When does renting make sense?

Relocating or just want to change the scenery a bit? Find all the apartment renting help you need at rentalguide.net using the convenient apartment search tool. It allows you to search by location and amenities. Rather rent a house instead of apartment? Find a property manager on rentalguide.net to locate the perfect house for your needs. It's like having all the benefits of home ownership without the headache!

The benefits of renting are numerous. Find out if you would benefit from renting a home:

1. You are new to the area and unsure where to buy. If you have just relocated to an area, then renting property makes a lot of sense. Take your time to learn about the area without having to rush into a decision. Find a property manager on rentalguide.net to help with your search.

2. You are seeking a long-term vacation or seasonal home. Vacation and seasonal homes seem like a great idea, but it doesn't take long for your annual vacation to become a working vacation. Then there are security issues, ever increasing taxes and insurance plus the inability to take vacations in different areas. Locate a property management company on rentalguide.net who own a variety of rental properties and work with them to find the perfect seasonable or vacation home rental in whatever area you desire.

3. You prefer to have maintenance and repairs handled for you. Home ownership entails responsibility and can be hard on the budget especially with large unforeseen repairs. Take control of your time and money by leaving it in the hands of a landlord. Apartment renting allows you to spend your free time doing what you want rather than taking care of the lawn, pest control, pool maintenance and other repairs.

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How can I set a realistic budget when buying my first home?

One of the most common mistakes made by first-time home buyers is setting a realistic budget when buying a home. It's easy to underestimate the true cost of home ownership especially if you have never owned your own home. Use this checklist to establish the real cost of owning a home.

1. Mortgage, property taxes, insurance and PMI or private mortgage insurance. Even if you have a fixed rate mortgage, your property taxes and insurance will likely continue to increase each and every year. Plan ahead so you aren't caught off guard!

2. Cable, Internet, trash collection and water. One of the benefits of renting is that many apartments include trash collection, basic cable, Internet and water in the price of the monthly rent. Once you buy a home all of those bills will be sent individually. Call local service providers in advance to determine what you will pay for services in the area.

3. Tools and Appliances. Another benefit of renting is not having to do your own maintenance and repairs plus the use of the laundry room. Set aside money to buy a lawn mower, washer and dryer, basic tools, leaf or snow blower, and other yard maintenance tools when buying your first home. It doesn't make a good impression on the neighbors to move in and then let your yard lapse because you can't take care of it!

4. Pool and Fitness Center. Many apartments provide pool and fitness facilities free to residents. Add the cost of a spa membership or purchase of home fitness equipment to your list in order to maintain your fitness and lifestyle.

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How do I calculate the cost of home ownership

So, you want to buy a home. First-time home buyers may not be aware of the full cost of home ownership when calculating the affordability and desirability of buying a home versus renting a home. To compare renting versus owning a home use the following checklist to calculate your personal affordability index.

1. When visiting online search engines, like rentalguide.net, use the convenient mortgage calculators to get an estimate of the monthly mortgage payment. Notice, the terms might change depending upon your down payment, duration of loan and interest payments.

2. In addition to the mortgage payment, buying a home entails PMI or private mortgage insurance if you don't put at least 20 percent down on the property. To get a rough estimate of PMI approximate 01 percent or .05 percent to .10 percent of your monthly payment.

3. Homeowners insurance and property taxes. Call and get estimates from at least three insurance brokers in your area to find out how much insurance will cost. Don't assume you will pay what the former owners pay for insurance. Your credit rating and other factors can influence your insurance premiums.

4. Maintenance and Repairs. Decide in advance if you will be doing it yourself or hiring others. Many people who are familiar with renting a condo or apartment are not used to spending their weekends or evenings mowing the lawn or cleaning the pool. Plan on budgeting approximately 10 percent of the total cost of your home each year towards maintenance and repairs. You won't use it all at once: Some years will require only a few small repairs or maintenance items, but other years you may eventually need to replace a roof or make large repairs to AC/Heat units.

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What help is available for buying a home?

Home buying help comes in many forms. First-time home buyers can increase their odds of successfully buying a home by following these quick tips:

1. Deal with a reputable real estate agent. Real estate is a complex transaction where a mistake can literally cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars. Take time to find an agent that will answer your questions and work with you. Use the rentalguide.net real estate agent locater to find an agent that specializes in the location you are considering purchasing.

2. Get pre-qualified. Avoid unpleasant credit surprises and find out what you will be able to afford. Don't automatically assume you can afford what the bank will approve you for ... that is the maximum! Instead, take your own situation into account when deciding what you can comfortably afford for the long term. For instance, if you are planning to start a family in the next several years and would like the option of remaining home with the children then set your own spending limits when it comes to purchasing a home.

3. Ask your real estate agent about local first time home-buyer programs in your area. There are federal, state and local programs available in different areas of the nation specifically designated for first time home buyers. Some assist with the down payment where others allow you to help build the home in exchange for a reduction in price. Still others have special low interest rates for first-time home buyers. Your local real estate agent will know what is available in your area to make buying a home a reality!

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How long does home maintenance require?

One of the biggest surprises first-time home buyers face is how much extra time it takes! If you have been renting an apartment, then chances are the landlord or property manager takes care of routine maintenance and small repairs. You might be surprised to find out how much time and money you will spend on small things you have taken for granted. Use these quick tips to see how buying a home will impact your budget and schedule:

1. Take one weekend to do the yard for a friend or family that owns their own home. This will give you an idea of how long it will take you to mow the lawn, trim the hedges, blow leaves or snow and other routine tasks. Planting, trimming trees and other seasonal or yearly projects take even longer.

2. Price having lawn and pool maintenance done for your or go to the local home improvement center to price the cost of lawn mowers, weeders, blowers and other tools.

3. Consider the time and cost required for pool or spa maintenance, landscaping, painting, window cleaning and other annual projects. Don't forget pest control and recycling/garbage collection.

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When To Rent Rather than Buy?

The benefits of buying a home are numerous, but there are times when it is still better to rent. Unsure if you would be better off renting or buying a home? Take this quick quiz to compare the benefits of buying a house versus the benefits of renting.

I intend to remain in the same location for more than five years? It is often better to rent a home rather than buy if you don't intend to live in the house for at least five years.

I enjoy home maintenance, lawn care and other household tasks.

Home ownership requires upkeep and maintenance so either budget the cost of having someone else handle it for you or reconsider ownership.

I desire the privacy and ability to do what I want with my own property.

While home ownership does allow additional freedom there are often deed restrictions, zoning, Home owners associations and other restrictions on what you can do with a given property. Understand what you are buying in advance to make sure it meets your needs.

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