You’ve always been told that owning a home is the ultimate American dream.
Imagine renovating your master bath into a mini spa or choosing your favorite appliances for your dream kitchen. Or just getting to repaint whatever room you want. Plus, there’s the potential for financial gain when you own.
But renting has its own advantages: flexibility, a smaller financial commitment and the chance to try before you buy.
So when do you know it’s time to take the plunge on a purchase? Answer these questions to see which side of the rent vs. buy debate you might land on:
Why do you want to buy?
Sure, owning a home might be the great American dream — but is it your dream?
For some, the idea of a home where you can raise a family, be close to schools and build a community is enticing. For others, buying is a great investment. But for many, it’s about freedom: the ability to keep pets, renovate and be independent.
Will you stay in the area?
No one has a crystal ball — but knowing how long you plan to live in an area can help as you consider the pros and cons of buying. Generally, longer stays align with purchasing.
If the thought of travel fills you with more passion than the idea of settling down in your dream property, you may not be ready for your forever home. But there’s always the possibility of turning your house into an investment property.
What can you afford?
While renting usually costs less in the short term than purchasing property, owning a home can build long-term net worth. A rent vs. buy calculator can help you understand the costs of each option.
Don’t have the deposit for your dream home now? That doesn’t mean you can’t buy. We can work together to find affordable homes, and there are plenty of low or no down payment mortgage options.
Have questions about buying or financing your purchase? Let’s discuss your next steps
Your house looks beautiful. You’ve cleaned, decluttered, cleaned more, and followed the advice of a professional stager. How can your family continue to live there without ruining it?
You need a place to put your keys, the mail, the TV remote control, toothpaste, makeup, and countless other items that usually litter horizontal surfaces in the house. Put a basket or Tupperware container in places where clutter could re-emerge. When you leave the house, stash the containers in a cabinet or take them with you.
Pick a Room
Have kids? Pets? Designate a room that will be lived in normally. It’s where the kids can dump the Legos on the floor and you can put the cat’s litter box. When it’s time for a showing, the mess will be in one place instead of throughout the house.
Create a Checklist
“Make the beds. Put out the good towels. Empty the litter box. Put the containers in the closet.” Write down what needs to happen every morning before you leave the house to bring the property back to show-ready condition.
Your REALTOR® has experience listing houses for sale, so ask him or her for other suggestions to help your property keep looking its best.
Real estate markets are very competitive in many parts of Texas. As a buyer, how do you differentiate your offer from others that a seller receives?
Show How Serious You AreIf sellers are asking for 1% of the sales price as earnest money, you could offer more. The extra deposit shows sellers that you’re committed to purchasing their property.
Don’t Ask For Too Many Extras
How many contingencies does your offer include? Financing? Selling your current home? While you might not be able to eliminate all contingencies, consider limiting the ones you ask for.
Sellers may value the opportunity to close expeditiously. There are several steps you’ll have to take before closing, so be prepared to move quickly to complete steps like the inspection and appraisal. Having a sense for your timeline and which ancillary service providers you’ll work with will make the closing process smoother and more efficient.
These are only a few ways to present your best offer. Your REALTOR® can give you more ideas that work best for your market.
The state of Texas provides a number of financial and educational resources to prospective homebuyers through various agencies.
Texas Homebuyer University
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) provides a 2-hour course that guides participants through preparing for homeownership, financing a home, and purchasing a home. Completion of the course also satisfies the education requirement for some of the agency’s first-time buyer programs. Visit the website
Homebuying and Moving Guide
The Texas Attorney General’s Office provides a reference for the process and terminology involved in buying and home and common issues to know. View the guide
TDCHA Homebuyer Programs
The TDHCA offers home loan options for buyers in Texas that include downpayment assistance and closing cost assistance. View the options
Affordable Housing Programs
The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) provides financing, downpayment assistance, and mortgage credit certificate programs to Texas buyers who qualify, which can be determined with a short quiz. Take the quiz
TSAHC Assistance CalculatorThis tool from TSAHC compares the different loan types and assistance options offered to qualified homebuyers in Texas. View the tool.
Have you ever taken on a project that looked easy until you actually did the work? Selling your home without a real estate agent is a mistake like this that a lot of people make. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth your time to hire a REALTOR®.
If you’re thinking of selling your home without a REALTOR®, make sure you understand what’s involved. REALTORS® make selling homes look easy because of the experience they bring to the transaction. Hiring a professional will save you time, reduce your stress, and help you avoid hassles.
In areas where competition is stiff for moderately-priced homes and inventory is thin, potential homebuyers might want to research a segment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that has mostly attracted the attention of developers: Opportunity Zones.
The more than 8,000 federally designated Opportunity Zones across the country represent areas where new investments can now receive tax breaks and capital gains deferrals. Opportunity Zones may have lower incomes and employment rates than the national average but range from areas suffering from severe disinvestment to neighborhoods with a positive trend of investment even before this program.
What happens in a given Opportunity Zone depends heavily on local laws, zoning, and land use regulations. But buyers looking for affordable housing in neighborhoods poised for significant investment in coming years may want to investigate the history and circumstances of Opportunity Zones near them to see if any fit their needs.
To learn more, access resources related to Opportunity Zones from the U.S. Department of the Treasury or read research about the areas from the Urban Institute.