REAL ESTATE: Why own my home?
By Phoebe Chongchua
A soft real estate market that is ripe with all the conditions that should entice people to purchase a home still has some renters asking, “Why own my own home?”
Low interest rates, lower home prices and an improving job market still have some buyers sitting on the fence fearful of an uncertain real estate market. Real estate agents and even sellers are finding that prospective buyers (current renters) may need a little more “emotional” attention in these market conditions. They may need a little more explanation to ensure that they understand the benefits of purchasing your home rather than renting another.
While deciding to own a home or rent one is very personal, many tend to let fear of the unknown be the driving force in making their decision and that can later create an unhappy decision.
Here are five top reasons to at least consider owning your own home.
No more landlords: This may be a highly influential factor depending on a potential buyer's experiences. Many renters have poured a ton of money into a home that they’re living in to keep it at the standard of living they enjoy, only to find that their landlord is soon planning to sell the home. Their hard-earned cash and money invested into their rented home will then only benefit the seller.
Making a home your style: This is much more difficult to do in a rental. Yes, as I just mentioned, you can make some modifications, but many things that can be done to a home you own can’t be done to one you’re renting. Taking into consideration Homeowner's Associations or planned community development restrictions, owning still provides more control and flexibility over renting.
Weighing the costs of homeownership: Of course, with homeownership you won’t be calling the landlord to come fix your toilet or dishwasher. So, having a financial reserve is important to carry you through the months when you run into unexpected troubles. Websites such as GinnieMae.gov offer price charts that help you compare how much you’ll save by buying or renting. It's a helpful tool that allows you to analyze factors such as how much tax savings you’re likely to receive, how much possibly equity you’ll gain, and how much you’re rent may increase.
Long-term plans tilt the scale toward owning: In a recent Tampa Bay article, Walter Molony of the National Association of Realtors said, “For people with long-term plans, the rent vs. buy equation is tilting heavily toward buying because housing affordability is at record highs dating back to 1970,” he explains. “Homes are undervalued in many areasâ€”selling for less than the cost of replacement constructionâ€”and rents are rising at a faster pace. Many people are considering ownership now as a hedge against inflation.”
Low interest rates and affordable homes will not last forever: If you’re not ready to buy or simply can’t afford to own a home, even the historically low interest rates and exceedingly affordable, home prices might not move you to take the leap into homeownership. However, understanding that these conditions won’t last forever is important. Sometimes when conditions persist, we tend to think they’ll always be this way.
Distressed sales will begin falling in 2013 and that would then cause home prices to creep upward, predicts Moody's Analytics. With little activity on the homebuilding front, and still a heavy supply, it's not expected to increase much more. Also, the number of new households each year is rising, which is expected to help alleviate the oversupply in the coming years.
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