The Ups & Downs Of Home Ownership

For the majority of people, home ownership is the goal in life. There is something so very secure about the feeling of being a homeowner, of knowing that you have your own place in the world that is just yours. You don’t have to worry about what your landlord will think if you decide to put up artwork and you can make decisions regarding your own decor like never before. It’s no wonder ownership is the goal for so many people.

Of course… then there’s the downside.

The truth is that home ownership is not a cure-all, a guarantee that life from this point onwards will be simple. There are moments when a homeowner will desperately wish for the freedom of renting again; perhaps even to the point they wish they were back living with their parents.

So if you’re contemplating your first purchase – or have already bought, and just want to know others go through the same range of emotions as you do – then it’s worth taking the time to examine the ups and the downs.

UP: Your Status Is Improved

Checklist, Check, List, Marker, Checked, Mark, Writing

[Photo courtesy of TeroVesalainen/pixabay.com]

There is something about the mere idea of being a homeowner that makes people take you a little bit more seriously. You have proven that you are able to convince a bank to lend you money, so you must be a serious, reliable person. You have undertaken a huge responsibility, and there’s no doubt about it: you will be treated differently – better – because of it.

You’ll find it easier to secure finance in the future, be it for a car or poor credit homeowner loans to spend on household renovations. You will also be offered preferable rates by insurance companies. So yes, there’s definitely a status boost to being a homeowner.

DOWN: You’re Responsible If Something Goes Wrong

If you have a problem with an aspect of a house while renting, it’s not really your problem. If the boiler breaks down or a window needs replacing, your entire involvement is based around calling the landlord and then waiting for them to do the work.

If you’re a homeowner, you have to rectify these – often expensive – problems yourself. It’s not an enjoyable experience. You have to learn to have an emergency fund on hand for those sudden, unavoidable household repairs, as well as the knowledge that you can’t just move out if the problems become intolerable.

UP: The Sense Of Permanence

Real Estate, Mortgage Bond, House Sales, Estate Agent

[Photo courtesy of stevepb/pixabay.com]

Even if you live in a rented home for a long period of time, it is rarely with a feeling of permanence. You are always subject to the whims of the landlord. They might decide to sell, to raise your rent, or just to evict you to use the house for their own purposes.

As a homeowner, providing you pay your mortgage, the only person whose whims you are subject to is you. You can truly put down roots, become a part of the community, become friendly with your neighbors. You know you’re going to be there for awhile, which can be reassuring and help to provide a sense of safety

DOWN: You Can’t Move Quickly

When you rent, the only thing holding you back is the notice period you have to give – other than that, you’re free to move as you please. If you get a job offer that requires a cross-country move, you can take it without a second thought.

As a homeowner, you don’t have that luxury. That same permanence that is such a benefit in some ways, suddenly becomes cloying and restrictive. While there’s always a chance you will be lucky and be able to rush through a quick sale of your home, the reality is that house sales take around six weeks if you’re lucky, as well as the possible delays with the legal side of things. If things don’t progress as quickly as you would hope, there’s a chance you will have to turn down a lucrative job offer solely because your house won’t sell – and that’s no fun at all.

Overall, home-ownership is the goal because of the safety and security it provides – but to pretend it’s all smooth sailing is to misrepresent the reality somewhat. So enjoy the ups and try to survive the downs as best as you can. Keep a small emergency fund for all of those repairs, and ensure you keep the house in good order and condition in case you one day need a quick sale. With these steps, you should be able to ensure you have far more ups than downs.

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Making Home Dreams Come True

So the time has come to own your own home.  You have had enough of renting and the thought of being able to call a place your own fills you with excitement.  If you are about to embark on the path towards homeownership here are some things you are definitely going to need to know to make sure your first home is a good one.

