Thomas Beauchemin'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.
Although buying a home should be a fast, seamless process, negotiations with a home seller sometimes can slow down the homebuying journey.
Let's face it – no one wants to deal with long, arduous negotiations, particularly when they are close to acquiring their dream residence. However, homebuyers who prepare for the worst may be better equipped than others to avoid a complicated homebuying negotiation.
What does it take to prepare for a difficult homebuying negotiation? Here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Understand the Housing Market
If you submit a competitive offer on a residence from the get-go, you may be able to avoid a difficult homebuying negotiation altogether.
Ultimately, a homebuyer who allocates the necessary time and resources to learn about the real estate market will understand how one residence stacks up against another. Then, he or she can submit a home offer that matches or exceeds a home seller's expectations, thereby reducing the risk of an extensive homebuying negotiation.
2. Analyze Your Homebuying Goals
A homebuyer who analyzes his or her homebuying goals can map out his or her property buying journey. That way, this homebuyer can assess homes that fit within his or her price range and minimize the chance of a complex homebuying negotiation.
Furthermore, if a homebuyer sets realistic expectations for a home search, he or she may be able to make informed decisions throughout a negotiation with a home seller.
A homebuyer who knows how much he or she can afford to pay for a house will be able to submit a home offer that corresponds with his or her budget. And if a home seller asks for more money, a homebuyer should feel comfortable walking away from a negotiation.
Remember, it is paramount for a negotiation to fulfill the needs of both property buyer and seller. If the negotiation favors a home seller, a homebuyer should be prepared to restart his or her home search.
3. Keep Your Emotions in Check
It is easy for a homebuying negotiation to escalate quickly. But a property buyer who understands how to control his or her emotions can take a step back during a stressful homebuying negotiation and plan his or her next move accordingly.
Stress sometimes can get the best of a homebuyer, especially if a property buyer wants to do everything possible to secure a great home as quickly as possible. If a homebuyer plans for stressful situations now, he or she may be able to reduce his or her stress levels when a homebuying negotiation begins.
Don't be afraid to take time to relax during a homebuying negotiation. Going for a walk outdoors or hanging out with family members and friends may provide a stress-relieving break from a homebuying negotiation.
Or, if a homebuyer wants extra help, hiring a real estate agent is ideal. This housing market professional understands the challenges of homebuying negotiations and will help a homebuyer alleviate stress time and time again.
Ready to acquire your ideal residence? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can get ready for a difficult homebuying negotiation.
If you plan to submit an offer to purchase a home, there is no need to leave anything to chance. And in most instances, it is a good idea to put your best foot forward with your offer to purchase. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a seller and moving one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
1. Study the Housing Market
The current state of the housing market may impact the definition of a competitive offer to purchase. For instance, if the housing market favors buyers, you may face limited competition to acquire your ideal residence and can craft your offer to purchase accordingly. On the other hand, if the housing market favors sellers, you may need to submit an offer to purchase at or above a seller's initial asking price to secure your dream home.
Take a close look at the housing market and analyze market data. Then, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and determine how much to offer for a house.
2. Weigh a House's Pros and Cons
A home has its strengths and weaknesses, and as a property buyer, you should dedicate time and resources to learn about all aspects of a residence. By doing so, you can determine whether a residence is right for you and submit an offer to purchase based on a house's age and condition.
Consider any home repairs that may need to be completed as well. If you understand the costs of potential home improvements, you can craft an offer to purchase that accounts for these tasks.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Submitting a competitive offer to purchase sometimes can be difficult for experienced and first-time homebuyers alike. Fortunately, if you work with a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to create an aggressive offer to purchase.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of buying a house and can offer expert insights into the property buying journey. He or she will teach you about the real estate market and respond to your homebuying concerns or questions. In addition, a real estate agent will help you find your dream home, set up house showings and keep you informed about residences that become available and fit your homebuying criteria.
Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide in-depth housing market data and insights. He or she ultimately can help you take the guesswork out of crafting a competitive homebuying proposal. And as a result, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure your offer to purchase matches a seller's expectations.
Ready to submit an offer to purchase your dream residence? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your chances of acquiring your ideal residence in the foreseeable future.
Having a high credit score is one of the most important and helpful things you can achieve before buying a home. A solid credit history will give you a better chance of being approved for the home loan you want and getting a lower interest rate so that you know you’re getting a good deal on your first home.
