So, When Should You Buy? Leaving The Rent Race Behind

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After the Great Recession burned a hole in many homeowners' pockets, home ownership itself came under scrutiny. Renting suddenly wasn't such a bad thing, and in fact it was seen as prudent for those unsure if they could handle all the costs of actual home ownership. However, home ownership is still right for many people, and you may be one of these lucky souls. Owning a home might not be easy, but it can be very rewarding if you're sure you're ready to make the leap.

Steadier Payments (for the Most Part)

Goodbye rent increases and nickel-and-diming for additional utilities and fees. When you own your own property, even if you have a mortgage, HOA fees, and more, you have better control over the costs. By carefully selecting the type of mortgage rate you have (try to avoid the variable rates unless you're in a really good financial position), you can stop the constant chipping away at your budget that you saw with continued rent increases. Property taxes can be a wild card, but unless you're buying in an area that is gentrifying, the increases in property taxes should be ones you can handle.

Your Equity Builds

When you rent, your rent goes to pay for a lot of services like landscaping and maintenance. When you buy, your mortgage payment becomes equity that builds. Your net worth goes up, your ability to borrow money in an emergency goes up, and your estate value increases.

Tax Benefits

You get a whole slew of tax benefits if you buy property, from deducting interest costs to taking homestead exemptions that help defray the cost of property tax. If you rent, all you might get are a couple of renter's credits here and there, depending on which state you live in.

Neighborhood Respect

It's a sad fact that renters aren't seen in as good a light as buyers/owners. Certainly there are excellent neighbors who are renters, but many people are wary of renters because of the transient nature of that life. You could move out at any time, and you might not care for the neighborhood as much as owners. Even if this doesn't describe you and you tried to be the best neighbor possible as a renter, you may get more respect as an owner.

Take a look at the properties for sale in your area -- a good real estate agent like The Grove Team is a big help here -- and see what the surrounding areas are like, how prices are forecast to change, and how stable the neighborhoods have been. If you're ready to buy property, there's a home waiting for you out there that is perfect.