Rent vs Buy

Buying a Home Remains 35% Less Expensive than Renting! | Keeping Current Matters

Here is a great article from the Keeping Current in Real Estate Blog.

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% in Honolulu (HI), all the way to 55% in Sarasota (FL), and 35% Nationwide!

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation. “In the past year, these two trends have made homeownership even more affordable compared with renting.”
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.  

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

Do You Really Think Your Landlord Pays for Repairs?

A recent article that appeared on addressed the issue of whether it is best to buy or rent in today’s real estate environment. The article was very fair in discussing both options.

“For some people, the choice is very clear: Buying a home can be more costly, given the cost of the purchase itself, plus taxes and insurance, plus maintenance and repairs.”

This argument is often made in defense of renting. However, we don’t believe it makes logical sense. They claim that, as a renter, you won’t have the expenses of “taxes and insurance, plus maintenance and repairs”. Do they really believe that the landlord pays all those expenses for their tenants?

The vast majority of landlords own rentable real estate as a form of investment. As any other investor would, they expect to make a return on that investment (ROI) – otherwise known as profit. In order to make a profit, the landlord needs to include EVERY expense they incur into the rent…AND THEN ADD A PROFIT MARGIN!!

We think it is incorrect to advise a prospective renter that they won’t have the same expenses that a homeowner would have. They just pay those expenses to a landlord with a “premium” built in.

10 Quirky Ways To Save For Your Down Payment

Okay, you have decided to buy a home, now what?  The first thing you will need is your down payment and has some fun and easy ways to do just that.

  1.  The $5.00 Bill Savings Plan:  Ever time you receive a $5.00 bill, as change, a gift or you find the bill on the street, SAVE IT.
  2. Keep the Change: There are several ways that some banks offer to do this.  As an example, Bank of America debit card holders can sign up for a program that rounds the purchase price up to the next whole dollar and puts the change in a linked savings account.
  3. Open a Savings Account:  Salary bonuses, tax refunds, and raises go right into your savings account.
  4. Automatic Transfers:  You’re trying to save money here.  Let your bank know that every month you want a specific amount transferred from your checking to your savings.
  5. Keep your Old Car:  Calculate what your new car payment would have been and put that amount in your savings account every month.
  6. See it and Believe It:  Paste a picture of your dream home on the frig and wrap that picture around your most used credit card.  Look at that picture when you grab that card to spend some money. Continue reading

3 Reasons Why The Housing Market Is Still Looking Up in 2015

With rents continuing to rise, and they are now at a seven year high, it makes sense to buy a home.  This year both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created programs that would allow first time home buyers to purchase with only 3 per cent down!   As interest rates are  historically low, and home values continue to moderately increase, it is a great time to buy!

Unemployment has significantly dropped, and the job market is robust.  As the economy continues to grow stronger, confidence in the potential home buyer grows.   There is  broader optimism to take the plunge and buy a home.

Home prices continue to rise nationally, indicating that the bad times are behind us!  With home prices stabilizing , interest rates continuing to stay low, and  housing affordability continuing, home ownership becomes a goal that many now want to obtain.

What Makes a Great Neighborhood?

There are good neighborhoods and there are great neighborhoods in the eyes of potential buyers.  But there are common traits that buyers look for in a neighborhood and one is a high Walk Score.

1.  Walk Score

Walk Score measures the walkability of any address using a patented system. For each address, Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities.

Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density.

Walk Score® Description
90–100 Walker’s Paradise
Daily errands do not require a car.
70–89 Very Walkable
Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
50–69 Somewhat Walkable
Some errands can be accomplished on foot.
25–49 Car-Dependent
Most errands require a car.
0–24 Car-Dependent
Almost all errands require a car.

If you would like to check out a neighborhood walk score, see  Crime, Walk Scores, and Schools.

What Does It Really Mean To Be “Represented” By A REALTOR®?

1.) Being Understood

Being Understood By Your Realtor or Real Estate AgentBeing “represented” by a REALTOR® means that you have an advocate who is putting themselves in your shoes. They will listen intently to you. They want as much information about your situation as possible so that they can best help you. They will do everything they can to earn your respect so that you will use them again in the future. Understanding our clients needs and wants is essential for success in this business.

We work hard to understand you and your needs. Each of my home buying and selling clients are different. Some may want to list their house for sale and need advice on staging and adding upgrades to get the best value. Others may be relocating due to military orders and need to find a house in the next 7 days. Everyone’s situation is different. They all require special attention to make sure that their needs are met and their expectations are exceeded. If your REALTOR® truly understands you and your situation, you are in good hands! Continue reading

As a Buyer, You Will Soon Have The Responsibilities of Homeownership

The American dream of owning a home is something everyone should have if they want it. You should be able to live where you want and enjoy the features of your environment that help you relax, entertain, play, and do more of the things you enjoy without the restrictions imposed by a landlord.

