Should You Rent or Buy a Home? Depends on How Long You Stay in D.C.

Should You Rent or Buy a Home? Depends on How Long You Stay in D.C.
D.C. apartment leasing

D.C. apartment leasing

Mortgage rates continue to remain low, so you’re considering buying a home in the Washington, D.C., area instead of renting.

However, you’re not sure if it's the best move financially. Join the club.

It's a common situation many local renters find themselves in, as landlords increase rents in the metropolitan region and home inventories start to grow this fall.

Some new information may help you figure out what to do.

The real estate database company Zillow recently released research that shows it will take a D.C. buyer a little more than three years to “break even” on the benefits of buying versus renting.

What Zillow measured was the “the typical time it takes for the accruing costs of renting a home in a given area to exceed the costs of having purchased that same home, and it is calculated down to the neighborhood and ZIP code level.”

Researchers used many factors, including maintenance costs, transaction costs and tax savings.

On average, D.C. home owners can expect their homes to appreciate at a rate of 2.26 percent a year. That can vary greatly by neighborhood.

Rents, meanwhile, are expected to increase at a rate of 2.73 percent per year. That's something to consider when looking and budgeting for an apartment rental.

Does that make up your mind that it’s time to buy? If so, the next step is to find the right real estate agent for your needs. Here are three questions to ask yourself to make the process easier.

Where are Most of an Agent's Listings?

An agent is most likely going to show buyers homes he or she has listed. The agent's commission will be higher because the agent is both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent in the transaction.

How Many of the Agent’s Listings are Attractive to You?

An agent can bring the benefit of a much larger list of potential homes for the buyer to choose from if his network or agency has some pre-arranged sharing of commissions.

How Quickly Does the Agent Offer References?

Ask the referenced buyers questions about the negotiations, the closing of the deal, and what, if anything, they had to give up in the negotiations.


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For Many, Buying May Be More Affordable Than Renting in Charlotte

lodestone.JPG

for-sale (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
A recent survey shows buying a home may be more affordable than renting for many people in Charlotte. (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)

Real estate database company Zillow reports that in the most recent quarter of 2014, buying a home in Charlotte was about twice as affordable as renting.

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