Buying a house in Alexandria – Step One

Figure out if buying a house is the best thing for you

From Buying a house in Alexandria – Overview

Over longer time periods, buying is generally better than renting, although your specific circumstances will dictate the best solution.  There are plenty of resources to help you determine the best course, my favorite tool is the one provided  by Realtor.com. Using the interactive chart you can set the estimated or actual value of a home you might want to buy and in the same chart the fair market rental cost (or the rent you’d be willing to pay).  The tool then calculates the “breakeven point”, the time at which it would be cheaper to buy versus rent.  Pretty cool.

Personally I don’t like to pay some landlord’s mortgage so as soon as I was able (job, money for costs) I made a point of buying.  I don’t recall having all the buy versus rent analysis details, it just seemed logical to buy a home.  Here is the short version of my story: When I came to this country  I had nothing but my degree and a small suitcase and spoke enough English to get around – and I still have an accent :).  Once I got a job I started saving money by living in a room that I rented in a family’s home in DC. I knew I wanted my own space but did not like the idea of spending money on rent, money that I knew very well I was not going to see EVER again. I had to live somewhere, so I figured minimizing rental cost by sacrificing on space and privacy was the best way to save a down payment.

I did not pay much attention to real estate market data back then, nor was I knowledgeable on Return on Investment, cash on cash return, cash flow, etc etc. With a lot of nervous apprehension I took the plunge and bought a Condo in Arlington, small, but bright and sunny and perfect for me.  Although I had saved for a tiny down payment,  I used the VHDA program and was able to buy with no money down, which enabled me to put money in a “rainy day account”.  Although there were the usual challenges of life, recessions, losing jobs, finding new jobs, I persevered.  After several more years of living in my first condo, I got married and moved with my husband to our first house.  I decided to keep the condo and was able to rent it right away.  That was over 20 years ago, I still have the condo! Over those years, our RENTERS paid my mortgage.  We’ve owned that property free and clear for a number of years and have been getting a positive cash return for as long as we can remember.  The first years I did live there weren’t always stress-free, but you have to live somewhere and I just considered my mortgage as paying rent to myself.  The point is I made the decision back then to buy versus rent, decided to keep the property and have others pay the mortgage and now we’re reaping the benefit of that decision –  SWEET DEAL.

This was a great decision for me, nowadays people go to financial advisors and many other professionals to receive advice. It is your choice

Knowing when you are ready

SEARCH FOR A HOME

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Patricia S Harris
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