Should you rent or buy? 5 questions millennials should ask before deciding

Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 @ 2:55 PM

Millennials Are Waiting To Own Homes, Economist Says

If you're a millennial (born between the early 1980s and the 1990s), you may not necessarily fall in line with older folks who  in their 20’s and 30’s automatically assumed that buying a home was the epitome of the American dream. 

Some millennials prefer to rent, while others want to become homeowners but don't feel as though they're ready.

»RELATED: 9 hidden costs of home ownership - and how to plan for them

Although the rate of homeownership in the U.S. is lowest for the 35 and younger age group, it's on the rise, increasing from 34.7 percent to 36 percent in the last year alone.

If you're a millennial who's trying to determine if renting or buying is the better choice, the following five questions can help you decide:

Can you find a home that doesn't need work?

Millennials often find themselves saddled with student loan debt. Combine that with stagnating wages and many don't have a lot of extra cash to make changes to a home soon after moving in, according to Inc.

If you've saved for a down payment and don't have a lot of cash left over, you may not be able to afford improvements anytime soon. Consider whether you'll be happy living in a home as it is for several years, as new appliances, flooring and other features may strain your budget.

What extra expenses will you have?

Although the interest you'll pay on your mortgage is generally tax deductible, you'll need to be able to pay for some extra expenses if you decide to buy a home.

You'll need homeowner's insurance, which usually costs around $700 per year on a $200,000 home. You'll also need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you make a down payment of less than 20 percent on your home. This usually costs between .5 percent and 1.2 percent of the loan value. You'll also owe property taxes and need to pay for regular maintenance and repairs, as well as any larger issues that crop up, such as replacing a roof or furnace.

(Getty File Photo)(jeffbergen/Getty Images)

How long do you plan to stay in your residence?

If you're a renter, it can be a lot simpler to pick up and move for a new job or an adventure in another part of the state or country, according to Forbes. You won't have to worry about selling your current home before you can move to a new one, and the process of moving is generally much quicker and easier. This flexibility can be important to millennials, who often value experiences over possessions.

Experts usually say you need to be prepared to live in your home for at least five years. If you sell before then, your home won't have had much time to appreciate, and you aren't as likely to recoup expenses such as closing costs.

What are your priorities?

Figuring out what's most important to you can go a long way toward determining whether you should buy or rent. Homeownership is very important to some buyers, and it's often recognized as a way to build wealth over the years. Self-made millionaire David Bach told CNBC Make It that "buying a home is the escalator to wealth in America. Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters."

Millennials, however, are sometimes skeptical about the financial advantages of homeownership since they've seen some of the results of the housing crisis, including falling values and foreclosures. And they tend to place lifestyle pleasures ahead of homeownership, with nearly half of millennials saying they'd rather spend money on traveling than on homeownership. The same is true of small luxuries such as eating out, which are more important to millennials compared to older respondents.

Is there a third option worth considering?

Renting a detached home or townhome is becoming an increasingly popular option, according to USA Today. Although it's certainly not exclusive to this age group, millennials have led the trend. This can be a good choice since you avoid making a long-term commitment and don't need to save for a down payment or pay for maintenance and other expenses associated with buying a home.

This type of rental can be a good middle ground, allowing you to have flexibility while seeing what it would be like to live in a home or townhome instead of in an apartment.


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5 things to do before you start looking for a new home

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

Be sure to avoid these 6 common mistakes that first-time home buyers often make Not getting a professional inspection Not putting a pause button on purchases Not keeping up with correspondence Not understanding the hidden costs of buying a home Not working with a buyer's agent Not looking into loan assistance programs

If you'd like to buy a house, you may think your first step should be driving by homes you're interested in or visiting an open house. But the home buying process should start before you ever look at a single home.

That way, you'll be in the best possible financial position to get a mortgage loan and will have a better idea of what home features are most important to you.

»RELATED: 6 common first-time homebuyer mistakes that could cost you big time

Take the following five steps before you start looking for a new home:

Check your credit.

Your credit score and history help determine how easily you can get a mortgage and what rate you'll pay. The difference between mediocre and excellent credit can make you pay or save thousands of extra dollars in interest over the life of your mortgage, according to consumer adviser Clark Howard.

