Finding a home to rent in NE Florida right now is like finding a needle in a haystack. Home sales are on the rise and landlords everywhere are selling their homes to cash out the equity. That means even the homes that are for rent are often being sold and renters are left to house hunt again. What most renters don’t realize is that they might actually be better off buying a home in today’s market than continuing to try and rent, even with home prices on the rise. They think they can’t because they don’t have a down payment, they can’t afford the mortgage, and they won’t be able to find a house in the current market. While these can be true, they aren’t always true and oftentimes renters are shocked that they actually can save money by buying.
The Down Payment
Yes, you do need a down payment in order to purchase a home. That’s true. However, it might not be as much money as you think it needs to be. More and more loan products are offering lower down payments as well as down payment assistance. You could potentially move into a home for as little as 5% down in some cases. While there are plenty of mitigating factors, meeting with a Realtor who has a good relationship with a lender can get you started on the right path. You might learn that with just a few months of focused savings, you could have enough for a down payment!
The Mortgage Payment
While the prices of homes are going up, the mortgage rates are going down. That means the amount it costs to finance your loan is lower than it has been in years. You might find that your monthly mortgage payment is actually less than your monthly rent payment. If that’s not enough, your payment will remain the same for the length of your loan (unless you refinance). Your rent may go up at any time in your lease. The certainty of being able to budget your monthly payment is a huge win, and you can finally put your money towards something that’s yours.
Finding a Home
It’s true. The current market’s inventory is very low. Finding a home is difficult, but not impossible. Having a Realtor on your side makes a huge difference. Sure, you can search Zillow and other home-viewing websites, but most of the time those listings are under contract by the time you even find them. A Realtor is often able to learn about homes before they go under contract, getting you in the door sooner. A Realtor can also research homes that are more likely to sell and make inquiries on your behalf. It’s a challenge but our agents are finding homes for clients everyday.
It’s worth finding out if buying a home is a possibility for you. Start by taking a look at your credit score. You can use many free websites to learn yours, and some credit cards even provide a free credit score. Then, meet with a Realtor and a lender who can help you understand what you can afford and in what areas you might begin your search. You might need to take a few months to save a down payment and get your credit score in order, but a year from now you’ll be glad you did!