To Buy or To Rent? That is the Question
According to Google, 43 million people living the US rent their home. In Orlando, the city where I live, 2/3 of the population rent. I did the math and this means 187,221 of the 280,832 people living in Orlando are currently renting. Only 93,611 people own a home in Orlando proper (I’m not sure if this counts the suburbs like Winter Garden, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Altamonte Springs, etc.).
Startling statistics, but not surprising.
My husband’s uncle had rented the same unit for over 20 years. And now that his uncle is older and can’t work because of health-related issues, he has no home of his own. The uncle lives with his daughter, his son, and his daughter’s husband, who also rent. All of that rent money over the course of all those years—gone forever.
As a young woman starting out my career, this unfortunate but true story has made me ponder my own circumstances, and has led both me and my husband into looking into purchasing a home after a year and a half of renting.
But what about maintenance, you ask?
Yes, it is very, very nice to have a helpful maintenance man knock on my door after my toilet handle has broken, or the sink is clogged, or the AC isn’t working.
But, like with anything, there are cons to owning a home. And, after he and I have purchased a home, there will certainly be a learning curve.
But I don’t want to see thousands upon thousands of dollars simply—gone—never to return to us, which is essentially what renting is. When we rent, we are paying for the peace of mind that—if something breaks—it’s not our problem, it’s not our money that will have to fix it. When we own a home, we have to deal with that headache if those problems do arise. However, in paying our mortgage we are adding equity to our home, and adding value to ourselves.
Storytime: As our lease expires in April, Alex and I have been diligently searching for a home to buy. My work’s location is a deeply inconvenient place right smack dab in the middle of the Icon, Universal, and Disney. The cost of a single-family home in a safe neighborhood, that is close to where I work and close to where Alex works is ludicrous. I knew almost right away that we would couldn’t afford a single-family home and would have to purchase a townhouse or condo. So, I starting deeply investigating in two specific zip codes, and came up with a small list of places that we could afford. Realtor.com has helpful filters (much more helpful than Zillow) that helped me to narrow my search. I was looking for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit. I wanted a bedroom for guests in case my sisters want to visit, and I want a room for an office space. Next, I wanted a community that allowed dogs, as hubby and I want to get a dog in the future. I also wanted a pool, a hot tub, and a walking trail, as I am always sunbathing by the pool in the lovely Florida sunshine in the summers, and walk 2-4 miles every day.
After I had narrowed my search, we contacted a mortgage company my parents have used, got preapproved for a loan, and contacted our realtor. Tip: If possible, always purchase a home with people you can trust, and possibly have known for a time. I sent our realtor (Anderson Zamora, by the way, if anyone needs a trustworthy realtor) the listings we were interested in. The day before we met with him to look at units, I contacted HOA’s and called the police Information Desk for a report on the safety of the areas. The next day, Anderson took us to 5 different units on a Saturday. The process lasted from 9:45 in the morning to nearly 2:30 in the afternoon (Alex and I were starving afterwards). Surveying these units was a long, taxing process, in which I diligently took notes, and Anderson diligently gave us tip after tip on what to look for in a unit (keep in mind, we wore masks this entire time, trudging about in the rain, and then the Florida mugginess). These are things he helped us to look for:
1)There was a certain type of plumbing installed (before 2000?) that has had many, many issues. Some of the units we looked at had this plumbing.
2) The age of the AC unit (one AC unit was 1998!)
3) Water damage or discoloration in the ceiling, walls
4) The age of the water heater.
The list is longer, but these are things that I remember most about our unit-hunting excursion. Alex and I did find a unit that we liked, in a gated community, in a safe area (the HOA fee is really high, but we are willing to pay that because the amenities of the community were so incredible). Anderson drew up a contract, walked us through it, had us sign it, and sent it to the owners, who now have to give us 24-hour notice. The home-buying process is incredibly complex and I could barely keep up with him at times when he was explaining the contract.
Will we be able to purchase the unit and become home owners?
We will see! Alex and I are excited and nervous, and praying that God will bless us through this process. Are you in your twenties to thirties looking into purchasing a home? Or do you own a home already? I would love any thoughts, tips, etc! Thank you for reading my post!