He suggests checking your credit score and history on or Look for any errors on your report and take steps to correct them. If your credit is less than ideal, make sure to pay every bill on time each month, reduce your credit card balances and ideally pay them off in full each month.

Save for a down payment.

The most desirable down payment is 20 percent of your home loan, but this isn't required in all cases. However, if you can come up with this amount, you'll probably qualify for a lower interest rate. In addition, you'll need to borrow less money, so this will further lower your monthly payment.

Particularly if you're a first-time home buyer, saving for a down payment can be challenging since you don't have equity in another home. These tips can help make it easier for you to save.

»RELATED: 9 ways to save for a down payment on a home

Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.

Investopedia says that consulting with a mortgage lender and getting pre-approved for a loan is an important early step in the house hunting process. Your lender will check your credit and discuss loan options with you. You'll find out how much money you can borrow, but you should also be aware that going for the biggest loan you can qualify for may not be the best choice for you. You may find your budget stretched too thin and may resent it if you have to give up weekly date nights or yearly vacations.

Armed with a pre-approval letter, you'll be able to know which homes you can afford, avoiding the frustration of falling in love with a home only to find out it's out of your price range. This letter can also strengthen your bargaining position with home sellers since it proves that you're a serious buyer who can obtain financing.

The best time for first-time buyers to go house-hunting may be over the winter, as the listings of homes for sale grows.(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Make a 'must' vs. 'lust' list.

You'll have to make a distinction between "must" and "lust" before you start house hunting, advises. In other words, you should make a list of what you'd like to have in your new home and what's non-negotiable. Make a list of wants and ask your partner to do the same. Put them in order of importance and look for anything that overlaps on both of your lists. By making a list before you start to house hunt, you'll save your time as well as your agent’s. since he or she should only show you homes that fit your "must-have" list and also contain some of your "would be nice to have" items.

Take a closer look at your lists and consider what can be easily changed and what can't. For example, square footage is hard to change, and so are the number of bedrooms. These items should have a higher priority than, for example, the color of the walls, since this can be changed more easily.

Choose the right real estate agent.

A real estate agent can help you find a home more quickly, since he or she should have knowledge of the home buying process as well as homes in your area and can help show you homes that meet your criteria. You should also be comfortable with your agent, so you can feel free to express any concerns or suggestions you may have and ask questions. suggests following seven steps to find a great real estate agent, from talking with recent clients to gauging his or her knowledge of the area.


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9 ways to save for a down payment on a home

Published: Friday, March 09, 2018 @ 4:28 PM

One big bank is offering mortgages with as little as 3% down. Learn more and see if you qualify for the program.

If you're planning to buy your first home, saving for a down payment can present itself as a significant challenge.

RELATED: House hunters, here are 5 secrets to getting the best home loan

The amount you put down on a house can affect your ability to get a mortgage loan, and the larger your down payment, the lower your monthly payment will be.

Although it can be hard to put money aside and still keep up with your other bills and financial responsibilities, the following nine ways to save for a home down payment can make it easier:

Use extra money that comes in.

By saving money that you get occasionally – such as an income tax refund, a birthday check from your parents or a bonus at work – you can give your down payment fund a boost, according to The Simple Dollar. Otherwise, these windfalls will probably just be spent on your regular bills or splurges, and you won't get any long-term benefit from them.

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Sell unwanted items.

As you start decluttering your house for spring, recommends looking for items you can turn into cash. You can get some more room in your closets and garage and pad your down payment fund by selling on eBay, Craigslist or a buying and selling Facebook group in your area.

Pick up a side hustle.

A second job or side hustle can help you earn some extra cash to set aside for a down payment, and you may even launch a lucrative business in the process. Dave Ramsey suggests trying something that you already love doing. So if you enjoy exercising, he recommends walking dogs or refereeing sports leagues.

RELATED5 unique side gigs you'll probably enjoy more than your day job

Make savings automatic.

Arrange to have a percentage of money automatically transferred from your checking account into a savings account earmarked for your down payment. By having it automated, you won't even have to think about it, Nerd Wallet says. You can also use banking programs like Bank of America's Keep the Change, which lets you round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the change into a savings account.

Smooth stones with words written on them such as retire, 401k, IRA, Save, and Roth.

