Renting or buying a home is one of the grelatest decisions you will make financially. It is important that you understand the housing options available to you and how to find a home best suited for you.
Before you can take the big leap, you will need to determine whether you are financially ready to purchase a home, which means being qualified for a mortgage loan. If you are planning to rent a home, you must take into account the cost of utilities in addition to your monthly rent.
Once you have established that you are ready to purchase or rent a new home, finding the right one takes time and patience. Additionally, it is important to consider all that comes after renting or buying a home.
For example, what happens if an accident occurs in your home and your personal belongings are severely damaged? You will need to learn how homeowners insurance or renters insurance can protect anything you might be liable for.
There are many factors that play into home buying and renting, which is why utilizing the resources available to you is also important.
Understanding Your Housing Options
Whether you are considering renting or purchasing a home, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option so that you choose which one is right for you. Moving into a new home is an exciting venture, but it can also be stressful.
Along with renting a home comes understanding rental terms. In order to make an informed decision, you must be aware of everything outlined in your leasing or rental agreement.
For example, the length of the agreement, facility fees and whether or not utilities are included in the rent price. Are their pets allowed in the home and does the complex provide maintenance?
Alternatively, if you are buying a home, you will need to understand your financing options and the eligibility requirements for obtaining a mortgage loan.
Note that negotiating the cost of your home is possible whether you are renting or buying a home. If you are not ready to buy a home but the option exists in your future plans, you may consider renting to own.
Regardless of which course is in your best interest, there are numerous housing options available for renting and buying. For a smaller living space with certain amenities, such as a swimming pool or fitness center, an apartment or condominium is ideal.
If you are purchasing a condo, keep in mind that these complexes are typically managed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) or property-management group. This requires paying an additional cost to upkeep the common areas, such as the landscaping and streets surrounding your home.
Additionally, you have the option of purchasing other affordable homes, such as a townhouse, mobile home or a detached home.
How to Find a Place to Live
When it comes time to finding a home, you may be confused as to where to even start. If you are purchasing a home, then your first step will be getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan. This will give you a better idea as to what you can afford.
If you are renting a home, keep in mind that your rent should not exceed 30 percent of your income. Once you establish a budget as to what you can afford, you will be ready to search for a home that falls within your price range.
Nonetheless, there are several factors that play into finding the perfect home. Aside from staying under your budget, you will need to consider the location of the home and whether it fits your lifestyle.
An apartment in the city may be your best option if it is closer to where you work. You may prefer a shorter commute to work or increased access to public transportation.
On the other hand, a residential home may be the best option if you have children and would like to stay within a school’s vicinity. Before picking a suitable home, scope out nearby shopping centers, hospitals and kid-friendly attractions.
Other important factors to consider include the safety of the home’s neighborhood, the security of the home, any damages within the home and the type of amenities offered if the home is an apartment or condo.
Learn About Renter and Homeowners Insurance
There are many factors that play into purchasing or renting a home. Add renters or homeowners insurance to your list to ensure that your home is protected against any future damages or losses that can cause you financial stress.
While it is not required in all places, it is an option that you should highly consider. If you are renting a home, renters insurance will cover your personal belongings in the event of an accident.
Depending on the coverage, your policy may cover anything you are liable for and any medical or living expenses accumulated as a result of the accident. This policy will be dependent on the appraised value of your insured possessions.
Insuring a condo might be slightly different since most homeowners associations have their own insurance coverages. It is important to know what this master policy covers and does not cover so your belonging are adequately protected.
If you are insuring a detached house, you will need to obtain homeowners insurance. Keep in mind that this option is only best suited for you if you live in the home. If the home is not your primary residence and you rent it out to a tenant, then a claim may not be covered under this insurance policy.
Additionally, you may come to realize that most mortgage lenders require that you obtain homeowners insurance in order to obtain a home loan. The level of coverage depends on the value of the house, any risk factors involved and what you would ultimately like to be covered. Generally, however, homeowner insurance policies cover any damages to the property.
Learn About Enhancing Your Living Space
Once you finally move into your new living space, you may want to make it feel more like home. This may include cleaning and organizing your home, decorating your home or executing easy renovation projects.
Contrary to popular belief, renovating your home does not have to be expensive. In fact, you can do many of these projects yourself. You can revamp your home with a fresh coat of paint or install upgraded features, such as a new sink or ceiling light.
If you are looking to complete a large home makeover, you can avoid overspending by budgeting properly and keeping track of renovation expenses.
Perhaps your home does not require a makeover or renovation. If you are renting your home, then it may not even be an option. Simple touches and small embellishments can go a long way in enhancing the space and making it your own. You can hang up photo frames or buy new furniture to fill up your space to make it feel cozy.
Learn About Resources for Renters and Prospective Homeowners
There is a lot that goes into the world of real estate that you may oversee whether you are purchasing or renting a home. If you are a first-time renter, it is important that you are aware of some of the risks, terms and responsibilities that come with renting an apartment.
For example, not completely understanding the terms of a lease can lead to unexpected expenses later on. It is also important that you understand your landlord’s responsibilities.
For instance, he or she cannot modify the terms of a lease once it has been signed or until the lease has ended. While there are plenty of mistakes that you can make as a first-time renter, there are numerous ways you can avoid them. The same notion applies for if you are homebuyer purchasing a new home.
Fortunately, there are many resources that can help guide you throughout the buying or renting process. The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is just one of them. Other programs, such as the Good Neighbor Next Door program, can assist you financially in purchasing a home.