There’s no place like homeTop Highlights Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
We have all heard of and have probably used the phrase, “There’s no place like home.” It is such a true statement and warms my heart every time I hear it, particularly now that the holidays are upon us. During this time, most of us typically spend more time in our homes with friends and family than at other times during the year. Just for fun (and yes, for someone in real estate, this is fun) let’s examine the cherished feelings that underpin those words and relate them to realty.
Your home is wherever you make it. It does not have to be fancy-shmancy or grandiose. It does not have to have the latest appliances and gadgets, or any of the other newer, bigger and better home products that are constantly adding bulk to the consumer market. Your home need only be that – yours.
Buying a house of your own is a very important event in your life, and is something that everyone should take seriously and plan to achieve.
Unless you have some unique circumstances, I suggest that you plan on owning your home. We live in a society that makes it challenging sometimes to achieve this goal because we are relentlessly tempted to buy things and spend our money in ways that are much less important than saving for a home purchase. We think nothing of regularly going to Starbucks and eating out. We buy new designer jeans, jewellery, go on trips and get the newest car. You might even indulge in a tattoo or a piercing, because after all it is the in thing to do. Or perhaps you like going to the casinos or a local watering hole for a little fun. The point here is that we spend a tremendous amount of money on things that are nice, tasty and fun, but that makes it hard to save for a down payment on a house. It is so important to get our priorities in order; and owning a home should be a priority.
I have a client who had been renting a home for 19 years, when last year the landlord increased her rent 35 percent. Well, my friend was very upset and could not believe that the owner would do such a thing. But the reality is the landlord could and did. This is not an uncommon occurrence when you are renting. Unless you have a specific lease that allows you to stay in a property for a specified amount of time, the owner can ask you to leave at anytime. All they need to do is give you a proper notice of 30 or 60 days, which depends on the length of time you have lived in the property.
Another example of distraught renters, are friends of mine. They are currently renting a home and the owners have just asked them to move because they want to move back into the home. Once again the renters were very upset and have been put in a bad position. They like the house and do not want to move. They have small children and it is going to be very disruptive for them to move again, particularly because they just moved into the house earlier this year. But unfortunately the renters only have a one year lease so the landlord has every right to take possession of the house anytime they want after the one year lease ends.
When you rent, you are always at risk of having your rent increased and being asked to move. In addition, there are other disadvantages to renting, like not being able to fix the house up the way you want.
If you are currently renting you owe it to yourself to start planning to buy your own home. If you already own your own home, then spread the word with family and friends of the importance of owning. Now is such a good time to buy and with home prices and mortgage rates so low, your monthly mortgage payment may be something that is more affordable than you think.
I’ve noted some of the disadvantages of renting. Inversely, there are big advantages that come with moving from a rental home to one you own. Real estate has been one of the best investments in the world throughout history. Although prices do go up and down, the wide arc of history shows a steady climb in the value of real property over time. Also when you have a home mortgage, all of the interest that you pay is tax deductible.
As a homeowner you can make your house truly your own by fixing it up and decorating it the way you want. Providing you have a fixed mortgage, you can count on a fixed monthly payment, which allows you to budget your finances more easily and more accurately.
Add to that the feeling known as pride of ownership, and owning your home is, well, a no-brainer. So, before you deposit any more money at the “Bank of Starbucks,” start stocking money away for that down payment on a home. Make home-buying a priority. Do it for yourself, your family and your friends.
With Toto by her side, Dorothy was so right when she said, “There’s no place like home.”
Trent St. Louis is a licensed Real Estate Agent
and a member of the National, California and
San Diego Association of Realtors. You can reach Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his office in Hillcrest, The Metropolitan Group. DRE#01273643.
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