Hi Meredith, first I'll address the owning vs. renting or leasing. It all depends on your financial situation and goals but here's the start: Ultimately, it's almost always more advantageous to own rather than rent for several reasons. Here are a few: 1) One of the last great tax write-offs afforded to W-2'd employees is getting to write off mortgage interest which lowers your adjusted gross income allowing for less taxes to pay (always speak with a CPA as I am not one), 2) Allows you to improve or build your credit - a mortgage will improve your credit score and show ultimate credit worthiness, 3) Gives you the freedom of home ownership so that you're not beholden to a land-lord's plans or desires (no worries of being kicked out of your home or literally going month to month with the possibility of being kicked out of you pay late or miss a payment), 4) Even though home values are a bit depressed right now (depending on where you live), there is still the possibility of values rising and you can take advantage of the equity in your home in later years to improve your home, invest in other things, etc. and 5) home values are lower and interest rates are low right now - now more than ever is the best time to buy- when prices and interest rates are low!! If you wait until everything 'goes back up', you're going to pay more for the home.
As for expenses to plan for, if you get your homeowner's insurance and property taxes included in the monthly payment, then you don't need to budget separately for them. Things you should budget for: 1) Having enough to pay the deductible on your homeowner's insurance should you need to file a claim, 2) Grounds maintenance - this can go anywhere from needing to buy a lawnmower to hiring landscapers to keep your property looking nice on a regular basis, 3) Depending on the type of home you buy, you may need to pay HOA dues if it's a condo or in a neighborhood that belongs to an HOA, 4) Funds for minor repairs or issues - such as plumbing problems, roof fixtures, etc., 5) You may need to buy new appliances, such as washer and dryer, if they don't come with the home, If you do decide to buy, make sure you use an experienced agent who can negotiate properly for you and make sure the home is in great shape (always get a home inspection, no matter what). A Home Warranty is never a bad idea. Hope this helps. If you want more detailed information, feel free to contact me to provide more details. Good luck. | 09.14.15 @ 23:00