There's an intriguing, and only slightly tongue in cheek article,
The technique? A letter
Such correspondence apparently used to be routine. But nowadays, writes Ron Lieber in the Your Money column, the missive of choice is "less a fuzzy valentine and more like a cold splash of water. It's what you write to accompany a bid that is so far below the listing price that it cries out for explanation."
And Lieber goes one step further, also penning a reply that the wannbe buyer might get from the prospective seller.
Read the whys and wherefores of the letters, as well as see the samples, here.
Rent or buy? The Times also has this calculator that it says will help you decide whether it's time to scrape up a down payment and purchase a house.
Similar calculators can be found at:
All things being equal, and that's a major assumption, the wisest move for many folks is to own rather than rent. You build equity, can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes and, over the long term, when you sell at a profit, you won't owe any tax on your gains.
But -- and there's always a but in big life decisions, isn't there? -- homeownership isn't for everyone, from a psychological as well as a financial point of view.
These rent-or-buy calculators can help you make the appropriate monetary move.
As for that other, more emotional, component, sorry, I couldn't find an online tool to help out there. So I'm going to have to leave it to you!