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Renting Versus Buying: A Guide to Help You Decide

(ARA) - Buying a home is one of the most important decisions a person can make. After years of living with parents, with college classmates in dorms, or alone in an apartment, the time may come that buying a house or condominium will improve one’s financial stability and sense of personal security.

“There are advantages and disadvantages to both purchasing a home for a primary residence and renting temporary living quarters,“ says Peter Palko, adjunct instructor at Brown Mackie College -- Findlay. “I recommend that buyers take a broader, more flexible approach to buying property by maintaining alignment with their short and long term personal and financial goals. Spend as much time and effort shopping for a mortgage as you do shopping for a house.”

While renting does have its benefits -- for example, fixed costs for the lease term, generally less work in property maintenance, and smaller upfront investment -- Palko believes that the advantages for buying outweigh the disadvantages.

“The bottom line is, a person will own something with equity growth potential, tax advantages and opportunity to build a respectable credit history,” says Palko. For the first-time buyer, Palko advises the following: “Educate yourself on the types of homes, market conditions and tax implications. Is it a ‘buyers’ or ‘sellers’ market? And finally, secure the help of a professional real estate agent -- a realtor who is a buyer’s agent who represents the interest of you, the buyer.”

Once you decide it is indeed time to buy a home, the next step is to decide where to live, and start saving. “Before deciding to buy a home, you need to take time to reflect and plan,” says Dan McClish, Director of the Business and Accounting Technology programs at Brown Mackie College -- Akron. “Make a list of the things in a house that are important to you.” These items can include the quality of school districts, proximity to stores, hospitals and access to public transportation.

Taking a detailed look at the overall market in the area is important. “If the market area is developing and showing signs of becoming a major commerce area in the near future, then it may be the best time to invest in a home,” says McClish. “However, if the real estate market has remained stable over time, or has decreased, then you may want to consider renting for now.”

Regarding finance, a first-time home buyer should start saving today by setting aside at least 10 percent of his or her income towards the down payment on a future home, according to McClish. “This will give you a purpose and a goal toward home ownership. Even if you are currently renting, chances are, you will eventually want to buy a home. As you aim toward saving for the down payment, start looking at areas in which you would like to live.”

One final piece of advice: “Do not make purchasing a home a last-minute decision,” says McClish. “Do some investigation, and it will pay off in the future.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Brown Mackie College -- Akron and Brown Mackie College -- Findlay are two of 16 school locations of the Brown Mackie College (www.brownmackie.edu) system of schools, which is dedicated to providing educational programs that prepare students for entry-level positions in a competitive, rapidly-changing workplace. Brown Mackie College schools offers associate’s degree, certificate and diploma programs in health sciences, business, information technology, legal studies and design technologies to over 9,000 students (as of fall 2006).

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