Tuesday, July 22, 2014

You Can Still Rent - Here's How


According to the 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey eight in ten Americans no matter what age or education level believe that buying a home is a good financial decision and more than two-thirds or 68% believe now is a good time to buy a home. Fifty-one percent of renters say that owning a home is one of their highest personal goals. Many believe that housing prices in their neighborhood are more expensive than there were a year ago.

Several issues prevent Americans from becoming homeowners such as:   bad credit, little to no savings, student loan debt, other debt, low earnings, illness or experiencing a financial crisis. There are advantages to renting such as:  

  1. No costs associated with maintenance
  2. Easier to maintain
  3. Reduced financial responsibility
  4. Increases your credit score
  5. Proves that your are a responsible spender

There are disadvantages to renting such as:

  1. No tax benefits
  2. No equity
  3. No control over rental increases
  4. No control over who owns the building or property

If you are considering renting or moving to a new rental consider these 10 tips to help make the process easier.

  1. Review. Review your credit report and credit score before signing a lease. If you have bad credit you may have to put down a larger security deposit or other upfront fees.
  2. Energy Costs. Energy costs are higher when renting a home especially for older, concrete or brick homes where air escapes easier.
  3. Insure. You should obtain renter’s insurance to ensure all of your items are protected. Your premium may be a little higher if renting a home but you should be able to get a policy for less than $500 a year. Try to purchase a policy from the same company as your car insurance policy.
  4. Fees. You may have to pay additional fees if renting a home that is part of a homeowner’s association such as: parking spaces or storage, snow removal, garbage collection, and pets.
  5. Don’t assume. Don’t assume the landlord will pay for utilities or whenever something is broken. Ensure the details of who is responsible for what are identified in the lease.
  6. Ask. Ask the landlord to provide any verbal agreements in writing.
  7. Privacy. Ask about privacy rights.
  8. Safety. Use police department search tools to verify if the neighborhood is safe.
  9. Budget. Create a housing budget to cover additional expenses such as: security alarm, utility costs, possible repair costs, additional fees, etc.
  10. Furnish. Don’t go overboard or furnishings. Look for bargains to furnish your rental.

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