Which is better, buying or renting?
Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are
building equity - and that's an investment. Owning a home also qualifies you
for tax benefits that may assist you in dealing with your new financial
responsibilities - such as homeowners' insurance, real estate taxes, and
upkeep - which can be substantial. But given the freedom, stability, and
security of owning your own home, they are definitely worth it! Owning your
own home also can be a great source of pride and stability.
But homeownership may not be for everyone. It's a big financial
commitment - starting with the initial shock of your purchase
(including a "down payment" and fees paid to a real estate agent,
the lender and others) followed by years of monthly mortgage
payments, real estate taxes, property insurance and maintenance
costs. When you decide to purchase a home, you accept responsibility
for paying for these expenses. They are additional costs to your
monthly mortgage payment and should be included in your budget
estimates: Property Taxes and Special Assessments, Home/Hazard
Insurance, Utilities, Maintenance, Home Owner Association (HOA) fee
Your Credit Report
A credit report contains information on where you work and live, how
you pay your bills and whether you've been sued, arrested or filed for
bankruptcy. Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) gather this information and sell
it to creditors, employers, insurers and others. The three major national credit
bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
As of September 1, 2005, all consumers are eligible to receive a free
annual credit report from each of the three major CRAs. The information in your
credit report is used to calculate your credit score -- a number generally
between 300 and 850 that rates how risky a borrower you are. The higher your
score, the less risk you pose to creditors.
Anyone who denies you credit, housing, insurance or a job as a result
of a credit report must give you the name, address and telephone number of the
CRA that provided the report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA), you
have the right to request a free report within 60 days if a company denies you
credit based on the report.