Housing: Rent vs. Buy | WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU

What Works Best For You:  Rent or Buy?

  • Let’s discuss housing:  rent vs. buy?
  • Your financial position and lifestyle will help determine what’s best for you.
  • If you choose to buy a home, how much you have saved and how long you’ll stay in one place are the biggest factors.
  • Owning a home provides:
    • Your home will generally increase in value
    • There are tax advantages
    • You can cash in on appreciation
    • You’re in charge of what you can do
    • It provides a sense of belonging and community
  • The true cost of home ownership is higher than many anticipate.
  • The question is, can you financially afford the buy a home?
  • Do you have enough money to set aside for unplanned expenses or temporary unemployment?
  • Will home ownership impact your lifestyle?
  • Renting a home provides:
    • More flexibility
    • Less financial burden
    • No responsibility for maintenance or repairs
    • No property taxes or homeowner’s insurance
    • Some utilities may be included
  • Whichever the case, choose what works best for you.

Housing: Rent vs. Buy

Rent vs. Buy – You Need a Place to Live


  • How long you plan on staying in your home has a huge impact on your decision.
  • When buying a house, it’s important that you plan on staying in the home a good length of time.
  • Moreover, you need time to reduce your debt and to allow for meaningful price appreciation.
  • If you’re planning to stay less than 3 years, it’s likely that buying a home will prove to be financially questionable.
  • You will also pay capital gains taxes on the sale if you hold it for less than 2 years.
  • Renting means you can move without penalty each time your lease ends.
  • Conversely, renting is temporary and is often subject to 30 day’s notice.
  • As a renter, falling home values and paying property taxes will not impact you.
  • In any case, the biggest myth about renting is that you’re “throwing away money” every month.
  • Not so – you need a place to live.
  • Whether you buy or rent a home, each has their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Still uncertain – try this calculator to see the difference it might have on your long-term finances:  SHOULD I BUY OR RENT A HOME CALCULATOR

Interesting Tidbit:  U.S. HOUSING COUNTRYWIDE

As Published byHOWMUCH.NET – Contrary to popular belief about rising home prices in major coastal hubs like New York City and San Francisco, conditions for home buyers are generally a little friendlier on the West Coast and the East Coast compared to the South or Great Plains.  In the South and Great Plains, it is still significantly cheaper to rent than to buy, often leading to savings of 33% or more on housing costs.

     Top 10 States/Territories Where Renting is Cheaper Than Buying

  • Puerto Rico – 85% cheaper to rent
  • Montana – 42% cheaper to rent
  • Wyoming – 40% cheaper to rent
  • Alabama – 39% cheaper to rent
  • Kentucky – 35% cheaper to rent
  • Louisiana – 34% cheaper to rent
  • North Dakota – 33% cheaper to rent
  • South Dakota – 33% cheaper to rent
  • Mississippi – 33% cheaper to rent
  • Rhode Island – 31% cheaper to rent

Housing: Rent vs. Buy

Let’s Run the Numbers

Housing: Rent vs. Buy | LET’S CALCULATE THE COSTS

    • Let’s determine the costs whether should buy or rent a house.
    • Enter your details into this MORTGAGE CALCULATOR to estimate your monthly mortgage payment with taxes, fees and insurance.
    • What is your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is one of the determining factor when applying for a loan?  DTI CALCULATOR.
    • Buyers should not overlook some additional, hidden costs of ownership.
    • Once you own a home, you must budget for the cost of property taxes, insurance, and regular maintenance.
    • Consider the potential for unforeseen expenses, such as replacing a heating system or a roof.
    • Not enough for a 20% down payment, then you likely have to make private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments.
    • When purchasing a condominium, townhome or a single-family home in a planned development, you will most likely have homeowner or maintenance fees.
    • A low credit score could force you to pay a higher interest rate, and therefore pay more in interest.
    • If you’re not sure if you’re ready to buy a home, then check out this calculator:  HOW MUCH CAN I AFFORD.
    • Renting offers fewer upfront costs and paperwork.
    • If your landlord reports rent payments to the credit bureaus, you have more time to build your credit.
    • You don’t pay for maintenance, repairs.
    • If you’re thoughtful about your financial situation and your future, you can’t make a wrong decision.


