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What Should We Do? Buy? Sell? Rent?

What Should We Do? Buy? Sell? Rent?

By Chris Petry

One of my favorite YouTube shows is Good Mythical Morning, starring Rhett McLaughlin and Lincoln “Link” Neal. If you’re not familiar with said comedy duo or the show, it’s kind of like an online variety show, most famous for their often-times absurd food challenges, sometimes featuring A-list celebrity guests. One of the reoccurring bits is the Will It challenge, wherein they attempt to see if unlikely ingredients can be inserted into rather typical food. For example, crickets, will it hotdog? For further clarification, can you make a hotdog out of crickets appetizing? Probably not, but Rhett and Link will do the tasting so we don’t have to.
Today, we’re going to play a little game of Will It with real estate. Okay, not quite. The basic structure of their particular challenge doesn’t quite work in this context so we’re going to rename it, Should I? Should I do this or should I do that? For answers to those burning questions, read on ahead.
Should I rent or Should I buy?
Well, this is a complicated question and there are a lot of variables to consider when posing it. Being honest, there are numerous pluses and minuses to either scenario. It really just depends on where you’re at in your life personally and financially and whether or not it would make life more or less convenient for your particular situation.
Are you tired of rent increases? Well, then owning a home might be the way. Most mortgages are fixed, which means your monthly payment will remain largely unchanged for the life of the loan. Of course, escrowed items such as taxes and insurance can marginally affect the monthly number from year to year but for the most part, what you pay will be consistent time and time again. While controlled rent apartments do exist, they’re relatively rare. It’s more likely you’ll see an increase should you renew your lease. Buying a home is a way around that unpredictability.
Do you like mowing the lawn? How about plumbing? Ever replaced a breaker or recarpeted the stairs? Well, when you own a home, that’s all on you. Of course, you can hire a licensed professional to do the work but the financial burden rests firmly on your shoulders. With a rental, these services (within reason) are usually provided by the owner.
There are scenarios of homeownership where basic maintenance, landscaping, and upkeep may be covered by an outside party such as membership in an HOA. HOAs, or Home Ownership Associations, allow you to be part of a community where you hold the deed of ownership but pay monthly or annual fees to relinquish the responsibility for say, shoveling your sidewalk in wintertime. While that may free up some time, most HOAs will require periodic reviews of your property that may result in warnings or even fines if something isn’t up to par. So, you’ll need to be more diligent with any repairs or cosmetic defects that are not covered under the contract with your HOA.

If you like the freedom to make repairs and upgrades to your property without the consent of an owner or organization, private homeownership might be for you. If you’d prefer someone else be responsible for said work, renting might be for you. If a hybrid situation seems like a comfortable middle ground to pursue, owning but belonging to a homeowner’s association might be a consideration.
One of the most glaring impediments to homeownership is affordability. However, there are a number of special loans you may qualify for. Are you a first-time homebuyer? There’s a special loan for that. Are you a veteran? There’s a special loan for that. Check with a real estate professional to see what you may qualify for. If you’re more comfortable with a rental situation for the time being, then by all means go for it. However, if you’d like a little more freedom, stability, and the opportunity to create personal wealth, few things beat homeownership.

Should I Sell My Home?
In general, yes. There are a few things to consider first. Why are you thinking about selling? Want to down-size, upsize, right-size? Go for it. Just be cognizant of what’s going on in the market, what options are available to you, and what things may need to be addressed about your home, finances, or future real estate needs first. It’s always a good idea to consult a real estate professional to review your personal situation and request a home value evaluation before making a final decision.
If you’re looking for a more pointed answer, such as “should I sell right now,” the answer is still yes. You want to know why? We can wait forever for the most optimal conditions and they may never come. If you’re concerned by the much-publicized “high” interest rates, consider this: these rates are, historically, nowhere near as high as rates can go. Rates have been a lot higher, even in the last 40 years. If rates decline, and they likely will, you can always refinance your loan later.
If selling your home is preventing you from a major relocation, job, or family opportunity, it might be worth comparing the risks of holding out versus selling and determining which risk is most worth taking in the long run.

Should I Remodel?
Remodeling is never a bad idea if you want to potentially increase the selling value of your home. Personally, I feel remodeling projects are a good thing whether or not you plan to resell in the near future. A fresh coat of paint, a refinished hardwood floor, new carpeting, new cabinetry, or built-in shelving for an awe-inspiring book collection, can be real mood-boosters. However, keep in mind that projects can get pricey and time consuming. If you plan to do work yourself, realize it’s a commitment. If you plan to hire someone, you’ll likely be spending more money but you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing that the work is being completed by an insured professional.

Should I Use a REALTOR?
You’re probably familiar with the term FSBO, or For Sale by Owner. There have certainly been successful sales over the years that utilized that model. However, having a licensed and well-trained real estate professional in your corner is NEVER a bad idea. Why? It’s their job! They’ve seen it all. Every scenario you can imagine. They are aware of what’s going on in the market and they have access to the most up-to-date tools and resources to market and sell your home. Plus, a REALTOR and, by extension, their brokerage has a certain responsibility. In the unlikely scenario there’s a problem, they’re in your corner to help right the ship. If you’re representing yourself in a real estate transaction, all the risk and liability are your own. Finally, the time commitment and expertise required for a proper negotiation, may be outside your capability. Why not entrust the paper work, back and forth, and communication with an agent? It will save you a lot of time and potential headache.

Should I Choose a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty Agent?
Absolutely. Not only is Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty among the most entrusted and nationally-recognized brands, its REALTORS are among the most educated, tech and marketing savvy, and accomplished in the business. If you’re buying or selling a home, you want the best representation you can get.