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Homeowners Association fees abound in residential environments where you are the property owner. You’ve got to look into the care of landscaping. Does your home have a lawn? The region where your home’s located; is it conducive to landscaping? If it’s inhospitable, that may just mean a higher water bill.
How about home repair. Can you do plumbing repairs? What about flooring—are you handy enough to rip up old floorboards, put down some Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP), then attach finish at the corners to hide the gap between the floor and the wall? Are you savvy enough to leave a half-inch of empty space at the end of the LVP for heat and cold expansion?
How about repairing wall damage, or painting the interior? Are you any good at electrical work? Can you affect mild roof repairs on your own? Would you be able to remodel a room in a home to put in a new wall, take out a wall, or add an exterior deck? Certainly, contractors can handle all these things, but the question becomes: how do you afford them?
Also, some contractors are unscrupulous individuals who do one day of work then disappear to drink their earnings, and are never seen again; leaving a job half done unless you hire more expensive contractors or go about finishing it yourself. This isn’t desirable, but it’s a staple of property ownership. Renting isn’t so intense, and eases you into these situations.
If you’ve never owned a home before, issues like these abound; and we haven’t even gotten into neighbors, neighborhoods, property values, community decline, housing shortages, or any of a thousand other similar issues.
Granted, sometimes your best choice as pertains to learning is to just “jump in”. If the water’s cold, just getting the shock out of the way can help you get used to the temperature. Well, maybe that’s your best bet with residential homeownership; but it’s also a great way to lose tens of thousands of dollars unnecessarily.
Getting on the hook for a mortgage with a sub-par property when you’ve never even rented before is a recipe for disaster. If you’re going to own a home, first be responsible for a property you’re renting. Sure, this isn’t the case for everybody, but it’s wise to consider for most people. And you don’t have to rent an apartment.
You can rent a townhome including a yard, recycling, neighbors, and all the rest. You can get used to monthly cycles with roommates, and getting rent to your landlord on time. In all likelihood, if you buy a home, you won’t own it outright; you’ll be paying a mortgage in monthly installments between $400 and $4,000, depending on the property. You need to be able to come up with that money regularly, or the bank will foreclose on you.
If you’ve rented for a year or two, then you’re more prepared for this recurring monthly bill, and you can structure your schedule around always having that cash on hand when it’s necessary. Also, as you rent you’ll be able to determine varying idiosyncrasies of a given neighborhood so you know what it would be like to live there permanently.
Once you’ve learned all these things, then it’s time to jump into the residential waters. So as you look at that future outcome, first consider where you are, and where you’d like to be. Are you in Texas presently? Well, take a look at these Uptown Dallas apartments for rent. There’s a broad variety in the hyperlink, and you can choose one near somewhere you’d like to buy.
Even in high-class neighborhoods, you can find rental options. Some homeowners rent out rooms as a means of supplementing income. Some purchase homes in good neighborhoods with the express purpose of renting them out—this is especially the case in college towns, where many residents come and go over an abbreviated period.
Whatever you ultimately choose, weigh your options carefully, and look at multiple units. At a minimum, look at five rental units before signing a lease.
With a home you’re buying, it may not be a bad idea to look at a hundred if you can manage it—many properties can be explored online until you narrow your selection down to a dozen or so in your target community.
So crunch the numbers. What kind of resources do you have on hand, what kind of experience do you have with renting, what’s available in your community, and what sort of risks are you willing to take? Because it makes a lot of sense to buy rather than renting; but if you’ve never been responsible for any property before, that could be a very big mistake.
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