Mark Slade - FirstTimeBuyer

The U.S. homeownership rate has fluctuated between 62% and 70% since the 1950s. Most young people begin their independent lives renting an apartment, maximizing lifestyle flexibility and minimizing the hefty upfront costs associated with purchasing a home. As they build careers, save money, and start families, many choose to buy a home, recognizing that homeownership as opposed to rental living better accommodates their growing family needs. Their needs may be better filled by a single-family house, condominium, townhouse, or duplex of their own. At the other end of the age spectrum are homeowners nearing retirement who may now desire to sell their homes, downsizing and avoiding the maintenance and other obligations of homeownership by renting. WHICH IS BEST? Is it better to rent or buy a home? Virtually all adults ask themselves this at some point as they form their goals and plan for the years ahead. Owning and renting each have their advantages, but what is best for you depends on your circumstances. Before you decide, here are some things to ask yourself. ? How long will you stay in the home? Each market is different, but whether the time you plan to spend in the house warrants its purchase can be predicted. In general terms, it takes four to seven years to break even on a home (i.e., where there has been enough appreciation to pay back the cost of the transaction and cost of ownership). If you are thinking about buying a home and selling it in two years, it is very unlikely that buying will be cheaper than renting. ? Do you think of or need your house as an investment in your retirement plan? Americans are used to their homes being a store for wealth they can liquidate in retirement as part of downsizing their lifestyle. In 2015, Gallop reported for the second straight year that more Americans named real estate as the best long-term investment, over stocks, gold, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds. Real estate leads with 31% of Americans choosing it, followed by stocks/mutual funds, at 25%. A cautionary note though — although home prices have


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