Housing: Rent vs. Buy

Tax Credits Will Make a Difference


  • First, tax credits will offset some of the costs when buying a home.
  • However, recent tax law changes have lowered the cap on the amount of mortgage interest that can be deducted.
  • Before the tax laws, homeowners could deduct interest on $1,000,000 of debt on a primary or secondary home.
  • Now, for mortgages taken out after the new laws went into effect, deductibility is limited to the interest on up to $750,000 of debt on a primary or secondary home.
  • Interest paid on home equity loans or lines of credit is still deductible—provided that the money is used for substantial improvements to the home and that the total home equity debt plus mortgage is under the $750,000 cap.
  • Homeowners must itemize their tax deductions in order to receive the benefit.
  • Should your overall itemized deductions be less than the standard deduction for your situation, you may not be able to use this mortgage deduction.



Housing: Rent vs. Buy

  • Homeownership brings intangible benefits such as a sense of stability and pride of ownership.
  • It also brings the tangible ones of tax advantages and equity.
  • Consider the down payment and associated closing costs; do you have enough funds?
  • Will you have enough money leftover as an emergency fund to pay for unexpected repairs or loss of employment?
  • Renting offers flexibility, predictable monthly expenses, and no responsibility for maintenance or repairs.
  • Renting may not make any money, but you’re not going to explicitly lose any either.
  • Contrary to popular belief, renting doesn’t mean you’re “throwing away money”.
  • Ultimately, the decision depends on your individual circumstances and what works best for you.



Posted on April 1, 2020 at 10:53 pm
Kathy Absher | Posted in Buying vs. Renting a Home | Tagged


Keep Your Emotions In Check


  • If you are looking to sell your home, then imagine yourself in the buyer’s shoes.
  • Most importantly, stay focused on the business aspect when selling your home.
  • Though it can be time-consuming and frustrating, just focus on preparing for the sale.
  • Don’t skimp on the essentials when selling your home, and disclose all issues to your Realtor.
  • At times, it may feel like an invasion of privacy because strangers will come into your home and poke around your closets and cabinets.  Just expect it and keep your emotions in check.

And now on with your key tips…

Declutter Your Home


Sell Your Home – Tip #1 | IT’S TIME TO DE-CLUTTER 

  • First of all, remove all knickknacks, toys, momentos, personal photos, and other personal belongings that can clutter the living areas, etc.
  • Keep in mind that clean spaces will make your home look brighter and more open.
  • Buyers will also have fewer distractions as they walk through the home.
  • Research the 10 Sneaky Ways to Hide the Clutter.
  • When possible, don’t store these items in your closets. Potential buyers will open all the closet doors as they tour your home.
  • If you have a lot of clutter and find it hard to get organized, consider temporarily renting storage space for some of your belongings.
  • At the very least, stack everything neatly in your garage and away from the path of travel.
  • Decluttering also applies to lots of furniture or bulky items.  For helpful tips, check out How to Declutter Your Home, Room by Room.
  • Minimizing what’s in the home simply opens it up, thus making it appear larger.

It’s Important to Take Care of Repairs Now



  • Maybe you have small issues, such as holes in the walls, a leaking faucet or lights that don’t work, then now’s the time to fix them.
  • To get an idea of what you need to repair, walk through your home and imagine yourself as a buyer.
  • Moreover, look to your Realtor since he/she is most familiar with what needs attention.
  • Make sure you correct major issues that a buyer may not see immediately.  For example,  roof leaks, plumbing or electrical problems.
  • Take care of all necessary repairs before you put your home on the market.
  • Check out Ways to Make Inexpensive Repairs.
  • Keep in mind, a potential buyer may make submit their offer subject to inspections.
  • Moreover, they may hire a home inspector before closing. If the inspector finds problems, the sale could be put on hold until they’re resolved.

Deep Clean Your Home




  • A deep cleaning means shampooing carpets, washing windows, cleaning tile grout throughout your home, etc.
  • Go beyond your weekly cleaning routine.
  • Every surface a potential buyer sees is a surface that needs to be clean.
  • For useful information, consider How to Declutter Your Home, Room by Room.
  • Messy spaces could send the message that you don’t take care of your home.
  • More importantly,  it could make potential buyers wonder what else is wrong with the property.
  • Pay special attention to bathrooms.
  • Make sure the fixtures are sparkling.  Wipe out any dirty rings, mold patches or any other visible distractions.
  • Keep up the cleaning routine while your home is on the market. If you’re pressed for time, consider hiring a weekly cleaning service.
  • Consider The Pinnacle Home Services Program!

