Should You Rent or Buy Your Next Home?
Deciding whether to rent or buy a home is an important decision. Which option is best depends on several factors.
- Can you afford all the costs associated with home ownership?
- How long do you plan to live in the home?
- What are your long-term goals?
Deciding whether to rent or buy a home is a personal choice that requires you to think carefully about the pros and cons. Both renting and buying have their own advantages.
Advantages of Renting
Here are several benefits of renting a home instead of buying.
When you rent, it’s relatively easy to leave your home if you need to. There’s no need to hunt for a real estate agent or stage the house for sale. All you need to do is pack your belongings and move. If you don’t plan to stay in an area long-term, renting is a better choice than buying.
Lower Upfront Costs
The upfront costs of renting a home are often significantly lower than the costs of buying. While renters usually need to pay a security deposit of one to two months’ rent, buyers must shell out a sizeable down payment for a home. The typical down payment is about 20% of a home’s value. If you don’t have enough savings for a down payment, you’re probably better off choosing to rent.
When you rent a home, your landlord is the one responsible for any repairs or maintenance needed. If an appliance breaks down or the plumbing backs up, all you need to do is call your landlord and they will send out a local contractor. If you own your home, you’ll be the one to spend time and money on repairs. It’s important to factor the costs of repairs into your budget.
Property values and the housing market have a big impact on homeowners. A home’s value affects a homeowner’s mortgage payment, their property taxes, and their net worth. If the housing market goes down, it does not have an adverse effect on those who rent.
Fixed Rent Payment
While a landlord may increase rent at the end of a lease term, as long as proper notice is given, rent payments are fixed for the term of the lease. In contrast, a mortgage payment can increase if property taxes rise or if the mortgage has an adjustable interest rate. Renting makes budgeting easier, since the amount of rent you’ll pay does not change during the lease term.
Advantages of Buying
Home ownership offers a number of benefits. The advantages of owning a home include:
Build Home Equity
When you buy a home instead of rent, you’re building equity with every mortgage payment. Equity is the difference between the amount of your mortgage and the value of your home. When you’ve build equity for several years, you may be able to qualify for a home equity line of credit or a home equity loan. Home equity loans and lines of credit usually have lower interest than other personal loans.
Most homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest on their tax returns. Beginning in 2018, married homeowners filing jointly may deduct mortgage interest on home loans up to $750,000. Homeowners may also deduct interest on home equity loans, as long as the loan was used for home improvements. Ask an accountant or a tax advisor for help with tax deductions.
Your home is likely to appreciate in value over time. Home values depend on the local real estate market, as well as any improvements or upgrades made to the property. Your home equity will increase as your home gains value.
Freedom to Customize and Personalize
When you rent, you’re not permitted to make any changes to the property without seeking permission from your landlord. If your needs change, you’ll often need to move to another rental home.
Home ownership gives you the freedom to make whatever changes to your home you desire. You can remodel and redecorate to suit your needs and tastes any time you like. Pride of ownership is one of the main benefits of buying instead of renting.
Whether buying or renting a home is best for you depends on your individual circumstances. As with any major financial decision, think carefully about each option and decide what’s most important to you.
Saying Goodbye to a Home you have Sold 🙁
Buying a home for sale is a major purchase for just about everyone, and it’s very often also an emotional one. As large purchases go, people tend to be more emotionally invested in their home than they are when they buy a car.
While buying real estate is often recognized as an emotional purchase, selling real estate does not always evoke the same sentimental impact. But when it is time to sell the home that, once upon a time, you fell in love with, it’s emotional, too.
It’s often hard to say goodbye to something that’s been a part of your family for a period of time, here are few suggestions for home sellers who are faced with saying goodbye to a home they’ve sold. Preparing for a home sale can be an emotional rollercoaster.
Let someone else paint
When you moved into that home that was new to you at the time, perhaps you prepared a nursery for a growing family or painted your kitchen a color that gives you a certain feeling. If so, recognize that it could be difficult to let those things go.
That’s why, if you have to change things for the new homeowners, it makes sense to pay someone else to cover over those memories. That nursery? Let someone else paint the neutral wall color everyone is saying you need. That family kitchen’s warm walls? Pay someone to change them.
It’s easy to pick up a roller or brush and physically change the appearance of rooms yourself, but if you’re emotionally invested in those rooms, let someone else do the work. It’s much easier emotionally.
Host one last party
If you have a home that’s been the site of fun events, have one last fun event.
At some point, you likely entertained a group of people for the first time in your home. Now that you have sold that home, you have a final opportunity to gather the same people who are important to you and host the last party in that home. You’d be surprised at how many of your guests over the years might share an emotional connection to the home with you.
