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Buy vs. Rent

As some point in life, most people have the discussion about whether it is best to buy or rent their home. Good and bad arguments can be made for both options; it comes down to what is most important to you and your family. The decision can be one of the toughest ones you will ever have to make.

How long do you plan to stay? If you are renting and the rent is very inexpensive, it can payoff to stay in a rental property for a few years and build up your nest egg. Conversely, some neighborhoods around Baltimore are very expensive for renting and can be higher than house payments.

Do you know what you can afford? How does your credit score look? What is your debt to income ratio? Before you make the buy or rent decision, it is a good idea to consult a mortgage banker to see if buying is a possibility. You may be pleasantly shocked to discover that you can afford to buy a home.

Several websites, including Bankrate, have mortgage calculators to help you make a cursory check on whether renting or buying would work best for you. This calculator can be used as a guide, but is not as in-depth as meeting with a banker will be.

House payments stay the same, but rent generally goes up every year or two. Your home can appreciate, depending upon how the housing market is doing, but upkeep and updating is never-ending for homeowners. Renters enjoy having someone else do the repairs and updates.

According to Daniel Goldstein, a financial reporter for “Market Watch,” “Baltimore has the most advantageous market in the U.S. for home buyers, with a net difference of $1,160 between renting and buying. Rents there average $1,599, but the average monthly mortgage payment is just $439, based on a median sales price of $85,000.”

The most practical thing you can do is to take the time to figure out whether renting or buying is the best option for your family. Get your financial information together and meet with someone to help you make a determination. I am always happy to meet with you or refer you to someone who can make this decision easier.

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