Making the leap from renting a home to actually buying your own property is a big step. If you think you are ready to take the plunge, it’s best to look at both sides of the rental/homeowner equation.
Renters most often sign a lease to live in a certain property for a fixed amount of time, typically a year. That lease may have some restrictions as far as having pets or altering that property in anyway. A monthly rent goes to your landlord, which is fixed for the length of your lease and may be increased upon renewal. That rent might include some utilities, like water and heat, but you may be responsible for others such as gas, electricity or cable TV.
It is more complicated to buy a home, and if you go that route you will have more responsibilities. But there are many additional benefits, both financially and in your every day life. First, you must have enough money for a down payment and be able to qualify for a mortgage. You’ll need a reliable real estate agent to help you in your search and a lender that is willing to give you the best mortgage deal possible.
As a homeowner, you are responsible for the utility bills, maintenance costs and property taxes. At the same time, your monthly mortgage payments build up equity into your home. Eventually, if you stay in that home long enough, your mortgage will be paid off and you won’t have a monthly “rent’ to worry about. Since property values usually increase over time, you might be able to sell your home at a profit, even if it isn’t paid off. You also may qualify for various tax deductions. There is a certain sense of freedom in owning your own home and a sense of financial accomplishment.
Talk to a real estate agent or lender to find out whether renting or owning is the best answer for you. If you aren’t quite ready, either professional can help you figure out a plan that will prepare you for homeownership in the future while taking care of your present needs.
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