The “American Dream” has always been the idea of owning your own home. In 2019, this dream is no different; however, for many, the idea of buying over renting is intimidating and seems unfeasible. Renting has its place; however, the security and comfort of your own home is beyond compare. If you are currently weighing your options whether to rent or own - or think that owning isn’t an option for you - consider these reasons why homeownership may actually be for you, as well as how Blueprints can help you achieve this goal.
You can save so much money
Paying rent is like throwing money into a fire pit - you have to constantly feed the fire in order to stay warm. If you stop feeding the fire, the flame will go out. Though you have to pay a monthly mortgage payment, buying your own home means there is an end date to those payments - even if that end date is 20-30 years down the road. This way a buyer can have the confidence that they’re paying a monthly installment to invest in their home, compared to just paying rent forever.
“When you own your home, you are investing your hard-earned money into your own asset,” said Jessica Hajek-Bates, director of Blueprints. “ When you rent, your hard-earned money goes to a landlord.”
Mortgage costs stay the same while rent costs can rise
If you get a fixed-mortgage on your home purchase, while the mortgage itself never changes amounts, your monthly payment may increase as taxes and insurance can be included as part of your monthly payment to the bank. As a renter, unless you are in a rent-controlled building or neighborhood, there is no reason why your landlord can’t increase your rent every time your lease is up. This risk can cause a lot of monthly budget instability, as mortgage and rent payments are typically the largest cost tenants have each month.
An additional monthly cost also includes insurance. Both owners and renters have insurance (though insurance isn’t required for renters like it is for owners), and that fee can change very slightly year over year. And while owners have property taxes that renters do not, and property taxes can rise as the home appreciates, this fee is often tax deductible.
Think you can’t afford it? Think it’s easier to just rent? Think again
Many people often think that they cannot afford a home - thus leaving renting as the only option. Despite low incomes, poor credit scores or fear of the real estate industry, most people are capable of owning a home.
“We have found that people are often afraid of the unknown, intimidated by the steps and terminology involved in the home purchase process and believe their credit score is too low to secure a mortgage,” said Hajek-Bates.
Finding a reputable buyer’s real estate agent is a great place to start. Buyer’s agents help home buyers find the right property, negotiate offers and coordinate home inspections. In addition, new balloon rates have fixed payments that are discussed before the final papers are signed to ensure that even if new rates are imposed, the homeowner can still pay for the property. By educating oneself on what to expect when looking to purchase a home, one can more so guarantee that they’re making the choice best for them.
“Our counselors know what lenders require, emphasize affordability and give guidance to make sure residents are mortgage-ready,” said Hajek-Bates, when asked how Blueprints can serve as a guide to home buyers. “We guide residents throughout the entire process from credit repair, to pre-purchase, to sales agreements, to closing on a home and preventative maintenance.”
Your home... your choices and rules
Every rental agreement has a set of rules the lessee must follow - often including that the rental must be returned in the same exact condition as it was given. That means that moving out involves cleaning expenses, as well as repairing any small holes in the wall from hanging items. Security deposits cover some instances, but not all and the lessee often has to fork out a lot of money or risk having a black spot on their credit score.
“Home ownership brings tangible benefits such as a sense of stability, belonging to a community and pride of ownership,” said Hajek-Bates.
When it is your home, it is your rules. Paint the walls your favorite shade and hang anything on your walls without retribution. The freedom to change flooring and fixtures is simply unmatched by the confines of a rental agreement. Freedom is powerful and owning a home can give it to you. Be proud of the way you chose for your home to look.
Blueprints’ Home Ownership Center offers free appointments with HUD-Certified Housing Counselors trained to assist area residents of all household incomes with the credit repair and home buying process or the foreclosure prevention process in both Greene and Washington Counties.
For homebuyers, counselors work with residents to determine what they can afford, review their credit scores, determine how credit scores can be improved when needed, discuss options for down payment assistance and explore pre-qualification for suitable loan programs.
For existing homeowners, counselors work with residents to help them refinance when needed and to enroll them in programs designed to prevent foreclosures.
Blueprints’ Home Ownership Center receives funding through Washington County’s Local Share Account, the United Way of Washington County, PNC Bank, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Blueprints is a local nonprofit serving Washington and Greene County who is dedicated to “shaping futures by equipping and educating people to improve their lives.” Their homeowner program is no different - they’re looking to help the local community stabilize and secure your homes. From safety for kids to stability for families, they can help everyone establish a place to live and thrive.
For more information on Blueprints, their homeowner or other programs, or to see how they can help you, visit myblueprints.org or call 724-225-9550. Your forever home is waiting, let them help you find it!
This article is brought to you by Blueprints