According to a recent report by Trulia, “buying is cheaper than renting in 100 of the largest metro areas by an average of 37.7%.” That may have some thinking about buying a home instead of signing another lease extension, but does that make sense from a financial perspective?
In the report, Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s Chief Economist explains:
“Owning a home is one of the most common ways households build long-term wealth, as it acts like a forced savings account. Instead of paying your landlord, you can pay yourself in the long run through paying down a mortgage on a house.”
The report listed five reasons why owning a home makes financial sense:
Mortgage payments can be fixed while rents go up.
Equity in your home can be a financial resource later.
You can build wealth without paying capital gains.
A mortgage can act as a forced savings account.
Overall, homeowners can enjoy greater wealth growth than renters.
Before you sign another lease, let’s get together and discuss all your options.
As a homeowner, you should begin every season with some preventative home maintenance measures. Here are some interesting tips we recently came across courtesy of realestatebook.com:
Let’s start with winter, since that’s the season we recently entered, and some easy indoor tips. Check grout and drains in the bathroom, and repair as needed. Grease noisy door hinges and sticking locks, and travel down to the basement for cleaning and an overall inspection. Finally, reinforce leaky seals around doors and windows.
When spring arrives, check your home’s exterior for holes in brick, cracks in siding or other damage, and inspect the foundation for cracks. Silicone caulking can repair many minor issues. Also, inspect your roof and while you’re up there, clean out the gutters. Have your air conditioning unit services so it’s ready for summer.
In the summer months, stay on top of pest control and inspect the deck and/or patio. Check your exterior vents and clear them out if needed. Also, look for plumbing issues such as leaky pipes or poor water pressure.
And finally, during the fall season, keep up with leaf raking to avoid killing your grass, and have your furnace serviced for winter. Cover your A/C unit to protect it from the elements, and have your chimney cleaned if you have a fireplace.
These are just some basic tips to get you started. Feel free to add on depending on your overall comfort level with maintenance projects.
The answer is assessment, examine solutions, declutter and have a written plan. Can you guess the question?
In reality, it’s a question that all of us will one day ponder: When does life require a move to a smaller, safer living space?
Whether that question is being asked by you or a loved one, at some point we all have to stop and look at our long-term comfort and safety and figure out if it’s time to right-size our home. While some people may look forward to the concept of downsizing as they age, others find it extremely difficult to give up the old homestead. Following are four areas to consider in the decision-making process:
• Assessment: Take an honest look at your home and how much of it you actually use. Are you living in a six-room house but only use the kitchen, living room and bedroom on a regular basis? Are the stairs becoming difficult to navigate? Is your home somewhat isolated from family and friends? Assess your living situation honestly by recording your daily activities over an extended period of time. The results may surprise you!
• Examine solutions: If remaining in your home is no longer the best choice, what are your alternatives? There are many options such as a retirement community, condo, apartment or just a smaller house. At this point, it’s crucial to consider your finances and think long term.
• Declutter: Removing possessions that you no longer use can make any home feel free of obstructions and easier to manage on a daily basis. Go through a different room each week and decide if there’s anything that can be sold, donated or disposed of.
• Written plan: Keep a notebook and have a written action plan that helps serve as a timeline for your future. Set some simple goals, such as clean out the garage, interview Realtors or visit apartments. Writing things down can help ease fears and create energy.
By following these four steps, you can take a lot of the stress out of downsizing!