To Buy or To Rent

To Buy or To Rent

We’re taught from a young age that home ownership is an integral part of the American dream and that buying a house is a rite of passage in adulthood.  That doesn’t mean that home ownership is the right choice for everyone.  When you’re deciding to buy or to rent you need to make an educated decision rather than basing the decision on your emotions.  There are lots of advantages to owning a home so let’s look at whether buying or renting is right for you.

Why Do You Want to Own a Home?

There are a lot of practical reasons to owning your own home, it can be cheaper than renting and you are not paying someone else’s mortgage or lining their pockets.  In most cases it’s a good investment that will grow in value.  If you have a family or want to start one it gives you the space you need.  Home ownership comes with responsibilities, you will have to take care of maintenance and repairs, and there is no landlord to call.  You want to buy because you feel home ownership is the right choice for you and not to keep up with your peers who are buying houses.

Can You Afford to Own a Home?

Very few if any buy their first home cash, today homes are bought with mortgages.  In order to buy a house this way you need to qualify for a mortgage and that means sitting down and scrutinizing your financial situation along with the market.  In some communities buying is cheaper than renting, you would pay less every month on your mortgage than you would rent on an average two bedroom apartment.  In other communities like San Francisco or New York you need to be earning six figures a year to afford a home way out in the suburbs.

Talk to a mortgage broker to see what you qualify for, what you will need for a down payment.  You may have to do some work to improve your credit score or start saving towards a down payment, but you will at least know where you stand financially.

Why would someone choose to rent rather than buy?  There are plenty of people who don’t want the responsibility or their career means a great deal of travel where home ownership is just impractical at this point.  Living in a city with a high cost of living can put owning a home out of reach.  Ultimately you have to decide which is the best choice for your situation.

Features Buyers are Looking For

Features Buyers are Looking For

When you are selling your home you want it to appeal to as many buyers as possible, at the same time you may not want to do a lot of work on your house.  You’re moving and leaving the house behind why bother with upgrades.  This is the wrong way of thinking, upgrades can help you sell your home quicker and for a better price.  The secret is to only add the sort of features buyers are looking for.  Let’s have a look at the minor features you can that will help you sell your home.

Outside Lighting

Curb appeal is everything, it is the first impression that buyers get when they come to your house.  Exterior lighting can help you improve that first impression.  Spotlights for your walkways and front doors allow visitors to see the property clearly and it can highlight the features.  You can install motion sensor lights fairly inexpensively so you don’t have to worry about turning light off and on, and it serves as a security feature making potential buyers feel safer.

Hardwood Flooring

Buyers love hardwood floors.  Aside from looking absolutely gorgeous they are also durable and easy to maintain.  Hardwood floors can vary in price dramatically but you can install them in most homes quickly and inexpensively.

Make the Home as Energy Efficient as Possible

Everybody wants to reduce their monthly costs and energy efficient appliance, hot water tanks, furnaces, windows or even the lighting will help buyers choose your house.  You may not be prepared to replace all of the windows or appliances, but do whatever you can to make the house more energy efficient.

Fix Your Outdoor Spaces

The interior of your home may be immaculate but don’t overlook the impact of the backyard and patio areas.  Families want to be able to envision their children playing in the yard and childless couples want to be able to see themselves entertaining in the back yard.  A great patio can help them see themselves living and enjoying your home.  A patio adds more living space to your home and appeals to almost all buyers, it’s well worth the investment.

When you are selling your home, the key to selling quickly and for the most money is to appeal to the broadest section of buyers possible.  Having the features that buyers want can help you do just that.  Energy efficiency, security and curb appeal can all help you get a better price on your home.

Will the Columbus, Ohio Housing Market Slow Down?

Will the Columbus, Ohio Housing Market Slow Down?

In the first half of last year Columbus was the hottest residential housing market in the entire country.  In July the city dropped from first place to fifth indicating a possible slowdown, with the number of days on the market rising slightly from 32 days to 37.  It wasn’t just Columbus that was experiencing a hot housing market it continued through the Midwest with other cities like Detroit, Racine and Fort Wayne all having a real estate boom.

Prices still on the Rise

Prices in Columbus are still rising because there isn’t enough inventory.  The demand in housing also fuels the residential construction industry, which is great for driving the local economy.  However with the average home price hitting record highs can make housing unaffordable to locals.  Many of the Midwestern markets appeal to buyers because of their affordability when comparing to the more expensive markets along both coasts.

A Changing Market

One indicator of how the housing market is faring is how often the price of listed homes gets reduced.  The number of homes that lowered the asking price was 15% and that is up from 12% from the previous year.  That may not mean much to Columbus specifically as that is a trend in all of the bigger housing markets around the country.  These reductions in price tend to follow very high priced listings more so than the average home.  Here is a look at the January housing market

Still a Seller’s Market

Over the past couple of years due to the lack of inventory, the market very much favored the seller.  That may be slowly changing, while it may still be far too early to call it a buyer’s market just yet the trend may be shifting that way.  Home prices are still rising and that is expected to continue over the next year at least but the pace is definitely slowing down.  The increase in the number of price cuts may indicate a return to a more balanced market.

Home prices are still rising all across the country and the median home value now sits at $217,000 with Columbus still significantly below the national average at $182,000.  While it may be below the national average it is still up almost 10% above the previous year.  There are still deals to be had in Columbus but you will need patience to find them.  Working with a local realtor can help you find the home you’re looking for that much quicker

Why You Should Be Working with a Realtor

Why You Should Be Working with a Realtor

If you look online there are dozens of different sites that tell you the steps you should take to sell your house.  All of this information may lead you to believe that you don’t need to be working with a real estate agent that you can do all of it on your own.  For some people this works well, but for most it can end in disaster.  There are compelling reasons why you should be working with a Realtor, let’s have a look at them.

You Have No Experience

Unless you flip houses for a living then you don’t have the experience or the education to get your house sold for the best price.  A realtor does this for a living, they have a proven track record of negotiating deals that you may lack.  Buying a home or selling one, the goal is still to get the best price and a realtor can help with that.

Negative Feedback

When you have an open house or start the sales process there is going to be a fair amount of criticism of your home.  That’s part of the process, when you use a realtor you don’t have to deal with any of that they will weed out the “tire kickers” and work with those that are serious about making an offer.

Knowledge of the Neighborhood and Price

Real estate agents generally specialize in a particular area and they know that neighborhood inside and out.  They know where the best restaurants are, how good the schools are and the crime statistics.  All of that information ties into how to price your home.  They take into consideration all of that combined with the condition and size of your home along with what other comparable homes are selling for in order to come up with the right listing price.

The Market

The market is affected by a number of things, the inventory of available homes and the number of buyers.  Those are the biggest factors in determining how much and how fast your home will sell.  They keep up to date on the market conditions and are aware of average home prices and number of days a house sits on the market.

Their Network

Real estate agents spend a great deal of time networking and making connections.  They know everyone from mortgage brokers to contractors, while they are legally forbidden from recommending one service over another they are aware of prices and reputation.

Working with an agent is the fastest way to get your house on the market and in front of potential buyers, they have connections that the average person just doesn’t have that can be used to sell your house.