  1. Know your budget – let’s start with the basics.  How much can you afford to spend on your home?  We all dream of the big beach front property but for most of us this just isn’t a reality.  Be honest with yourself about how much you can afford to borrow based on your earnings and savings and stick to the budget.  Remember your budget needs to include the price of the house, any renovations if you are going for a project buy and of course all the legal fees. Do the math before you even start the search and it will avoid a lot of heartache when the perfect house is outside of your means.
  2. Be needy – really consider what you need from a property. This isn’t just the size but also how your lifestyle will work within the properties you are looking at.  Do you need a spare room for when the family comes to stay? Do you spend more time in the kitchen or living room? Do you need a bath or will just a shower work.  Is a garden a must or can you live with a balcony? All of these and more are valid questions to ask yourself so that you can steer your realtor towards those homes that are going to best suit your needs.
  3. Clean up your act – there are lots of poor credit home loans on the market so don’t let a poor credit history stand in your way of home-ownership.  However if you can clean up your credit score you have more options when it comes to the type of mortgage deal that suits you.  You can dramatically improve your score by paying your bills on time and dealing with bad debt history.  For more information and advice check out Equifax.
  4. Bargain hunt – if you want a bigger house on a budget why not consider a project buy as a way of getting more for your money. Project buys are houses that need a little or a lot of work to them but because of that are sold off at much less than they are worth.  If you have time, patience and some good DIY skills you could save a fortune and add value to your home just by fixing it up.
  5. Plan ahead – unless you have a really good income or family money a mortgage is normally taken over a very long period of time, which means you need to consider your future earnings as well as your cash flow today.  Plan ahead as best you can for a financially sound future.

Home ownership dreams – image from sheknows.com

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Home Is Where The Heart Is- So Choose a Good One

There are so many things to think about when you’re buying a house. The size, location, budget and a million other things will all come into play. We all have a wishlist of the kinds of things we want in a home, here are some of the things you could add to yours when you’re going to viewings.

[Photo courtesy of /pexels.com]

A Good State of Repair

While properties which show signs of disrepair will hugely lower the price, don’t be too tempted by this unless you’re planning on doing a full renovation. Keep an eye on signs of pests, structural damage or other issues that will be very expensive to put right. Even if things look ok, it’s worth having a survey or home inspection done. Companies like Solex Group professional home inspection offer this, it can give you peace of mind and make sure you know you’ve made the right decision about a property. The last thing you want is to be stung with pricey repairs a few months down the line where you overlooked something.

The Area

You’re not just moving into a home, but an area or community. Make sure you do plenty of research on this before buying a home to make sure it matches up with what you want. You could look into things like crime rates and unemployment levels. You could see what parks and amenities are nearby, whether there are good transport links and what the schools are like. It’s easy to be bamboozled with a gorgeous property especially if you’ve found what you think is ‘the one’. But you can never change the area you’ve moved into, so make sure this is as good as the house.

The Garden

While you can landscape and change the garden itself, the size is something you’re stuck with. In fact, if you want to extend the home later down the line this will take space from the garden and make it even smaller. Therefore you need to make sure the size is something you’re going to be happy with. If you have kids and pets, is there enough space for them to run around and play? If you have a big family and like to host garden parties, will there be enough room for everyone?

Eco-Friendly Features

We all know how important it is to reduce our carbon footprint, and making changes at home is one of the biggest ways we can go about this. Therefore properties which have eco-friendly features are certainly worth considering over those that don’t. Solar panels, cavity wall and loft insulation and energy efficient windows and doors for example will reduce the amounts of fossil fuels we use. And as a bonus, your energy bills will be cheaper too. It’s something to ask when you view properties, that way if you’re tied between two and aren’t sure what to pick the eco-friendly home has an advantage.

What kinds of things are on your checklist when you’re looking for your next home?

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To Buy Or Not To Buy: Should You Rent Equipment For Your Big Projects?

From the smallest of home renovation projects to big new build constructions, you find yourself faced with one particular problem.

Well, okay, you find yourself faced with many problems. You find yourself waking up in the morning to a light layer of dust over everything, and wondering why you ever began this project. You find yourself visiting friends, staring at their walls – without holes in them! – and daydreaming of living in such a place. We all reach a point where the downsides seem to be so substantial, there’s no possible…

File:Mini-digger.jpg

[Photo courtesy of Samson1north/wikipedia.org]

… Hang on; that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. Okay. Let’s refocus. No more whining; we all know the benefits of home-style construction and why it’s worth it. We live with our choices and embrace them – even if they can be a little problematic at times!