New Paint Freshens Up Your Home



  • Above all, painting inside and out will do wonders.  Furthermore, it’s an inexpensive way to make a home look fresh and new!
  • A fresh coat of paint will make your house not only appear larger, but much cleaner and more welcoming.
  • Use neutral colors.  Bright pink may be your favorite color, but you need to appeal to the masses.
  • Neutral colors are more appealing and include shades of black, white, grey, beige, ivory, taupe, and brown.
  • For more information check out the 10 Best Neutral Colors For Your Home.
  • Keep in mind that this is one home improvement that will give you the most bang for your buck.
  • Consider The Pinnacle Home Services Program!

Eliminate Odors




  • A strong smell or scent can be powerful and can easily drive someone away.
  • You may not realize it, but the smells are there.
  • Ask an outsider that you trust, like your Realtor, to let you know if there are any unpleasant odors.
  • When you want to get rid of smells fast, you might consider the 10 Best Odor Eliminators of 2020.
  • Odors include pet or cooking odors. Address them before you put your home on the market.
  • Keep in mind that some buyers fear they won’t be able to get rid of the odor once they purchase the house.
  • Keep a neutral freshener on hand and spray throughout your home prior to an open house or when a buyer will be stopping by.
  • When you know prospective buyers are coming – leave your home and take any pets with you.

Make a Lasting Impression



  • The objective is to have potential buyers walk in and envision the property as their home. They need to be able to see themselves living and entertaining there.
  • Home staging is effective because it emphasizes a property’s strengths and minimizes its weak points.
  • If you can’t afford a staging professional, then check out Staging Your Home With Inexpensive Decor.
  • To name a few, following are good reasons why you should stage your home:
    • You’ll increase the likelihood of a sale.
    • It gives the impression of a well-maintained home.
    • You get a head-start on packing.
    • Staging makes your home seem larger.
    • Suddenly, every room has a purpose.
    • Buyers will have a favorable first impression.
  • Consider The Pinnacle Home Services Program!

 Lighting Makes a Difference




  • The presentation of your home is critical.
  • A bright, cheery home is more inviting to buyers. Let the sunlight in if you can.
  • If your home is dark, add some better lighting to your home.  For more information, research The Basics For Interior Home Lighting Design.
  • Even buying brighter light bulbs can help.
  • If you have a traditional home, then a warm white bulb would be the ideal choice.  This is the most popular choice for most homes.
  • If you are looking for a more modern, clean look, a brighter feel of a cool white lamp will work best.
  • It’s the small things like lighting that can make a big difference.
  • If done right, there will be little money coming out of your pocket.
  • Consider The Pinnacle Home Services Program.

Curb Appeal Is the First Impression


Sell Your Home – Tip #8 | IT’S ALL ABOUT CURB APPEAL

  • Curb appeal is extremely important since this will be the buyers’ first great impression.  Need help?  Check out 20 Ways to Add Curb Appeal.
  • Be aware, some people won’t even bother to view your home if they find your house unattractive from the outside.
  • There is no need to spend a lot of money. For the summer ensure there are no weeds, the lawn is mowed, and any hedges are trimmed.
  • Display some pots of flowers in bright colors strategically placed and perhaps a nice wreath on the front door.
  • For autumn do the same and ensure you rake up all dead leaves.
  • A well-maintained and manicured yard, which applies to the back yard, as well, shows pride of ownership. It also gives the impression that the inside is equally maintained.
  • Consider The Pinnacle Home Services Program!

Sell Your Home – Tip #9 | HIRE A REALTOR

  • Hire a Realtor® ! Yes, there is a commission involved, but your Realtor will remove the guesswork out of selling and guide you every step of the way.
  • A Realtor is worth her/his weight in gold. They wear lots of hats.
  • They are marketers, negotiators, analysts, copywriters, stagers, counselors…and more.
  • They shift through these jobs seamlessly to rise to every occasion from start to finish.
  • The numbers show that selling with an agent put tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket.
  • Likewise, are you wondering why any homeowner chooses to go it alone? Well, most don’t!

