Win $10,000 Toward Your First Home

Six reasons to quit paying your landlord's mortgage and make the move to homeownership

buy a house.” After spending a few weeks weighing their options, the couple took their first step down the road to homeownership.

Since Maria, 27, had the summer off from her job as a seventh-grade math teacher, she scoured the Orlando area for a neighborhood she and Cameron could raise a family in. They agreed to buy a newly constructed home, and after a week of non-stop searching, Maria found a suitable subdivision. Although the Saulsbys had about $8,000 saved for their down payment, they were able to get their $160,000, three-bedroom home with 100% financing by using the builder’s mortgage lender. On June 30, 2004, the Saulsbys closed on their first home. Shortly after, Maria gave birth to their now 10-month-old daughter, Alaiya.

“I think I looked at our keys from the time we signed our papers until we pulled into the garage,” says Maria. “It wasn’t that I didn’t believe it, but I was just still in shock. I said, ‘We’ve done it, it’s finally done.’ It felt really good.”

The couple has already seen the benefits of homeownership. Cameron estimates that their home has already appreciated about $40,000 in value, giving them equity they plan to use to trade up to a larger home within the next three years. “We definitely made a sound decision,” says Cameron.

Are you ready to join the ranks of those who have become homeowners? If you aren’t sure whether buying a home is right for you, here are six reasons BLACK ENTERPRISE believes it is the right thing to do, right now!

IF YOU CAN PAY RENT, \YOU CAN SWING A MORTGAGE
Many people delay pursuing homeownership because they believe it is more expensive than renting. Yet, the reality is that, in the long run, renting often costs more than owning. Let’s take an automobile, for example. Renting is the right move if you need a car for a brief period of time, say a vacation or business trip. But if you need long-term or permanent access to a car, renting is ridiculously expensive. Even with the cost of maintenance and insurance, it makes more sense to buy a car.

The same is true for your home. If you don’t plan to stay in one place for more than a couple of years, renting may be the best solution. But if you are likely to live in one place for more than six years, it is usually less expensive to own. In fact, the longer you rent, the more expensive it becomes compared to homeownership. And remember, no matter how inexpensive a rental is, you don’t own anything after you pay the rent.

But don’t take our word for it—do the math yourself. There are great online calculators that can help you compare the cost of renting versus buying a home. Start at Mortgage101.com (www.mortgage101.com/Calculators/BuyVsRent.asp). If you’re renting now, make up your mind that it’s temporary—no more than three to five years. Make homeownership your goal and begin preparations now, while you are still renting. Begin saving toward

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