? You can afford a nice house, depending on where you are buying, go to fool.com and use one of their calculators to figure it out. But you should be asking yourself how serious you are about medical school, once you decide this one way or another, that may make up your mind what you are going to do. Buying a house now that you will sell in a year doesn't make much sense. Renting it out when you are living in another state comes with other problems. If you are buying a houes for medical school, you should look to get something cheaper than your current income affords you, because your student loans are pretty slim
5. Foreclosures - I hear now is an awesome time to buy a house - should I try and pick up a foreclosed property on the cheap? How do I find them? I know nothing about this. Good time to buy a house. Can't answer your question so much about the foreclosures, seems like a lot of scam websites out there trying to help you get a hosue going into forclosure. I am sure someone knows how to do this well.
6. Lease-to-own arrangements. Would this be a good idea? That way I could pay rent for a year then decide if I want to buy it based on whether I go to med school or not and use the rent money to count towards the principal? Of course, if I go to med school everything is lost? May be a good deal.
7. BIG QUESTION - So, given my situation, do I rent or buy? I really want to buy if I can so I don't throw away money and get a nicer place to live (rental condos and houses suck, I won't ever live in an apartment again). I'm really against renting because my living arrangements right now are free (with family) and very comfortable, so it's difficult for me to give all that up for personal freedom, but I really want my own place. You need to decide on school first. If you buy a house now, that may really deter you from changing careers...
Finally, if I should buy a house -- how do I do it??? I have no idea! I've never done anything like this before, and don't know where to look, how to get a good deal, what to buy, who to talk to, what's involved, what to watch out for, etc. It is a lot of work, start searching the web for "buying a home" HUD has some good advice, so does about.com
Any advice given my circumstances would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!![/QUOTE]