Addie Finley's Blog
The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and it’s really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.
However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in today’s post we’re going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.
One thing to note first, however, is that it isn’t always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also don’t have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.
So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.
Renting an apartment
Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.
When you rent your first apartment, you’ll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.
In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.
However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.
Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.
One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, it’s worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.
But, what if you want to own a home someday but haven’t quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or you’ve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.
Renting is typically a better option for those who aren’t quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.
Buying a home
Once you’ve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.
You’re also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.
When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money you’ve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.
This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.
So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.
Depending on how many years you’ve been working, retirement can seem like it’s too far in the future to worry about or too close to be able to effectively make any real change.
However, retirement is about more than doing the math and investment planning. Retirement includes making several life decisions, and considering things you may not have thought of before.
In this article, we’re going to talk about planning aspects of your retirement including your home and assets, your savings and investments, and setting and achieving goals for yourself.
Pay yourself first
If it feels like your paycheck is spent before you get a chance to set any aside each week, you’re not alone. However, it’s never too late to start setting aside money for retirement. The “pay yourself first” theory states that you should set aside a certain amount for bills, savings, and retirement plans before you spend a dime of your paycheck each week.
The easiest way to achieve this is to take advantage of an employer-based contribution matching program such as a 401K. However, if you are self-employed you can still open up an individual retirement account (IRA) or a Solo 401K. With an IRA, you determine where you want to invest your money, and can choose safer or riskier investments based on your own preferences.
Draw up your plan, literally
There’s no better way to start planning than to actually sit down with a notebook or your computer and start figuring out what you want to save and how you want to achieve those savings.
You’ll want to determine how much money you can accrue in your savings account, estimate the price of your assets and properties, and look at the projected return on investment for any IRAs or 401Ks you have in place.
As you likely know, these numbers are all projections. There’s no way to know for sure how much your home will be worth, or how well your investments will do by the time you’re ready to retire.
So, one of the most important aspects of making this checklist is to return to it yearly to determine if you should change your investments or alter your retirement goals.
Determine your lifestyle needs
Whether you have dreams of settling down in a quiet town for retirement, touring the country in an RV, or traveling the world, you’ll need to find out how you can make it possible on your retirement plan.
You and your spouse will need to sit down and draw up a plan for your mutual retirement goals. Determine which expenses you can do away with in retirement so that you can fulfill other goals. Having these conversations now will help you more effectively plan for the future. And, remember that the time of your retirement is always closer than you think.
Selling a home may seem exceedingly difficult, particularly for a first-time property seller. However, if you receive an offer on your residence that falls just short of your initial expectations, you may be able to negotiate with a homebuyer.
How you handle a negotiation with a homebuyer may dictate how quickly you sell your residence.
If you're unwilling to understand a homebuyer's point of view, you risk missing out on an opportunity to get the best results from your home sale.
On the other hand, if you stay calm throughout a home selling negotiation, you may be better equipped to understand a homebuyer's perspective. This may help you find common ground with a homebuyer and ensure you can speed up the home selling cycle.
What does it take to remain calm during a home selling negotiation? Here are three tips to help home sellers maintain their composure throughout a negotiation.
1. Keep Your Emotions in Check
A home selling negotiation can be stressful. But home sellers who manage to keep their emotions in check can boost their chances of a quick home sale.
If you feel stressed during a home selling negotiation, don't hesitate to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Remember, your ultimate goal is to sell your residence. With the lines of communication open, you and a homebuyer can work together to ensure all parties involved in a negotiation are satisfied with the end results.
2. Look at All of the Options at Your Disposal
If a home selling negotiation goes south, there is no need to panic. Instead, consider all of the options at your disposal, and you'll be able to determine how to proceed from here.
For home sellers, it is essential to note that many homebuyers are on the lookout for high-quality residences in cities and towns around the country. Thus, if a negotiation with a homebuyer fails to work out, you can continue to promote your house on the real estate market.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a must-have for many home sellers, and for good reason. This housing market professional will handle a home selling negotiation and ensure you can seamlessly navigate the entire home selling journey.