You can own a pet, build a tree house, paint the walls your favorite color, and play music and videos as loud as you like without disturbing your neighbors. That’s the essence of the dream — independence.

For most first-time buyers, it’s better to accept that for dreams to come true, you have to do the groundwork. Yes, you will be far more independent than you would as a renter, but you will still have some very real responsibilities to make home ownership work. Here are the top three responsibilities you’ll have as a homeowner.

Financial responsibilities

You owe your lender timely payments. Paying on time helps you build your credit. With great credit, you can take on more projects such as remodeling, or you’ll be able to buy furniture, cars or other things you want with lower interest on your payments.

Your debts should never be more than 40 percent of your income. If you get overextended, you’ll have problems meeting the minimum payments. Instead, limit the amount of credit you actively use and pay off balances every month. Don’t add new charges until you’ve paid off your balances.

You should also be in a position to save money, which you can do several ways. You can put money in your 401K, you can pay extra on your principal every month, or you can buy bonds or invest in the stock market, according to your tolerance for risk. You can put money in a safety deposit box or under the mattress as long as you are saving rather than overspending.

Common wisdom is to build six months of cash so you can continue to make your house payments if you lose your job or become ill. You need savings for emergencies, large expenses such as student debt, and retirement.

Neighborhood responsibilities

When you buy a home, your household becomes part of the neighborhood. You can influence whether or not the neighborhood prospers or declines simply by the way you treat your neighbors and your home. It’s up to you to uphold or to set a higher standard for the neighborhood by keeping your lawn and trees trimmed, your home freshly painted, and toys and trash picked up from the entry.

This is the way you can protect your investment and those of your neighbors. It’s one of the reasons many neighborhoods have homeowners associations — to protect values by standardizing safety and maintenance for the community.

To get the benefits the HOA provides such as higher and consistent home values, you have to pay your dues and obey the covenants. You can volunteer to help or you’ll have to abide by the decisions others make. Before you buy a home in a HOA-managed community, read the covenants so you’ll know what you’re getting into. If not being able to use certain exterior paint colors bothers you, then don’t buy the home. Find something else.

Household responsibilities

You owe yourself and the other members of your household the best life you can possibly provide. Buying a new home is a great time to step up your lifestyle and enjoy what your new home and the community has to offer.

Your home should help you be who you want to be. That’s the purpose of shaping your environment. You have control over whether you entertain like Martha Stewart, paint in your studio like the next Picasso, or grow a lawn as sleek as the Augusta fairways.

Choose a home that meets as many needs as you can within your means. Separate bedrooms for the kids may be doable, but you may have to compromise on a Jack and Jill shared bath. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your older children about prioritizing, delayed gratification, give and take and winning and losing gracefully.

Make sure the area you select offers amenities that your building doesn’t have. If you don’t have a yard for the kids and the dog, make sure there’s a park and playground nearby.

Think about how far and how long it will take you to get to shopping, work, and other friends and family. Think about how a long commute will affect your family. Would you rather be sitting in traffic or attending your son’s ball game?

You and your spouse may want the prestige of living in a certain area, but if your house-payment is too high, you’ll introduce problems into the relationship you don’t need. It’s about making choices that make sense. Better to buy a smaller home in a great neighborhood and keep the arguing down.

Buy the best home you can that’s within your means and it will see you through years of comfort

  Article by Blanche Evans for Realty Times 
  • Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.

8 Tips for First-time Home Buyers

first-time-home-buyers1.  Get pre-approved: Before you jump on the web or jump in your car to look at houses, have a talk with a lender or 2, remember, you are “shopping” for the best home loan you can get!  Find out how much house you can afford and what your interest rate will be.  Check out what your monthly payment will be at different interest rates and different down payments.  You want to be pre-approved and ready to buy the home of your dreams when you see it!

2.  Now that you know what you can afford, know what you want.  The home buying process can be stressful.  If you know what you want in a house and what you are willing to compromise on, the home buying experience will be far easier.

3.  Start researching:  Drive around, hit some Open Houses, go online, check out crime, walk scores and schools and narrow your search to 3 or 4 neighborhoods that you want to live in.

4.  Have a timeline: If you need to clean up your credit first, factor that in.  Plan to buy a house in 3 months or 6 months or whenever it is best based on your situation, and then set and stick to your timeline. Continue reading

5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score


Credit Scores range from 300 to 850.  A credit score of 760 or more is considered an excellent credit score.

Although you may be able to get a home loan with a credit score of less that 760, to get the best interest rate on your loan, you will need a credit score of 760 or more.

Here are 5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

1.  Get a copy of your credit report and dispute any errors you find.

2.  Negotiate with a creditor that is reporting negative information about you.  Write a letter and find out what you can do to erase that negative information.

3.  Don’t  max out your credit cards.  If you have, start paying those balances down.  You should not have used more than 30% of your available credit at anytime and using only 10% is best.  This applies even if you are paying the balance of monthly.  30% of your credit score rating is based on debt owed.   Continue reading