You christened the home at one point with those people, so give it a bon voyage with them, too.
Have a garage sale
This might not seem all that exciting, but purging your home of stuff you don’t need serves several purposes.
First and foremost, everything home sellers decide to sell is something they don’t need to pack for their move to new digs. Also, however, just like having a final party is a way to say goodbye to the home with friends, a garage sale is a way to say goodbye to the stuff in your home you no longer need while making a couple of bucks. You might enjoy the purge that comes with the preparation for the sale, and it might give you a profitable way to part with possessions that were once part of your life in the home you’re leaving. Selling those things, rather than throwing or giving them away, also can provide you with some closure on items your mind connects with the home.
If you host a final party for your friends, you probably owe it to your family to do something similar. If you have a fireplace where you’ve hung stockings at Christmas, have one last fire. If you have a room where family movie night has been a thing, have the last movie night.
Take your family, room by room and travel back through time. Shuffle through the memories you all have of each space, and spend some time with each other in those same spaces. If nothing else, a room-by-room memory-making tour will give you something to remember that house by forever.
So re-connect with each room, as a family, before you have to leave the home for good.
Moving can be stressful. It’s not unusual for a family’s last meal in a home to be pizza or something else easy. The boxes are headed out, the trucks are getting packed, so a rushed takeout dinner is the final meal shared in the family home.
That’s not the way to do it, though, is it? Prisoners on death row are given a better alternative. So instead of the final meal in your home being an afterthought as you rush out the door, let the trucks go. Leave the boxes for the next day. You might not have any furniture or dishes or whatever, but cook a final meal that you will remember. Share it together.
Even with no silverware, plates or whatever, a meal that you’ve made yourself and had to eat off paper towels with your fingers is more appropriate a goodbye than takeout from boxes.
Don’t undersell the emotional aspect of moving from a home. It was an emotional decision to move INTO it, a home full of great memories and family “firsts.” So don’t be shy about constructing family “lasts.” Say goodbye to that sold home properly.
Preparing a Home For Sale
When it’s time for a homeowner to offer their house for sale, there are many things that must be considered in order to get the best home prices available. Getting a home ready for the marketplace requires focus and attention, as today’s real estate market is a highly competitive place.
Buyers today look at properties with a high level of scrutiny, which is why a seller has to do everything they can to prepare their home. Just as actors and job applicants have to realize they make the most impact within the first few seconds of a meeting, so will a home’s look and feel make the most impact in the first few moments of a walk through. All of this is why preparing carefully is the very best policy for a home seller who wants to do well.
How To Sell a Home in Today’s Competitive Real Estate Market
People who want to buy a home in today’s real estate market are looking for many things, and part of what they are looking for will be geared to their own specific needs. Couples with children will have different needs than older couples or single people. They will be concerned about the local schools and that the area is welcoming to families. All of this should be kept in mind when preparing a house for sale.
If the home being offered is in a good area for families, this should definitely be highlighted in the communications about the property. If there is a good play area for the children, that area should be cleaned and landscaped before it is shown.
An unkempt yard will definitely bring down the value of a home, so it’s important to pay careful attention to how the yard looks on the first impression. This is especially true of the front yard and walkway. Adding bright flowers to the walkway or around the front door is an easy job that will add a lot to a positive first impression of the home.
Staging the Property For Those Who Want To Buy A Home
Again, the first impression a buyer has of a home is huge. Along with taking in the first impression of the home, a buyer will also study the neighborhood and the condition of the home, including the roof, plumbing, and foundation. Still, the first walk-through of a home is the time when a person falls in love with it and that’s why it’s so important to carefully prepare the home in advance.
The home should look immaculate and clutter-free for the open house walk through. If new furnishings are needed, they should be brought in in order to make a great first impression. Any clutter or threadbare carpets or furniture will take away from the price a seller can ask for a home, so all of the details must be attended to.
There are interior design experts who can be brought in to help with staging a home and their expertise is worth the price. A homeowner can also consult interior design magazines and websites for ideas on how to stage a home beautifully. Extra touches like vases with fresh flowers and scented candles add a lot of the welcoming feel of a home.
Cosmetic touches, like staging a home with new furniture and flowers might seem inconsequential, but ultimately, a home sale is an emotional experience. That’s why the more a seller can do to make a home look and feel like a “dream house,” the better chance they’ll have at getting the price they really desire.
Selling a house takes focus and hard work, but ultimately, a successful home sale is worth all the trouble involved. For more information about how to make your home beautiful for selling, contact your local trusted Real Estate agent today.
