Jim Sheridan | Burlington Real Estate, Billerica Real Estate, Reading Real Estate



 Photo by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

For years home ownership has been the American dream, but, according to the Pew Research Center, a higher percentage of us are renters than at any other time in the last 50 years. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. For many people renting may be the right choice. Every individual and family needs to consider all the factors and make the decision that’s right for them.

The Financial Consideration

There’s a rule of thumb called the price to rent ratio. You get it by dividing the price of a house by the annual rent. For example, if you can buy a house for $300,000 or rent it for $1500 per month, the ratio is 300,000 / (12 * 1500), or 16.7. When the number is 15 or less, buying is the better choice, when it’s 16 to 20, renting becomes more favorable and when it’s over 20 renting is significantly better. However, this fails to take in factors like down payment amount, financing terms, taxes, insurance and other costs, which can vary widely. A more accurate number, telling you how long it will take to cover the up-front costs of ownership and pull even financially with renting, can be found using one of many calculators available.

The Other Considerations

While this sort of calculation is valuable, there are other questions, both financial and lifestyle-related, that the potential renter or buyer must ask.

  • What can I spend upfront for down payment and closing costs?

  • Can I afford a major repair such as replacing a furnace or air conditioner? There are insurance-like plans to defray some of that cost, but those make up another annual expense.

  • How long do I plan to stay? Selling a home and buying a new one is costly and time-consuming.

  • Which is more important to me, stability or flexibility?

Advantages of Home Ownership

As the inheritor of the American dream, the homeowner has some opportunities and privileges that the renter can’t enjoy.

  • Appreciation and equity. As home value rises and morgage balance drops, homeowners gain equity, which for many is their most valuable asset.

  • Building credit.

  • Freedom to remodel. There’s no landlord telling you what you can and can’t do with your property.

  • Stable monthly payments. Taxes and insurance can increase, but principal and interest payment remains the same. If you stay there long enough, eventually you’ll have no principal/interest to pay at all.

  • Tax advantage. For most people, it isn’t what it was before the 2017 tax changes, but interest and taxes may still be deductible.

  • Stability. You can become a member of your neighborhood and your children can stay in the same school system. No landlord can decide to sell and give you notice.

Advantages of Renting

  • No large upfront expenses.

  • Your landlord is responsible for major repairs.

  • Still some opportunity to build credit by paying rent promptly.

  • You have less at risk. You won’t be affected if property values fall.

  • Flexibility. If you choose to move you can easily give notice and do so.

Here’s one last question: which feels better, the satisfaction of owning your own castle or the freedom to change your life quickly? The answer may go a long way toward pointing you in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The home selling journey may prove to be long and arduous, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to expedite the house selling cycle and quickly achieve your desired results.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the home selling journey.

1. Understand Your Target Audience

You know you have a great home. Now, you just need to figure out who may want to purchase it. If you analyze the buyer's perspective, you can determine your target audience and map out the home selling journey accordingly.

Think about why you decided to buy your house in the first place. Also, consider any unique features that may make your home an attractive option to potential buyers.

If you assess the buyer's perspective, you may discover innovative ways to stir up interest in your home. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a fast, profitable house selling experience.

2. Craft an Engaging Home Listing

A home listing is important, as it enables you to introduce your residence to prospective buyers. Therefore, it is crucial to create an engaging home listing that captures a buyer's interest.

As you craft a home listing, it usually is a good idea to provide clear, concise details about your house. Furthermore, you may want to include pictures of your residence's interior and exterior to help buyers see the true beauty of your house.

In addition, you should include accurate information about your home in your listing. Because if you educate buyers about your home's features, you can help them make an informed decision about whether to pursue your residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

For those who want to speed up the home selling journey, there is no reason to work alone. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available around the country, and these housing market experts can help you seamlessly navigate the house selling cycle.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. He or she will teach you about all aspects of the housing market and help you create an effective property selling strategy. Plus, if you have concerns or questions throughout the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them right away.

Let's not forget about the assistance a real estate agent provides as you review an offer to purchase your house, either. Deciding whether to accept, reject or counter an offer to purchase your home sometimes can be difficult, but a real estate agent can help take guesswork out of this decision. In fact, a real estate agent can provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make the best-possible decision regarding a home sale.

Want to expedite the home selling journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble selling your home without delay.


It’s a good financial practice to check your credit report and score periodically. You want to be sure that no one has stolen your identity and that all the information on the report is correct. It may sound simple to check your credit, but there are so many sources that you can get it from and so many options that it can be a dizzying process. Read on to learn more about the basics of checking your credit and credit score. 


Your Credit Score Comes From Different Sources


You can check your credit score from one source and find that the score varies from place to place. Why? There are a few different scoring models that are used to calculate scores. There could be as much as a 50 point difference between sites. There are also three credit reporting agencies. Each one uses a different method to calculate credit scores. Each method provides lenders with different information to allow them a picture of what type of borrower you will be. 


