"My husband and I were renting in 2006 and EVERYONE told us we needed to buy a house because the market was so hot. We lived in Arizona and it was true, the housing market was crazy. We didn't have a down payment or any savings, but we pulled the trigger anyways. We bought a $205,000 house with an 80/20 loan and rolled all the closing costs in on the mortgage. So we have minus equity, basically.
"Well, about six months after we bought the house, the housing bubble burst and the value of homes started crashing -- BIG-time. Our house was worth $180,000, then $150,000, and so on. Finally, in 2009 we had to sell because we had moved out of state for work. We ended up selling for $104,000. Yep. It lost over $100,000 in less than three years.
"Lesson learned -- a hot housing market doesn't last forever and you shouldn't buy a house until you are really ready and you can put some money down. It was the most expensive mistake of our life." -- S.T., Ankeny, Iowa