Typically, a real estate agent can negotiate with a homebuyer on your behalf. He or she will keep you up to date about any homebuyer requests and offer honest, unbiased home selling suggestions. As a result, you can receive expert home selling guidance and make informed decisions at each stage of a home selling negotiation.
A real estate agent also will respond to your home selling concerns and questions at any time. That way, this housing market professional will make it simple for you to alleviate stress in a high-pressure home selling negotiation.
When it comes to handling a home selling negotiation, there is no need to worry. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble remaining calm, cool and collected during a negotiation with a homebuyer.
For those who want to simplify the homebuying process, crafting a budget is ideal. Because if you tailor your house search to your finances, you can eliminate the risk of spending beyond your means to acquire your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you budget for the homebuying journey.
1. Analyze Your Financial Situation
Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Once you have your credit report, you can assess your credit score and take steps to improve it as needed.
Getting your credit report can help you identify outstanding debt and other financial issues that may make it tough to acquire a house. If you can correct these issues today, you can eliminate the risk that they could impact your ability to buy your dream residence in the near future.
2. Consider Your Homebuying Expenses
The price of a home is one of many financial considerations that a buyer will need to evaluate during the property buying journey. Fortunately, if you map out your homebuying expenses, you can ensure that you'll have the finances available to cover these costs as you pursue your dream home.
For example, a property inspection may be used to assess a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase. This inspection will require you to hire a professional home inspector, so you will need to make sure you have the money available to cover the cost of this homebuying expense.
You should consider home closing costs as well. And if you start saving for home closing fees and other homebuying expenses, you won't have to worry about scrambling to get the money to cover these costs as you navigate the property buying journey.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage is a must, regardless of your homebuying goals. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can analyze your home financing options and select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages and how each type of mortgage works. Plus, if you have any mortgage questions, banks and credit unions are ready to respond to your queries right away.
As you prepare to pursue your dream house, you also may want to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you streamline your search for your ideal residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the top mortgage professionals in your area, help you plan ahead for various homebuying expenses and much more.
If you want to conduct a successful home search, it may be a good idea to prepare a homebuying budget. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can craft a homebuying budget so you can accelerate the process of acquiring your dream house.
If you are ready to move into a luxury home. You'll find options in most locations in any state you desire. Before you choose, especially if you plan on moving to another state, you should first tackle some other questions.
Do you need to keep working to enjoy the lifestyle you have now? If you do, can you find work that will provide you with a similar income? If you own a business, how hard will it be to get that business going in another state? If your business is conducted online only, that is one less thing you will have to worry about — but you do have to find out how businesses are treated in the state you choose to move to. It is not beneficial to run a business in some states because of the extra taxes and regulations that some states have.
Urban, Suburban or Rural
It’s no secret that you can get more house for the money in certain states, and, breaking it down further, more house for the money in certain areas of the state. For example, to get a luxury home with at least five bedrooms near or in a large city, you’re going to have to shell out much more than you would if you picked the same house 100 miles away from the city, as long as the location is not near another large city or a tourist area.
Are you looking for something that doesn’t take a ton of maintenance? You might prefer a luxury home in the city with a small yard. If you like the idea of spreading out, having a large pool, hot tubs, stables, riding trails, ATV trails and other amenities on your property, you’ll have better luck finding that in a rural area.
Commuting and Schools
If you have school-age children, check the rating of the schools. Just because you live in a luxury neighborhood doesn’t mean that the schools for that neighborhood have a good rating. Additionally, you might have to take your children to school if you live too far out for the school bus. And, on the subject of commuting, if you have to work to maintain your lifestyle, you’ll have to commute if you choose a rural luxury home. How long is the commute? Is it something that you can manage or will that commute take too much time away from your family?
Nightlife and Attractions
If you like to go out a lot, living an hour out of town might not be for you, as much as you like a property. If you have to be in the thick of things, you might prefer a luxury neighborhood in an urban or suburban setting. If you want peace and quiet, and prefer connecting with nature, then you might choose a rural luxury home, such as a large ranch or a home with large acreage.