Checking Your Score


Many different apps allow you to check your credit score. These enable users not only to see their scores but to see what can be done to improve the user’s credit report and score. You can’t see your credit report on these apps, but you can always head to annualcreditreport.com to check the full scope of your report. This is the only official site to pull your credit report fro the credit bureaus.  Finding the right app to check your credit score is simple, it only takes a few minutes to sign up. 


How Are Credit Scores Calculated?


Your credit score is calculated using a few different factors. Each credit bureau uses the formula a bit differently. Scores range from 300- 850. It’s pretty rare to see perfect credit at 850. Anything over 700 is considered “good” or excellent” credit. You need at least a score of 600 to obtain loans in most cases. The higher your score, the better the interest rate will be.     



When Is The Best Time To Check The Score?


Before you apply for any large loan, it’s a good idea to check your credit rating. Taking a peek will allow you to see where you stand. You don’t want  to apply for a loan and end up being surprised by problems with your credit. Many apps allow you to check your score on a monthly basis. It’s easy to stay on top of your credit score and especially important to know where you stand when you buy a home.   


No homeowner wants to borrow more money. However, if you’re experiencing hard financial times or looking for a way to fund a home improvement project, there are ways to borrow money with your home as collateral.

In this article, we’re going to talk about home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). We’ll explain how they differ and break down their benefits and risks.

Before the bubble

Before the financial crisis of 2007-2008, many homeowners were borrowing readily based on the equity of their home. Interest rates were low on home equity loans, encouraging homeowners to leverage their portion of homeownership.

During the recession, however, all of that changed. People owed more money on their mortgages than their homes were worth, and banks became reluctant to lend.

In recent, years, however, house prices have been creeping back up, and banks and homeowners alike have gained confidence in the equity of their home.

As a result, a growing number of homeowners are turning back to home equity loans and lines of credit as a source of low-interest financing.

So, what exactly are these loans and credit lines?

The difference between a home equity loan and a line of credit

A home equity loan is a lump sum of money that you borrow which is secured by the value of your home. Typically, home equity loans are borrowed at a fixed rate. Lenders take into consideration the amount of equity you have in your home, your credit history, and your verifiable income.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a bit different. Like a credit card, you are able to borrow money as you need it via a credit card or checks. HELOCs often have variable interest rates, which means even if you’re approved for an initial low rate it could be increased. As a result, HELOCs are better suited for borrowers who can withstand a higher leverage of risk and variation each month.

Is now a good time to borrow?

If you’re a homeowner, there’s an understandable temptation to use the equity you’ve built over the years to your advantage. In some cases, home equity loans and HELOCs can earn you better interest rates than other forms of borrowing.

However, as with other loan types, it’s important for homeowners to realize that HELOCs and home equity loans are not the same as having cash in your savings account.

Another danger that borrowers face is the potential for foreclosure if things go badly. While most lenders won’t seek foreclosure after a few missed payments, your home has been put up as collateral for repaying the loan. Most lenders will choose to sell a defaulted loan to a collections company rather than seek foreclosure.

Ultimately, the best course of action is to avoid borrowing unless it will help you out financially in the long term. However, for those with high home equity who may, for one reason or another, need to borrow, a home equity loan or line of credit might be the best choice.


If you want to buy a terrific house at a budget-friendly price, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead as much as you can. In fact, with a homebuying strategy in place, you can boost the likelihood of a fast, seamless homebuying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a successful homebuying strategy.

1. Think About Your Homebuying Goals

Do you want to live in a warm-weather region? Or, would you prefer to buy a house in a city or town where you can experience all four seasons? Regardless of where you want to live, you need to think about your homebuying goals and incorporate them into your homebuying plan.

Make a list of what you want to find in your dream house – you'll be glad you did. With this list, you can narrow your home search.

Also, it often helps to review your future plans as you put together a homebuying strategy. For example, if you intend to return to school, you may want to consider houses located near top colleges and universities. On the other hand, if you plan to settle down and start a family, you may want to pursue houses near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

2. Consider Your Financing Options

Buying a house likely will be impossible without home financing. Fortunately, there is no shortage of home financing options available.

Oftentimes, it is beneficial to meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about myriad mortgage options and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Once you have your home financing settled, you can incorporate a budget into your homebuying strategy. Then, you can check out available houses and avoid the risk of overspending to acquire your ideal residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Developing a homebuying strategy sometimes can be tough, particularly for those who are crafting a homebuying plan for the first time. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available nationwide who can help you complete a successful homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is happy to meet with you and discuss your homebuying goals. He or she also can review your homebuying strategy and offer expert homebuying recommendations.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can deliver during the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you minimize stress throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can purchase your dream home in no time at all.

If you want to get the most out of the homebuying journey, creating a homebuying strategy is a must. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can craft a successful homebuying strategy.




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