Here are some questions that an experienced Realtor will be able to help you answer in order to find out if it’s time for you to finally buy or rent a home.
- Do you have the credit to qualify for a mortgage?
- Do you have enough saved up for a down payment?
- Do you see yourself living in the same place for up to 3–5 years?
- Are you responsible enough to be your own landlord/lady (i.e. if the toilet stops working you know what to do/who to call)?
If you were able to answer yes to all four, you and your wallet are in the best position to buy a home versus rent an apartment. However if you answered no or “I don’t know” to any of the above questions…renting might still be your best option (for now).
If you don’t know if your credit score and finances are adequate to qualify for a loan or not, you’re not alone. Many people are unaware of this information and for that reason, a mortgage professional exists to help advise first time homebuyers on what kinds of loans they can qualify for and if it is a smart decision to buy or continue to rent.
Knowing the down payment on a mortgage can vary massively, and no one can definitely answer this question until they get pre qualified. Take note that good lenders are also good credit consultants and can prescribe a strategy to implement in order to qualify for the ideal loan in the future.
It is also important to take into account closing costs, i.e. costs incurred including appraisal fees, title insurance, taxes and credit report charges. These costs oftentimes go unnoticed as they are separate from the price of the property and could create good reason to continue to rent depending on your financial circumstance.
The last thing to consider is the yearly cost of maintaining a home (often estimated as 1% of the purchase price of the home). These costs range, but some of the costs that fall under this list are property tax, landscaping, new kitchen appliances and insurance. Seek out the advice of a realtor to get an idea of the average cost of maintaining a home over time compared to leasing and having the landlord pay for maintenance and do the dirty work for you.
While finances are a major factor in the buy vs. rent debate, answering the questions “where will I be in 5 years” will also help determine if “now” is the right time to invest in a home. Take note that if you’re financially ready and you see yourself in one place in the first 5 years that continuing to rent could technically be equivalent to putting a big fat hole in your wallet. Why? Because when you pay rent you are giving all the money to someone else (the landlord/lady) whereas when you buy a home, that home is yours and owning is worth something!
You also need to ask yourself the more personal question as to whether you are responsibly fit to take on the commitment of buying a home or not. Gone are the days of calling the landlord when the neighbors just can’t seem to go to bed before 4am. And you know all that snow outside? Unless you called someone to do it for you, it’s now your responsibility to put on the boots and hat and “get out there.”
The debate whether you should buy or rent a home is a question almost everyone asks themselves at least one time in their adult life. While the above questions should help clarify what decision is best for you at this time in your life, acknowledge that there are professionals out there who are more than qualified to help you find clarity.
Still wondering if you should buy or rent? Start today by contacting me — I can help!