Renting or Buying a Home
Living in the community, whether with your friends, spouse, partner or by yourself, means making decisions and being responsible for yourself. This page has information about things that you will need to know and how you can get answers to your questions.
There are two ways to live in a community - rent a home or buy a home.
Renting is when you pay a monthly amount to live in an apartment or house without the responsibility of maintenance or benefit of owning the home. If something breaks, you call your landlord about it and he or she fixes it. There is no control over the amount of your rent, and it can go up at a random amount each year or whatever your lease agreement says.
There are many things to consider when renting including:
- Deciding how much you can afford to spend on rent and possibly utilities (electricity, gas, water, trash pickup, etc) Utilities may or may not be included in your rent.
- How close the apartment or house is to your work, grocery store, public transportation if you need it, shopping, entertainment, church, etc.
- Accessibility if that is important to your independence.
There are other things to consider and you can go to a couple of different websites to find out more on how to rent wisely. There are also several websites that have tips for finding an apartment and they are located in Quick Links to the right of the screen. Of particular interst will be a website called SocialServe.com that provides updated rental property availability (including accesibility information).
Buying a home provides pride of ownership and also requires a commitment to maintaining the property. If something breaks or wears out, you, the owner, are responsible for getting it fixed. The benefits of owning a home are
- Tax deductions - if you itemize your taxes, you can deduct the interest on your loan from the taxes you own
- Appreciation - homes are considered a safe, steady investment, with values that rise while the debt amount you owe drops
- Equity - the difference between what the house is worth (appraised value) and how much money you owe on the loan (mortgage). If you were to sell the house for the appraised value and pay off the mortgage, the equity is the profit you would make from the sale. Generally the longer you pay/own your home, the more profit you make from the sale.
- Borrowing power - the equity above could be used to secure a loan if you needed money, but didn't want to sell your house to get it
- Stability - if you get a fixed rate of interest on your mortgage, your payment would stay the same from year to year unless your loan includes payment of property taxes and insurance, then it would only go up a little compared to rent increases. In contrast, renters cannot control how much their rent will go up every year.
When considering buying a home, it is important to look at many of the same things mentioned above in addition to the size and age of the house or condominium.
If you decide to buy, a good realtor can help locate the house or condominium, negotiate the final price, file the appropriate papers and arrange to close the sale. The realtor will receive a commission which will make the final price of the home more than the negotiated price, but if you do not know what needs to be done in order to close the sale, the realtor is essential.
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To accommodate people with disabilities, on request, auxiliary aides and services will be provided and reasonable modifications to policies and programs will be made.