Rent versus Buy

This week, real estate website Trulia released its Summer 2012 Rent vs. Buy Report, which analyzes the average cost of renting versus buying for all homes on the market in America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Trulia’s research factors in all cost components including transaction costs, taxes and opportunity costs, and assumes a 3.5 percent mortgage, itemized deductions at the 25 percent federal tax bracket and a seven-year time horizon.


The report found that homeownership is cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest U.S. metros by a wide margin, but does note that relative affordability varies by location. For example, the largest savings can be found in Detroit, where it is 70 percent cheaper to buy a home than renting one. On the other end of the spectrum is Honolulu where it is only 24 percent cheaper to buy a home than rent.For a while now, rising rents have made buying a home more attractive. With interest rates at historic lows and home prices more affordable than in years past, homeownership makes sense from a financial standpoint and also offers advantages that simply can’t be attained through renting such as a fixed monthly housing cost and the ability to earn equity in their home.


To view a full list of the rent vs. buy cost considerations for the 100 largest metros, click here: Trulia Rent vs Buy Summer 2012 Full List


2011 Cost VS Value Report

Realtors and most HGTV watchers know that updated kitchens and baths sell homes.  But what about other projects?  If you have some money to reinvest back into your home, and are considering which projects will give you the most bang for your buck, take a look at Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost VS Value report.  They compare the average cost for 35 of the most popular remodeling projects with the value that those projects retain at the time of resale.

In the DC Metropolitan area, some of the top performers are: replacing your front door with a steel door (for midrange homes), replacing windows with new, energy efficient vinyl windows; and replacing garage doors.

The magazine seems to indicate that you may not recoup every penny you put into your project, but as a Realtor and former property flipper, I will tell you that you CAN earn back your investment — even profit–from certain repairs.  The trick is to know which items to improve, and to what extent.  Not sure what those are?  Invite a Realtor into your home to get their advice.  Or ask me in the comments section and I’ll give you my opinion.

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

It’s that time of year again…tax time! If you purchased a home in the last year, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Check with your tax accountant, but you may be able to deduct the following items:

· Mortgage Interest Payments: Mortgage interest is usually deductible on a primary residence, as well as on a second home that meets certain requirements.

· Mortgage Insurance Payments: aka MIP, PMI

· Points (Loan Discount or Mortgage Origination Fees): The points that you paid to your lender upon purchase of a home, or even the points that were paid by the seller on the buyer’s behalf, may be tax deductible as a prepayment of interest if certain basic requirements are met.

· Property Taxes: These annual taxes are based on the assessed value of the property and may lead to a considerable deduction each year.

· Home Equity: The interest paid on home equity loans could mean tax benefits that are not available through other credit sources.

Once you get your big refund check, you might want to consider putting it towards a home renovation project that you will not only enjoy for years to come, but help boost your resale value! Check out my next blog post with Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report information.

2010 Best Places To Live

According to Money Magazine, some of the cities in the Washington Metropolitan area are among the best places to live in the US:

Columbia and Ellicott City, MD tied for SECOND PLACE!!!

Gaithersburg, MD ranked #25

Centreville, VA ranked #30

Rockville, MD ranked #31

Alexandria, VA ranked #47

Money Magazine took a look at population, unemployment rates, crime, things to do, and housing.

What do you think?