Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Renting or Buying – What’s right for you?

3577 Sagamore Dr, College Station, TX
There’s no simple answer as to whether you should rent or buy your next home. The answer largely depends on your income and your plans for the near and distant future. If you’re thinking of buying a home in Bryan/College Station here are some things that you can consider before making your decision.

First, consider whether you’re in a financial position to buy a home there are home buying calculators online that can help you get an idea of whether you’re in good financial shape. 

Personal needs

Are you looking for a home you can stay in long-term or are you wanting a home that you can move away from in a short time?  Renting gives you the ability to pack up and leave as soon as the lease is up.  Homeowners often need to sell or rent out their homes if they decide to move away. So, being a renter means you can move much more easily, but you don’t have the same stability. 

Homeowners have more stability because they determine what happens to their property. As a renter, you have no say in whether the property is under new management or ownership. If the landlord sells the property, you may not even be able to renew your current lease. Landlords can increase your rent or even decide they would rather turn their rental units into condos. That means with flexibility there may be a little risk. 

Is renting always a waste of money?

Your money isn’t always wasted. While you generally pay more for rent than you would for a mortgage of the same space, you do get some bonuses. When you rent a home, the owner takes care of maintenance. That means if the water heater or air-conditioner go out, you won’t have a large unexpected expense. Also, renting can come with bonuses like a clean pool and other amenities. 

However, you will be paying for everything you get when you rent. All of the services provided are included in your monthly payment.  Even if you don’t use all of the amenities, you are paying for them. Make sure the community where you decide to rent your home has amenities you want to use. That goes for homebuyers with an HOA, as well.  Then you can get your money’s worth. 

Are houses too much of a hassle?

Not usually. Not only do you have a lower payment making maintenance issues more affordable, but you have options to help you deal with any unexpected maintenance problems that may arise. Home warranties can help. If you’re worried about sudden repair expenses a home warranty may ease your fears. If you’re worried about lawn maintenance, consider a condo or hire a service.

Whether you decide to buy or rent is up to you and your budget. There is a lot of personal preference involved in the decision. Sometimes the responsibility of owning property may seem like too much.  Other times the freedom to make the changes you want to the property, like painting your child’s room pink, are worth any possible future maintenance the home needs. If you need help understanding real estate, ask your realtor for advice. Your realtor can help you find the right community for you. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Finding a pet-friendly community

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Pets are important members of our households. Not just from an animal rights perspective, but from a human perspective. Just think of how miserable they can make us when they aren’t happy. If you have a howling Siberian husky, a tiny Chihuahua, a cat or even something more exotic, there are things you need to take into consideration before you move into a new neighborhood. 

HOA restrictions that can affect your pet

Most HOAs are fine with people owning pets. However, if you have an odd pet like a chicken, you may not be within HOA guidelines. Some HOAs restrict livestock animals even if the town you’re in allows them. 
Another issue may be the height of the fences. If you have a dog like a husky, look at the size of the fences in the neighborhood.  6-foot-tall fences are the minimum for a Siberian husky and similar escape artists. 
Are there restrictions on noise from pets?  Even in a condominium with a small dog, you may have some issues with your HOA. If your walls are thin and your dog cries when you leave, he could be driving your neighbors crazy. Neighbors irritated by your dog won’t always feel comfortable telling you about it, they may go straight to the HOA if the HOA has restrictions on noise. 
Even cats have some restrictions. Some owners like to let their cats have some outdoor play time. Unlike dogs, it’s almost impossible to keep cats in your yard. HOA’s often don’t like pets roaming the street and neither do city governments. If you want your animal to roam, it might be better to get some acreage in Brazos Valley rather than a home in a neighborhood in Bryan/College Station. 
However, an HOA could actually help pet owners. 

Pet-friendly communities.

Communities that are really pet-friendly are those where there are good places to walk your dog. Is there a nearby park?  Neighborhoods near parks are great for pets especially if they have plenty of trash receptacles for when your dog decides to leave a little present behind. 
Pet-friendly communities will also have fewer restrictions on pets and may let you have a fence taller than 6-feet. 
The important thing is to know the restrictions before you buy. Ask your realtor how to find the HOA documents before you buy. Sometimes, though, they’re available online. A quick search for the name of the neighborhood, the city, and “homeowners’ association” can often help you find the right place. There are a lot of great HOAs here in Bryan/College Station, so don’t let the fact that there is an HOA turn you away from buying in one. The benefits are often worth the dues. 

HOAs that keep your pet safe

When HOAs have rules on roaming animals, that isn’t always a bad thing for pet owners. For example, some cats like to go into their backyards briefly to snack on some grass or to lay in the sun before going right back inside. If there is a free roaming cat that climbs into your backyard, a fight could ensue leaving your cat injured. HOAs that have rules against letting cats roam can help prevent this to an extent. 

Also, dogs roaming around when you take your dog out for a walk could be a danger to your pet. Strict rules on pet control are good for everyone. 

As for noise, if you have the loud pet, it’s good to know when it’s bothering.  your neighbors. Most of us have likely been kept awake at night by a loud animal. 

Keep your animals safe by finding the right community for you.