The Advantages of Renting an Apartment vs. Owning a Home

Compared to owning a home, living in an apartment rental is incredibly easy. Why do the work yourself when you can enjoy the following benefits:

· Dedicated property and maintenance staff to call if anything goes wrong

· No back-breaking snow shoveling, lawn maintenance or pool/sauna care

· One single monthly rent cheque usually pays for everything (instead of several separate bills and fees when you own a house or a condo)

You Get More for Your Money

Believe it or not, you can usually rent an apartment or house for much less than the cost of buying it – especially if you live in a larger city. And if you want to be right downtown, renting is almost always more affordable than owning a condo (and you get a lot more living space, as well, as downtown apartments are usually much larger than downtown condos).

As well, apartment renters don’t have to come up with the thousands of dollars in down payments, closing costs and fees for things such as building inspections, legal counsel, land transfer taxes and insurance.

And this doesn’t even factor in the cost of borrowing – in the first five years of ownership, most mortgage payments are applied only to the interest, not the capital. This is money that you won’t get back when you sell your home (and you’ll still have all the hassles and extra costs of putting your house on the market).

That Tax Break is Not Guaranteed

Getting a big tax break is supposed to be one of the greatest advantages of owning a home – but you can’t always rely on getting this break. If your annual mortgage interest payment, plus any other deductions you are entitled to, isn’t greater than your standard tax deductions, you will not receive any tax benefit from owning a house.

If you rent an apartment, however, you’ll always receive some form of tax relief, as a large portion of your rent is tax deductible every year.

Maximum Flexibility

Renting provides an enormous amount of flexibility. You can pack up and leave immediately at the end of your lease (which can be monthly or yearly, whatever best suits your lifestyle) – there’s no waiting to sell and no agonizing about the housing market before you move. For many people, the freedom to live where you want and when you want is a huge benefit that simply cannot be overlooked.

Minimum Risk

For homeowners, the stakes are enormously high should their finances crumble. When they can’t pay the mortgage, the lender has great leverage – the house and all the equity invested in it could be in jeopardy. That’s not to say there aren’t consequences if a tenant can’t pay the rent – but the financial devastation that comes with losing your home is far greater than being evicted from your apartment.

In addition, there are several social service programs that are run by all levels of government to help people in need pay their rent so they won’t be evicted. Are the banks as lenient or supportive when it comes time to pay the mortgage?

Ultimately, making the decision to either rent an apartment or buy a home involves much more than simply comparing rental rates, mortgage payments, lease lengths and tax breaks. It’s a combination of all of the personal circumstances happening in your life – both now and several years down the road.

Top Five Home Renovations Before Selling Tips

If you’ve done your homework and found that property makeovers are a financially sound decision to make before selling, there are a number of aspects you should keep in mind before you let a contractor begin swinging his sledge hammer.

Particularly, choosing to complete home renovations before promoting may be decidedly different than if you were making the house renovations for your own satisfaction. We have therefore put together a list of the top five things to consider when dealing with property restorations prior to selling:

Get more than one estimate

Within the rush to get the work completed and the house on the market, many sellers fly through the procedure for choosing a contractor to accomplish the work. However, not taking the time to find the right licensed contractor can mean disaster, both for the renovations and the following effect it can have on your ability to sell your property.

In short, get at least three estimates from three contractors who come with sparkling references. Also, don’t forgo calling references provided to you, and ask important questions, such as: Did they complete the work on time? Was the job completed to your full satisfaction? Did they accomplish the work on spending budget? Would you use them once again for a property restoration project?

Check and double-check the actual deadline with the service provider

Unless the contractor can definitively complete the actual project within your time frame, choose another expert, as deadlines for people selling their property are more important than ever. Make sure you reiterate the significance of finishing the job on time, and make sure the contractor incorporates this deadline within the contract.

Get just about all applicable permits

Don’t skimp on the details with your property renovations before selling, as the buyer may very well ask to see the permits. Display for the buyer that you required all necessary steps to ensure that the job had been completed professionally and safely by getting all appropriate permits.

Stay neutral

When selecting finishes for your home renovations, think neutral. In other words, you may enjoy red tile in the bathroom, but the truth is that most buyers will not. Think in terms of a wide audience, and stay as neutral as possible as to appeal to the majority of potential buyers.

Think mid-range for many projects

In order to ensure that you stay within budget and that you realize a return on your investment, think mid-range in terms of materials and finishes, (the only time this particular rule may not apply is in very expensive houses or mansions). Although many buyers would appreciate stainless appliances in the kitchen, the very fact of the matter is that you may not see a return on this investment. Choosing good-quality, sleek black appliances, on the other hand, will still show well in your renovated kitchen, however will cost you about a third of stainless steel home appliances.

Of course, before starting upon any house renovations before promoting, consult a real estate agent to make sure you will be able to see a return on your investment whenever selling.