I have been a renter in the valley for more years than I care to count up. I am now getting worried that rents are going up and I will not be able to afford to rent a place in the location and with the size and quality that I like. I have thought about buying a home, off and on, but I have not saved enough to put 10 to 20 percent down on anything I would like to live in. I am reading that many people are buying and their monthly payment is now less than their rent. How can I get in on this?
Dear Rented Too Long,
Living in a resort area has some of its own unique attributes, where people will pay more to be in a smaller place if the location is great for their favorite sport. Also, living in a resort area has lulled a lot of people into thinking they will just rent for a while because they might not be here for long. We have all discovered that we truly come for the winters and end up staying for the summers and the wonderful friendships that are made in our valley. Therefore, taking a long look at what your housing needs and wants are is an immensely important subject. As a rule of thumb, it is better to own then to rent, once you are committed to living in a certain area and you have a stable income. There are always exceptions, but most of the time the benefits are numerous:
• Being able to control your own housing payments.
• Having improvements you do to the property actually add to your equity.
• Having potential tax write offs for interest and improvements.
• Experiencing the pleasure and pride of owning your own home.
The good (or bad) news is that you are not alone. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, the percentage of Americans who rent rose to 35 percent in 2012. The same study says 27 percent of renters now pay more than half of their income on rent. The truly good news is that it is possible to purchase a primary residence with 3.5 percent down, or less. If you did not read Chris Neuswanger’s article in the paper March 8, look it up and read it now. It goes into quite a bit of detail about three great government loans for owner occupied properties. Another consideration is location. Please contact a reputable Realtor today and let them help you find a lender so that you can determine exactly what you can afford. Then enjoy the Realtor’s expertise in showing you the opportunities that await you. I would not delay, as interest rates are still good and housing prices have not recovered yet but both are on the rise.
Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.