Early indicators for 2007 are that rents are on the increase. As occupancy rates rise, often rent increases follow. If you have considered purchasing your first home before, now is the time to revisit the question:
Should you rent or buy?
I have discovered a great website to help you answer that question. Ginnie Mae is an organization providing that provides the private mortgage insurance to most government (FHA and VA) loans. There website provides tips, tools and ideas to help out the first time buyer.
One of Ginnie Mae's most helpful tools is their Rent versus Buy Calculator. It is simple to use: Enter you current rent, the price of the home you are considering, how long you intend to stay at the home and a few other details. The calculator will provide you with an indication of where you will stand financially if you make the purchase. It is a good tool because it allows you to adjust the estimated property value increase. (In this slower market, it would be safer to consider a 0-2% increase, without consulting a Realtor for an estimate for a particular region or neighborhood.)
Ginnie Mae's site not only has the Rent vs Buy calculator, there is an affordability calculator and loan estimator. There are tips for the first tip homebuyer outlining additional financial considerations and costs for owning a home. There are ideas and articles to help you understand your mortgage options. Check it out and as always, if you have any questions, I am just a phone call or click away!