Sell Your Home – Tip #10 | PRICE YOUR HOME RIGHT

  • Just about everyone wants to make as much money as possible from the sale of their home.  Even so,  you need to be realistic.
  • What you paid for the home matters significantly less than what the market is dictating at this time.  Particularly if your goal is to sell your home fast.
  • While you don’t have to under-price your home for a quick sale, you do have to price it smartly.
  • Work with your Realtor to come up with a starting number that makes the most sense in light of the market and your objectives.
  • Your Realtor will provide you with a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA).
  • A CMA is a way to identify competitors, and understand competitor’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to yours.  Moreover, it helps you gauge how to curb competitors and refine your strategy. 
  • Avoid getting emotionally involved.


  • Be prepared!
  • Keep in mind, most people buying a home is not just an investment.
  • It’s also a very personal and emotional experience for people.
  • You want the buyer to feel like they can live there and imagine their possessions in the home.
  • Buyers need to imagine the home with their own personal style, not yours.
  • Low on funds?  Consider The Pinnacle Home Services Program!

As a trusted professional and advocate for my clients, I encourage you to visit My Website where you will learn more about me and what I have to offer!

Posted on March 6, 2020 at 2:12 am
Kathy Absher | Posted in Selling Your Home |


Essential Steps When Buying a Home

Whether you are a first-time or experienced home buyer, buying a home is an exciting accomplishment.  So, please know that it’s a process that often comes with pre-purchase jitters.  You are not alone.  Overall, the idea of home ownership is a bit terrifying.  To many who are renting it just seems easier, but this is definitely debatable.  Consider this – when you pay rent, it disappears into someone else’s pocket. When you make a mortgage payment, you’re building equity and are one step closer to payoff.  If you in doubt, use this rent vs. buy calculator to see which could be right for you.

Don’t let fear or anxiety over buying a home discourage you. Buying a home is an exciting time and something that should be carefully researched and celebrated. By conquering the home buying and mortgage fears, you’ll enjoy your accomplishment for many years to come.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

So, now that you’ve decided to make the leap to purchase your home, where do you begin and what are the most common issues to consider beforehand? To name a few, 10 key points to consider are:

Have a Down Payment Saved

The very first step in buying a home is to examine your finances. Buying a new home (particularly for the first time) requires a mortgage.  The lender fronts you the money and you pay it back over time. However, in order to get a mortgage, you’ll need some sort of down payment. So how much do you need? Ideally a down payment on a mortgage should be 20% of the home’s price to avoid added fees.  But if you don’t have that much of a down payment, you have options. A mortgage down payment can be as low as 10%, 5%, or even 0% for certain types of mortgages (e.g., VA Loans)

Check Your Credit and Stop Any New Activity

When buying a home and applying for a mortgage loan, your credit will be one of the key factors in whether you’re approved.  This factor will help determine your interest rate and possibly the loan terms. So check your credit before you begin the home buying process. Dispute any errors that could be dragging down your credit score and look for opportunities to improve your credit, such as, making a dent in any outstanding debts.  To keep your score from dipping after you apply for a mortgage, avoid opening any new credit accounts, like a credit card or auto loan, until your home loan closes.

Hire a Professional Realtor / Agent

Hands down, the biggest mistake of a home buyer makes is when they are doing so without the aid of a professional agent.  Having a professional readily available to look out for your best interests is crucial. A buyer’s agent will help ensure that you get the best possible results and guide you through the entire buying process.  You deserve the outcome you are looking to achieve, so hire a professional!

Compare Mortgage Rates

Many home buyers get a rate quote from only one lender, but this often leaves money on the table. Comparing rates from at least three lenders can save you money over the first five years over the loan.  Your agent can assist you in getting at least three quotes so you can compare both rates and fees.  As you’re comparing quotes, ask whether any of the lenders would allow you to buy discount points This means you’d prepay interest up front to secure a lower interest rate on your loan. How long you plan to stay in the home and whether you have money on-hand to purchase the points are key factors in determining whether buying points makes sense.

Obtain a Preapproval Letter

It’s extremely important that you get pre-qualified for a mortgage, which simply gives you an estimate of how much a lender may be willing to lend based on your income and debts.  However, as you get closer to buying a home, it pertinent to get a preapproval, whereas the lender thoroughly assesses your finances and confirms in writing how much they are willing you lend you and under what terms.  In most cases, without the preapproval letter in hand, the seller will likely dismiss your offer.

