Buying versus renting is an age old debate. Proponents on both sides of the spectrum will argue till their blue in the face (and you’re red in the face!) to convince you. But right or wrong, this is an issue that everyone needs to face at some point in their lives.
So what’s at stake and what should you be looking for as a homeowner/potential homeowner/perpetual renter? Here are some tips to help make your decision a little easier (though also harder):
1) If there are savings to be had from buying, they’re shrinking. Over seven years it’s about 6% more expensive to buy than it was last year.
2) Buying means broker’s commissions, legal fees, closing costs, etc. Renting usually involves insurance and agent commissions.
3) Buying usually means staying put for a while, though that’s mainly true in more rural areas than high traffic areas like New York.
4) Mortgage rates are pretty good right now so buying seems promising, though that could change in the coming years.
5) Rising home prices can mean a nice payoff for buying . . . or encourage renting if you’re pushing off your purchase right now.
These tips are just the “tip” of the iceberg when it comes to this debate. In the end you need to be happy where you are and let the money come in second. So find your slice of happiness and make it your own . . . at least for now.
One important thing you’ve got to consider when showing a house to a prospective investor (or when you are the investor) is maintenance. Even if you’re getting a “bargain” you might owe more in the end. So here are some good ideas for you to keep in mind.
1) You don’t need to sacrifice design to keep costs down. You might think you can’t get a natural wood or stone look if you want something durable. But these days there are plenty of man-made options that look great and won’t break the bank.
2) Cement siding is great. Paint jobs last far longer on these surfaces and they look amazing.
3) Plastic trim is the next big thing. Don’t worry about durability – pound for pound this stuff can outlast even the toughest wood.
4) Quartz countertops instead of granite. They come in more shades, clean easily, and seal great.
These kinds of small adjustments when renovating can save thousands of dollars over the course of the year. I’ll keep looking out for great tips like these for you to share.
Send me your tips so we can all work better.
If you aren’t a millionaire (yet) but you’d like to at least live near some, I’m happy to tell you that there’s a thoroughly useless report that may help you. It’s the “Where do all the millionaires live?” report. So if you want to pick up stake and get close to money, here’s the list for you.
Some of the top ones are Maryland with 7.7% millionaires. I’m assuming that’s from all the politicians and lobbyists. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Another top spot is New Hampshire at 6.48% of the general population. With all those sprawling estates in the mountains it might be hard to get anywhere near them.
Moving out West we’ve got California with 6.04%. It’s a large state so I think you’ll find the concentration higher in one really specific spot, if you catch my drift.
Gracing the North you can see 5.74% in Washington and 5.56% in Minnesota. I guess they can afford to stay out of the cold.
Here’s where I think you can learn a good lesson. No one thinks living “close” to a millionaire does any good. Quite the opposite. You need to look for opportunity wherever you can, on fresh ground. Look around you can you’ll see it. Don’t go chasing the people who have money – chase the money!
If you want to know where the money goes in this kind of real estate market, you need to look in two places: the best and the worst. It’s that simple … and that complicated.
Basically, you can find great deals in a sure market. Find the most popular areas and make a sure fire offer. The hottest neighborhoods in terms of popularity were just released so you’ll know where to start looking. Cities like San Francisco, Phoenix, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Seattle all show signs of being very promising.
Or you can find the cities with the worst luck. You’ll also find deals there too. You might have trouble of a different kind than in the popular places but the payout can be huge.
Really it’s a question of your perspective. Glass half full or glass half empty? Do you see challenges or do you see opportunities? Look around you and try to figure out what it is you see. And how you see it. I never stop looking at what I’m doing. Wherever I am I’m always trying to spot the best deal, find the best future for investors and homeowners, and do my part to pull this economy up.
I trust you can do the same too.