Renting a home or apartment can certainly have advantages over homeownership. If you have a good property with a great landlord and a rent you can afford it might seem pointless to purchase a new home in the Portland area, especially with home prices spiking in certain neighborhoods. Renting (usually) means someone else must plan for, execute, and pay for repairs, upgrades, and upkeep. When you rent, you’re off the hook for the big-ticket issues that can crop up with home ownership. On the flip side, you’re subject to regular rent increases, little control over your environment, and no real guarantee the apartment or house you’ve been calling home will continue to be the place you make your coffee each morning once your lease comes to an end.
According to Zillow at the time of this post, the median price of homes currently listed in Portland, Oregon is $429,900 while the median rent price in Portland is $1,935.
For renters who are considering buying their first home, a $430K mortgage might feel daunting and even impossible at first glance, especially when compared with the average $1900 a month for rent. But it’s not that simple, and the only way to sort out whether or not purchasing a new home makes financial sense for you is to do the math.
Rent or Buy?
Here are two calculators to help you crunch the numbers: Zillow’s Rent vs Buy Calculator; Discover has another calculator with a unique format that’s kind of fun to play with.
Play the Numbers Game
Of course, the amount of cash you bring to the transaction for a down payment will impact the overall cost of your loan, so use the most accurate numbers possible with these calculators, but do play around with them to see what would change in this equation if you managed to put down just $5k or $10k more.
Also important to remember, your credit score, and the credit score(s) of anyone on the loan with you, will impact what size loan you qualify for as well as how much interest you pay over the life of your mortgage – and that’s something these calculators can’t take into account in real time.
Check Your Credit Score
Check your credit score now so you have an idea of where you stand and what you’re working with. If you have an ‘excellent’ score, coming in at 800 or above, you’ll qualify for the best mortgage rates. A score of 700 or higher is considered ‘pretty good’ and will still qualify for decent rates. Scores below 700 can present more of a challenge to the transaction and you’ll pay for it in higher interest rates on your mortgage loan. This handy calculator at MyFico will help you understand exactly how your FICO® score can impact the interest you’ll pay on your loan.
While you’re doing the homework and preparation toward the purchase of your new home, why not start working toward a better credit score as well? Even a small jump in your credit score may help with saving a bit on the principal of your mortgage.
According to The Motley Fool: “On a $250,000 mortgage, the difference between a 620 credit score and an “excellent” 760 adds up to more than $86,000 in interest savings over the life of a 30-year loan.”
If you knew that a little bit of work on your credit score over the next few months could save you $86,000 over the life of your mortgage loan, would you do it? Well, now you know.
Ultimately, the only way to determine if purchasing a home is a better financial option for you than renting is to sit down and go over the numbers with a local mortgage professional.
Talk to a Mortgage Professional
If you feel you’re ready to move forward with the process of buying a new home, get in touch. Together, we’ll take a closer look at how each of the different factors like credit score, down payment, and current expenditures and debt will come into play when it comes to the size and cost of your new mortgage. I may even be able to give you the insight you need on raising your credit score before you take out the loan, in order to help you get a better overall value on your new mortgage.
Not the right time for you purchase a new home? If you played with the Rent or Buy calculators linked above and it’s just not coming out in your favor, if your credit score is low, or you feel you don’t have the overall budget to make the jump from renting to buying right now, I’d encourage you to get in touch with me anyway. I’ll give you the information and tools you need so that you can start working your way toward achieving your goal of home ownership.