Budget for Closing & Moving Costs

In addition to saving for a down payment, you’ll need to budget for the money required to close your mortgage. Closing costs generally run between 2% and 5% of your loan amount. You can shop around and compare prices for certain closing expenses, such as homeowners insurance, home inspections and title searches. In some cases, you can also defray costs by asking the seller to pay for a portion of your closing costs.  Once you’ve saved for your down payment and budgeted for closing costs, you should also set aside a buffer to pay for what will go inside the house. This includes furnishings, appliances, rugs, updated fixtures, new paint and any improvements you may want to make after moving in.

Hesitating When Buying a Home

In a strong market, you need to understand whatever homes you see, others are seeing as well. If you find a home that meets your needs and has the elements you desire, go for it.  Just know that someone else, may be ready to make an offer.   There are too many wonderful properties that slip through a buyer’s hands due to indecision and fear of buying a home.

Underestimating the Market and Other Buyers

Like you, they want to place low offers on properties that are clearly excellent, and in demand.  The process of failure and disappointment is a played out before they get serious about the market.

Buying a Home for Today’s Needs vs. Tomorrow

It’s easy to look at properties that meet your current needs.  Consider this, if you plan to start or expand your family, it may be preferable to buy a larger home now that you can grow into. Consider your future needs and wants and whether the home your are buying will suit them.

Think Twice Before Hiring the Listing Agent to Represent You When Buying a Home

Unfortunately, some uneducated buyers think by going directly to the listing agent it will give them a leg up on a purchase.  This is contradictory since the listing agent has a contractual obligation to look out for the seller! Their allegiance is to the seller with their goal to get the seller the most money possible.  Consequently, it’s in your best interest that you have your own professional agent represent you when buying a home.


KEY TAKE AWAYAs your trusted professional, I will be your strong advocate!  I understand the information and emotional support that buyers need throughout the process of finding and buying a home.  With local market knowledge, I am well prepared to guide you through all the practical details and potential obstacles that may occur during the purchase process.  As with all my clients, my goal is to make this process as seamless as possible so please let me provide you with results that move you!

MY WEBSITE: Check it out!  I provide relevant information about property searches, market statistics, neighborhood news, blogs, informative links, etc.  For this reason, I invite you to check out the various tabs noted on my main page (FOR RESULTS THAT MOVE YOU) as well as the Useful Links and Blogs detailed at the bottom of this same page.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for then please give me a call or email me so I can ensure you get what you need.


Posted on February 18, 2020 at 12:58 am
Kathy Absher | Posted in Buying a Home?, First Time Home Buyer | Tagged ,




Maintenance and repairs are an inherent part of home ownership so it’s not unusual that a new buyer will discover a defect after the close of escrow.  However, please bear in mind that the seller’s liability for any preexisting problems is very limited. For the seller to be responsible for repairs after the close of escrow, a buyer must prove that the seller withheld material facts about the condition of the home. In keeping with this and providing the seller disclosed all known defects to the buyer, it is unlikely that a seller will be held liable for repairs after the close. Buyers also have a duty to perform diligent inspections and/or property investigations prior to closing. Therefore,  it is prudent for both the seller and buyer to conduct professional inspections on their own behalf.

Although an as-is clause is written into the sales contract, this doesn’t diminish a seller’s duty to disclose a home’s known defects. This clause simply states that the seller isn’t obligated to fix any defects disclosed or otherwise uncovered by the buyer prior to closing. For example, despite the outcome of the home’s condition, a buyer may agree to buy a home “as-is” from the seller. The buyer is still responsible for conducting inspections and retains the right to back out if their findings are not favorable.

While this might not be the conclusion that you were looking for, sadly seller responsibility after closing very limited. Unless you can find they misled you or made egregious errors when resolving a  problem, you can’t do much. However, if you do find issues, you should take action!

Key Takeaway:  As a seller, it’s important to prepare yourself for the home inspection process, and to know how to negotiate after a home inspection should it result in some unfavorable results.  After all, sellers who had a sale fall through, approximately 15% were due to the buyer backing out after the inspection report.  Accordingly, be mindful that a prudent buyer will likely request a home inspection when submitting an offer on a house, whereas many end-up requesting repairs or concessions after receiving the outcome…so, be prepared beforehand!





Posted on February 6, 2020 at 12:31 am
Kathy Absher | Posted in Real Estate | Who Pays? | Tagged