Homeownership makes sense for different people at different stages of their lives, but it’s not always the right choice for everyone. Whether you are in the process of renting or buying your own home, the best place to start is to understand your finances. Ask yourself what your budget is and whether either choice would require you to stretch your finances. Write out your financial and savings goals to see how each option might affect you. Consider the following:
Will you be able to put down the first and last month’s rent?
While many landlords ask for the first and last month’s rent, as well as a security deposit, this is still less than what you’d likely pay for a down payment.
Do you have a budget for home repairs?
If your home needs repairs, you may need a budget to hire licensed and insured contractors. In a rental, you may not be able to update or personalize your living space, but repairs generally cost less. In addition, your landlord is likely responsible for fixing things like leaky faucets.
Will you build Home equity?
As a homeowner, you may build equity (the market value of your home minus what you owe on it), which can increase your wealth. On the other hand, your rent may increase in the future.
Becoming a renter or a homeowner also requires knowing your rights and duties. In a collaborative effort between Orange County Community Action Division and UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, the program RentWise was created to educate residents to identify changing needs and wants in homeownership and rental housing.
The RentWise Workshop will also cover:
- How to track your spending and manage your finances,
- Understanding the components of a lease agreement,
- How to practice positive communication skills,
- How to apply methods to keep rental housing clean and safe,
- Understanding procedures to end a tenancy and avoid eviction.
The RentWise program is designed to provide education and skills on renting, as well as an opportunity for low-income residents to obtain rental assistance. Workshops require 5 hours of training, after which participants will receive a certificate of completion for an opportunity to apply and prequalify for rental assistance. To register for a workshop, log on to https://www.ocextension.eventbrite.com or call (407) 254 9200.Ask IFAS: Renter Power series (ufl.edu) You can also visit:
Written by RentWise Program Assistant Jennifer Royce and Family Consumer Sciences Agent Jenny Rodriguez