The city of Savannah, Georgia, has grown immensely in recent decades. After years of stagnation, home prices in the city have soared. New businesses and young professionals have made the city a destination in the South. But the influx of people has created an inflection point for the city’s housing market. In its late stage of revitalization, Savannah’s housing market will determine what kind of city Savannah becomes.
Reasons For Rising Prices
There are many reasons for high real estate prices in the downtown Savannah area. One clear reason is the increase in tourism. Savannah tourism has increased at a steady clip ever since the 1990s. In that decade, books and movies both provoked urban growth and showcased Savannah’s splendor to the rest of the nation. As the years went on and industry continued to wane, tourism emerged as the area’s economic engine. It became easy to sell a home and the local Realtor sector flourished.
Now, the city’s politics and economy are almost entirely dependent on the money from tours and visitors. But the city has not remained stagnant or rested upon its laurels. Education has quietly grown to also push real estate prices higher and higher. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has benefited enormously from the housing push. It has bought numerous buildings in downtown Savannah and started to join tourist companies in a revitalization effort. Savannah State University has also benefited from the city’s largess and SCAD’s success.
The question is whether or not Savannah simply wants to remain a limited historic city built on tourism where it is difficult to buy a home for a reasonable price. Soon, SCAD and local businesses may branch outside of the historic squares and start to bring money into neighborhoods south of Forsyth Park. This expansion may actually be beneficial to the local economy. Building outside of historic neighborhoods could increase rent and home prices even further. But less restrictive building codes in non-historic areas could also result in larger housing stock and more affordable units.
What It Means
The change in downtown Savannah is indicative of a city that is passing into a new stage of revitalization. Much of Savannah has gentrified. Young professionals have bought local property and restored historic areas. The local Realtor cadre continues to bring buyers to the area and drive the thriving housing market.
More tax revenue has led to more police officers and a resulting decrease in crime. The investments of local individuals have led to more businesses and a diversified local economy. As a result, one could envision a Savannah where SCAD and new tech startups could build up new housing that benefits everybody in the city instead of simply its wealthiest citizens.
Savannah is very much on the cutting edge of urban growth in the United States. Its historic area has been successful and desirable for years. But it may be time for the City to grow and expand. More expansion means more homes, more home sales, and a vibrant yet dynamic housing environment. The city of Savannah may have years or even decades of growth to look forward to. For more information about buying or selling a home in Savannah Georgia, contact your local professional Realtor today.
The 2019 National Housing Market Forecast
Thinking about buying or selling a home in 2019?
Here’s what we can expect from the housing market over the next year – Two Reports Predicting the Major Housing Market Trends for 2019
Realtor.com 2019 National Housing Forecast
According to the Realtor.com 2019 Housing Forecast, the housing market will be a year of slowing, yet moderate growth, set against the backdrop of a changing composition of home buyers and a post-election interest rate jump that could potentially price some first-timers out of the market.
At the end of 2018, demographics and an improving economy were laying the foundation for a substantial increase in first-time buyers in 2017, but due to mortgage rate increases over the last few weeks realtor.com predicts first timers will face new hurdles as they navigate the qualification and buying process. These higher rates are associated with anticipation of stronger economic and wage growth next year, both of which favor buyers. However, higher rates will make qualifying for a mortgage and finding affordable inventory more challenging.
“We don’t expect the outcome of the election to have a direct impact on the health of the housing market or economy as we close out 2018. However, the 40 basis points increase in rates in the days following the election has caused us to increase our interest rate prediction for next year,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com. “With more than 95 percent of first-time home buyers dependent on financing their home purchase, and a majority of first-time buyers reporting one or more financial challenges, the uptick we’ve already seen may price some first-timers out of the market.”
The report also predicts the top housing trends of 2019 and I have included the two that relate to metro Atlanta:
- Millennials and boomers will dominate the market–– In 2019, the housing market will be in the middle of two massive demographic waves, millennials and baby boomers – that will power demand for at least the next 10 years. Although increasing interest rates have prompted realtor.com to lower its prediction of millennial market share to 33 percent of the buyer pool; millennials and baby boomers will still comprise the majority of the market. Baby boomers are expected to make up 30 percent of buyers in 2017 and given they’re less dependent on financing, they are anticipated to be more successful when it comes to closing.
- Slowing price appreciation– Nationally, home prices are forecast to slow to 3.9 percent growth year over year, from an estimated 4.9 percent in 2017. Of the top 100 largest metros in the country, 26 markets are expected to see price acceleration of 1 percent point or more. Likewise, 46 markets are expected to see a slowdown in price growth of 1 percent or more.
