Places to Live

There is a lot that you should consider when searching for your next home, including your budget, the location you would like to live within and the types of amenities that you want or need to have. By considering these factors ahead of time, you will likely be able to narrow down your options for your new home and make an informed decision on the type of housing you look for.

The type of property that will be best for you will largely depend on your circumstances, including whether or not you have a family and your income. Each type of housing has several drawbacks and advantages over other housing types. Furthermore, where you would like to live will also impact the type of housing that is available to you. When selecting a place to live, it is important to consider your commute to work or other activities as well as aspects about the local community, including activities, crime rates and other factors.

Renting Versus Buying

The first big decision that you will need to make when searching for a new place to live is whether you would rather rent or buy. For some, this may be an easy decision. For others, there are several factors that should be considered in order to gain a better view of the options that are available to you.

If you are considering the purchase of a home, it is important to consider the cost and time that you will need to commit to a home. Purchasing a home is a big decision that will require a long-term commitment and costs that include mortgages, property taxes, down payments, utilities and maintenance costs. Depending on the home you purchase, potential costs may also include repairs or renovations. However, the purchase of a home can be a fantastic investment. Today, numerous federal and state housing grants are available to make it easier than ever to become a homeowner.

If you plan to move frequently or if you are not yet looking to own a home, renting an apartment or a condominium may be a great option for you. Generally, renting a home is generally more cost-effective in the short term and you will have fewer expenses and responsibilities. Should you choose to rent, you will likely only be responsible for costs such as rent, utilities and, in some cases, rental insurance. Some of your utilities may be included within your rent. However, with rentals, you will be responsible for the cost of any damage that you cause to a unit.

In addition to rental properties, you may be able to find a rent-to-own agreement. These agreements assist prospective homebuyers in purchasing a home after a rental period. However, if you are interested in a rent-to-own property, it is crucial that you learn more about how these properties work, the potential benefits and the potential drawbacks before you begin to evaluate rent-to-own properties.

Condos Versus Apartments

While apartments and condominiums offer several of the same benefits, there are important differences between these two types of properties that you should be aware of. Apartments and condominiums are commonly located within large complexes and both of these types of properties offer residents several amenities. Depending on the property, these amenities may include:

  • Parking.
  • Updated appliances.
  • Washer and dryers within a unit or on the property.
  • Fitness centers.
  • Community pools.
  • Common areas.

While the amenities found within condos and apartments are similar, condominiums often include additional fees as these properties are generally considered to be a higher quality of housing. Condominiums are also often owned by individual owners rather than a corporation. Due to personal investment, owners will typically require condo tenants to maintain insurance and may charge other fees for other services, such as a carport or garage space parking.

Apartments tend to feel more standardized in comparison to condominiums. In fact, most units on a property will have the exact same layout. That is not always the case when it comes to condos as these properties commonly have a unique feel to them.

Studio Apartments

Studio apartments, commonly referred to as studio flats and efficiencies, are apartments that have a limited amount of space. These apartments include a main room, a bathroom and a kitchen. Studios do not include separate rooms for bedrooms.

What studios lack in size they make up for in costs. The primary benefit of having a studio apartment is cheaper rent, utilities and upkeep. Therefore, this type of apartment may be ideal for single individuals on a limited budget. In fact, studios are commonly rented by young college students.

Manufactured and Mobile Homes

A mobile home is a factory-built home that can initially be moved from one location to another. However, the name can be deceitful as it is often difficult or impossible to move a manufactured home once the home has rested in a specific lot for a lengthy period of time.

Unless you own your own land, your mobile home will likely sit within a mobile home park. If this is the case, you would be responsible for a lot rent fee each month and may have additional fees based upon the park and services offered. Living in manufactured homes is commonly cheaper than both rentals and purchasing a home as lot rents are typically far lower than the average rental costs within an area.

Buying a Home

If you are interested in purchasing a home, it is important to create a realistic budget for yourself and determine what your current debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is. Your DTI is the difference between your income and the amount of monthly expenses you pay each month. This can help you determine how much house you can afford.

In many cases, you may need to provide a down payment of up to 20 percent of the home’s value upfront to obtain a mortgage. However, there are government programs that you could qualify for to reduce your down payment requirements, such as an FHA loan. Purchasing a home has other upfront costs that you should consider too, including:

  • Application fees.
  • Appraisal fees.
  • Inspection fees.
  • Closing costs.

You will also need to pay homeowner’s insurance and property taxes on a regular basis in addition to mortgage payments. Therefore, it is crucial that you consider your personal finances before deciding on the purchase of a home. Additionally, it is essential that you review your credit score and make any improvements necessary before applying for a loan in order to obtain the best rates possible.