Should You Buy or Rent in Austin?
The decision to buy or rent a home in Austin, Texas is a decision that should not be made lightly. While there are certainly numerous advantages to buying versus renting, be sure to carefully analyze your situation prior to buying a home in Austin. Among the various questions that Austin home buyers should ask themselves include:
How Long Do You Plan to Live in the Home?
Although appreciation rates can vary significantly, the average appreciation rate for a home is around three percent per year. After taking into consideration all of the costs associated with purchasing a home, a homeowner usually does not realize a financial gain for at least three to five years after purchasing the home. What more, there are significant costs to selling a home, which may put you at a financial loss. For this reason, buying a home in Austin may not be your best option if you foresee the need to move again within the next few years.
What Is Your Monthly Budget?
Your budget is a critical factor when deciding whether to rent or buy. Often, a monthly mortgage payment will actually be less than the rent on an equivalent home; however, there are other monthly expenses that a buyer must consider as well when buying a home in Austin. Along with the basic mortgage payment, Austin home buyers will also be responsible for taxes and insurance on a monthly basis. In addition, a homeowner must factor in the cost of upkeep and maintenance on the home as well as any unexpected repairs. The benefit, of course, for Austin home buyers is that your monthly payment goes toward building equity in your home instead of simply paying off your landlord’s mortgage.
Do You Want to Be Responsible for Repairs, Maintenance or Remodeling?
As a renter, you do not have to worry about the cost of repairs or maintenance; however, you are also not able to make any changes to the property that truly make it your own. Buying a home in Austin allows you the freedom to do anything from changing the color of the walls to completely knocking down them down.
Do You Have a Down Payment?
For many potential homeowners, the biggest hurdle to purchasing a home is the down payment required. If the funds for a down payment are the only thing preventing you from becoming a home owner, look into obtaining an FHA backed loan which requires a much smaller down payment. In addition, as a first time home buyer, you may eligible for down payment assistance through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
What Will a Starter Home in Austin Cost?
In Austin, there are a number of neighborhoods that surround downtown Austin where affordable starter home can be found. As of January, 2013 single family starter homes in the areas to the east and south of Austin can be found starting at around $200,000.