But, as any renter can tell you, it can sometimes be difficult to lift your credit score when you’ve got so many other things to worry about.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover the best ways to build credit while renting an apartment so you can lift your score to an amount that will help you achieve your goal of homeownership.
1. Take over the bills
If you live with roommates or with your family, one good way to start building your credit score is to simply put more bills in your name.
If you’re certain that you’ll be able to make on-time payments on them each month, this can be a way to boost your score without much thought.
Keep in mind, however, that not all utility companies report your payments to credit bureaus, so it’s a good idea to check that yours does before putting the bills in your name.
2. Become an authorized user
If taking out new credit isn’t an option for you, becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit account can help you increase your score.
Be sure to find out whether the credit issuer reports payments for authorized users before taking this step. And, once you’re sure that they do, you can be added to the account without changing anything about your spending.
3. Convince your landlord to report your rental payments
In most cases, rental payments aren’t reported to the credit bureaus. However, it is becoming more common. Check to see if your landlord uses a service like PayYourRent or RentTrack. If not, consider asking them to try it out.
4. Solving the “no credit” problem
Since we all start off with a blank slate in terms of credit history, some renters have the issues of not having enough credit information to start building their score.
If this is the case, it might be a good idea to open your first credit account. But, wait! Before you start racking up debt on your first credit card, take a minute to make a wise plan.
First, don’t change your spending habits just because you have credit. Pick a card that offers rewards in the form of cash back, and only use your card for things like gas and groceries that will help you earn points.
Then, set your card to auto-pay in full each month so that you never start accruing interest. This way, you’ll build your credit score and earn money (in the form of rewards or cash back), making it a win-win.
Buying a new home can be an exciting but anxiety-inducing experience. With so many things to consider, it can be difficult to keep track of the things that matter most to you.
This process is complicated further when you discover a second or third home that you like as much as the first and you’re trying to decide which one to make an offer on.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how you can effectively compare houses to ensure that you’re making the most sensible, long-term decision for you and your family.
It’s all about the spreadsheet
Today, our method isn’t going to rely on any fancy new apps or paid tools. Everything you need to accomplish your spreadsheet is a tool like Google Sheets (it’s like a free version of Excel) or a simple pencil and notebook.
The columns of your spreadsheet will be made up of the factors that will influence your decision. This will include the obvious details like the cost and square footage of the home, but also finer details like its proximity to key places in your life.
The rows of your spreadsheet will be the properties you’re comparing. Now, it may be tempting to start listing every house on your radar in the columns of your spreadsheet. However, I think it’s more time-effective to only include the homes that you’re likely to make an offer on. This means doing some hard thinking and having a conversation with your family about your realistic goals for buying a home.
What is most important to you in a home and neighborhood?
Let’s turn our attention back to the top row of your spreadsheet. We want to fill that section with around 10 factors that are most important to you in a home and the location the home will be in.
In this section, you can include the estimated cost of the home and the estimated monthly expenses for owning that home (utilities, taxes, etc.).
Here’s the secret weapon of our spreadsheet, however. Rather than listing the actual cost of the home in this row, we’re going to give it a rank of 1 to 5. A score of 1 means the house is a lot more expensive than you want. A score of 5 means the house is the ideal cost. A 3 would be somewhere in the middle.
We’re going to use this 1 to 5 ranking system for all other factors on our spreadsheet as well.
Next to these costs, you’ll want to add other important factors to your home buying decision. Does it have the number of rooms you’re looking for? If a backyard is important to you, does it provide for that need?
In terms of upgrades, how much work will you have to do on the home to make it something you’re satisfied with? For DIY-minded people with time to spare, home improvement might be a welcome concept. For others, it simply would take too much time to accomplish everything you want. So, when you fill out the “Upgrades” column of your spreadsheet, make sure you determine a system for ranking the homes that suits your needs.
House location shouldn’t be overlooked
It’s a sad truth, but in today’s busy world, the average homeowner spends most of their time away from home, whether they’re at work, commuting, or bring their kids to and from after school activities.
You’ll want at least one column on your spreadsheet to be devoted to location. When ranking the location of a home, consider things like commuting time, distance to schools, hospitals, parks, and grocery stores. All of these things will have a larger impact on your day-to-day life than small details of the house itself.
Ranking the homes
Now that you have the first row and column of your spreadsheet built, it’s time to fill in the details and tally up the totals. These numbers will help inform your decision as to which house is really right for you.