The issue I was originally referring to was much more simplistic. No matter the scope of your project, you’ve probably encountered it: should you buy or rent expensive machinery?

[Photo courtesy of Mark Schellhase/wikipedia.org]

This applies to everything, from a humble power washer when sprucing up your home’s exterior – right through to an excavator for a garden project. Hiring can seem the easiest answer, but it can also be prohibitively expensive. The choice is usually an individual one, but if you’re struggling to make a decision, here’s a few pros and cons on the hiring/buying debate. I’ll take it from the perspective of buying for yourself, for the sake of clarity.

PRO: It’s yours.

The most obvious one, but an important aspect to consider. If you do something to a piece of machinery you have rented – an accident, or misuse that results in a breakdown – you could be in for a massive bill. With your own machine, any potential mistakes that you make are your own. It will be cheaper to repair an item than to compensate a hire company for any damage that results from your use of it. Then when it is repaired, you can still use it free of charge when you own it.

cut, cut grass, garden

[Photo courtesy of pixabay/pexels.com]

CON: You’re responsible for repair and maintenance.

Even if you decide the initial purchase price is cheaper than renting on a cost-per-use level, that’s not the end of the road. With renting, if a piece of machinery breaks down, it’s not your problem. You can hand it back to be fixed, providing you’re not the one who broke it.

If you own it, however, any breakdowns are going to be yours to deal with. Factor this in when you look at the purchase price.

As an example, let’s say you want to hire a mini digger for a big garden project. Rental is going to cost you $200 per day. You anticipate you’re going to need it for around seven days. The cost to buy your own is $1000 – a saving of $400. Seems an easy choice, until you factor in potential repair costs in future.

There are ways and means of lowering the cost. Performing routine servicing will keep an item running as it should. Replacing parts from a reputable retailer such as Woods equipment and the like can also insure against future issues. There should also be a warranty that means any issue not of your fault will bounce back to the manufacturer. But it’s still worth keeping in mind.

PRO: You can expand future projects thanks to it.

Staying with the example of the mini digger, you might have planned to use it for one particular project. That means it’s going to be surplus to requirements for anything else, right? So hiring might be more expensive, but at least you don’t then have to store a digger you have no other use for it.

You will probably find that you do find a use for it. The scope of your existing projects can change and expand because you now have a piece of machinery that makes more innovative ideas possible.

CON: You run the risk of not being able to take it back.

If you hire something, you always have the option of returning it if it’s not a good fit. You might choose something that isn’t up to the task at hand; or even an item you just don’t feel comfortable using.

When you buy, you’re stuck with it – within reason. All the usual buying laws apply to you, but you have to be careful to read the small print to ensure you can return an item. Some sales policies – especially for larger machinery – may only allow you to return an item for store credit, partial refunds or not at all if the item has been used. Be aware of your rights in case something doesn’t work as you hoped.

PRO: You can hire it out to friends and family.

One way of keeping a piece of machinery running is to make a little money off it. There’s nothing stopping you from hiring it out to your nearest and dearest for a small fee to help contribute to maintenance.

CON: You might not use it.

Cement Mixer

[Photo courtesy of Peter Griffin/publicdomainpictures.net]

There is always the risk that you will buy something, planning many future projects… and then never feel the need to touch it. If buying is cheaper than renting, then this still might be worth it – it all depends on the storage space you have available.

For smaller items like pressure washers and wallpaper strippers, you probably have a corner of your attic that you can use. For large machinery, then it might be a little trickier to give over space for something from which you’re not getting much use.

PRO: You can always sell it.

However, if the above happens, you always have the option of selling an item on. Returning to the mini digger: you saved $400 when you bought it, paying $1000. If you then sell it on, even for a small amount like $200, your saving goes to $600. Providing you get a good deal on the purchase price, this is definitely something to keep in mind.

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