Tap into your IRA.

You can withdraw up to $10,000 from your IRA to use for a down payment if you're a first-time home buyer, according to Nerd Wallet. If you're married, the same is true of your spouse. You can do this without paying an early withdrawal penalty, but you will owe taxes on the withdrawal, so make sure to prepare for this.

Consider your mortgage options.

U.S. News & World Report recommends that first-time borrowers explore all their mortgage options, including loans through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Agriculture, which will often finance home loans with low (or even no) down payments.

RELATED: Here's how to determine how much house you can afford

Trim your expenses.

You can save a lot of money just by paying attention to your regular spending, Dave Ramsey advises. Try cutting down on eating out, cut your clothing budget to the necessities and try some generic brands when you're going grocery shopping.

Save your 'extra' paycheck.

If you get paid twice a week, you'll receive a third paycheck for two months of the year. Since many bills – including rent – are often monthly, try to put aside all or at least most of these 'extra' paychecks if you're saving for a down payment.

Cut your high-interest debt.

If you're carrying debt with a high interest rate, such as a credit card balance, BB&T says it makes sense to work on paying it off if you're saving for a home. Any money you're not having to send off to the credit card company each month - with little progress to show for it - could be better spent toward a down payment.

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$4M medical building proposed near Atrium Medical Center

Published: Monday, February 26, 2018 @ 3:31 PM


The Warren County Port Authority is expected to take ownership of a $4 million, 25,000 square-foot medical office building to be constructed in Franklin Twp., across Ohio 122 from the Atrium Medical Center.

This afternoon, the port authority board is expected approve leases with S3C Enterprises LLC, through which the port takes ownership of the building and leases it back to the company, enabling the project to avoid sales tax on materials used in the construction, according meeting documents.

The estimated savings is $140,000, according to Matt Schnipke, deputy director of the Warren County Office of Economic Development and secretary of the port authority.

MORE: Medical office approved across from Atrium Medical Center

The building is to be constructed on 2.4 acres, east of the entrance to Renaissance housing development.

Last June, the Warren County Board of Commissioners approved plans for the building after the owner, Dr. Sandeep Gupta, agreed to share access with the owner of land east of the proposed location of the Middletown Cardiovascular Associates building.

The project failed to materialize in 2016, after Gupta and Dr. Syad Najeed, owners of the other parcel within the planned-unit development were unable to reach an agreement.

MORE: Kettering to build $30M facility in Middletown

S3C is to pay a $2,500 deposit, a $21,000 fee upon closing of the leases and cover $18,000 in legal costs to the port authority for the deal, according to the agreements.

S3C is to pay $1 a year rent on the ground lease and be the owner for federal income tax purposes, with the option to terminate the 10-year lease and take title to the site for $1, plus transfer costs.

S3C is to lease the first floor to Atrium Medical Center and second floor to Premier Health Specialists Inc. and pay $500 a year to the port authority on a 10-year project lease, which can be terminated after five years.

MORE: Development continues in Hunter-Red Lion area

The port board is to meet at 3 p.m. in the Warren County Administration Building, Room 349, in Lebanon.

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Far Hills Bob Evans property sold for $2.5M

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 4:59 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 4:23 PM


The sale of area and Ohio Bob Evans restaurant properties continues.

A New Albany outfit has purchased the property housing the Centerville-area Bob Evans restaurant for $2.5 million.

The 4,992-square-foot building and 1.25-acre site at 7115 Far Hills Ave. was sold to Timothy P. and Paula S. Heather, of New Albany, Ohio, according to Montgomery County property records.

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The new owners give the same address as the Bob Evans headquarters in New Albany.

The local franchise food site was built in 1986.

Bob Evans has been restructuring its business and selling its restaurants quickly. Back in May, a trio of Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurants sold for a total of $5.6 million.

At the time, Bob Evans Farms Inc. had divided its business by keeping its food production side and selling off its restaurant chain to private equity group Golden Gate Capital.

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Bob Evans Farms, Inc. said in January it intended to sell off its restaurants to focus on packaged foods.

Golden Gate Capital bought the restaurants for $565 million, and Bob Evans Farms bought Pineland Farms Potato Co. for $115 million.

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