The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA MSA YOY forecast shows positive numbers for 2017:
Atlanta 2019 Price Appreciation: 5.93% Atlanta 2019 Sales Volume: 7.67%
2019 Realtor.com Home Shopper Survey
The Realtor.com home shopper study, released October 19, and based on September 2018 survey data of active shoppers on realtor.com, provides insight into future home buying trends in 2019 by analyzing responses from consumers who plan to purchase homes in the Spring or Summer of 22019, peak seasons for home purchases.
Significant findings from the survey include a potentially large increase in first time home buyers in 2017, capable of rising to 52 percent of all buyers in 2017, up from 33 percent in 2016. Affordability, down payments, and credit scores are starting to challenge limited inventory as the No. 1 barrier to home ownership. Suburban homes are the most preferred as 43 percent of first time home buyers have a stated preference for the suburbs, likely due to their desire for safe neighborhoods, privacy and to meet the needs of their growing families.
- First time home buyers could make up over half of the 2019 home buyer population
The most notable characteristic of the 2019 home buying season is expected to be the large number of first time home buyers entering the market. According to the survey, first time home buyers now make up 52 percent of prospective buyers looking to purchase in 2019. Last year, 33 percent of shoppers planning to purchase in 2018 were first timers. Millennials are leading the pack with 61 percent of these first-time homebuyers under age 35. Top reasons cited by millennials for buying include getting married or moving in with a partner, growing tired of their current living space, and planning to increase family size.
Said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com:
“With so many first time buyers in the market, competition will be even fiercer next year for affordable starter homes in the suburbs. Those looking to buy may want to consider a winter home purchase in order to avoid bidding wars and higher prices spurred by a potential increase in millennial buyers.”
- Affordability and mortgage qualification expected to replace lack of inventory as the largest barrier to home ownership
In 2016, 40 percent of home shoppers cited lack of inventory as the largest barrier to home ownership, but realtor.com reports this will potentially shift to affordability and mortgage qualification issues as more first time home buyers enter the market. Of first time home buyers planning to purchase next spring surveyed in September, 37 percent indicated their largest impediment to home ownership is the down payment and 30 percent cited finding a house within their budget.
- Safe neighborhoods, more living space, and larger yards top list of key home attributes
First-time homebuyers cite safety, more living space, and larger yards as the key features for their new homes. This is consistent with their top goals of buying: attaining privacy and addressing the needs of their families. A third top objective of first time buyers is to make a financial investment that will grow over time.
As millennials marry and move in with partners, reasons to purchase are driven by actual or planned growth in their families, and they show strong preference for single family homes (39 percent) or townhomes (34 percent) and away from multi-family homes (15 percent), condos (10 percent), or mobile homes (2 percent).
- Competition for the suburbs is expected to heat up
With families and safety on the brain, it’s no surprise that first time home buyers identified the suburbs as their No. 1 preferred location. In fact, 50 percent of all respondents identified suburban areas as their preferred location. For boomers, their desire for the suburbs can likely be attributed to their desire to be close to family and friends.
Data also show younger homebuyers are more likely than their older counterparts to prefer urban living, the second-most common location preference among millennials after suburbs.
- Spring and summer will continue to be the hottest times to buy a house in 2017
A majority of all survey respondents were beginning the housing search at the time of the survey and planned to purchase in seven months or longer, indicating spring and summer will continue as the top seasons to buy and sell homes. Realtor.com® found that 73 percent of respondents had been considering homeownership for less than three months and did not expect to purchase a home immediately.
We are putting together an all inclusive list of the top Realtors in Atlanta Ga. Our list will be based upon sales volume (by volume and by unit), client testimonials, customer service, work in the Realtor community and more.
We look at a variety of factors to make our Top Atlanta real estate agent list. Our work on this project has already been exhaustive and we still have quite a bit more to do before publishing the list of the top agents in Atlanta.
There are many things that make you a Top Realtor. It is not just selling the largest sales volume, or the biggest number of homes, if your clients all regret using you.
How Will We Measure The Top Agent?
- Should we look only at Atlanta proper?
- Should we include real estate teams?
- Should we list out top real estate brokers?
- What weight should be put to top sales volume?
- What weight should we put to the most homes sold?
- Should we include rentals?
- Where should we pull Realtor reviews from?
Have a suggestion? Let us know!
These are only a few of the questions that will determine who makes the list.
If you think you know one of the Top Realtors in Atlanta and the surrounding communities, please fill out the form below.