Renting and Leasing
ALTERNATIVES TO BUYING A HOME

If you’re relocating to the Phoenix area, you may not be ready to purchase a home. In that case, renting or leasing may be the perfect solution. Within the city of Phoenix, there are more than 212,000 total renter occupied units, which makes up nearly 35 percent of the area’s total housing units. An average apartment rental rate for a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment is $674 and for a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment, the average rate is $825 per month. You can find cheaper apartment options by doing expanding your search away from the most popular neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for an apartment, a townhome, a mid-rise, a high-rise, condo or a single-family home, you’ll find a unit to suit your tastes and lifestyle.

As you drive through Phoenix neighborhoods and review listings online, you’ll soon discover how affordable buying a home in certain areas can be due to the current housing market; however, it still may not be the right decision for you at the current time. Here are a few considerations when determining if you should rent or own.

Reduced Flexibility – If your company relocates employees frequently, or you’re not interested in staying somewhere for more than a year or two, you may want to think twice about buying. The costs you incur to sell a home (realtor’s fees, closing costs, costs to market the property) may outpace any gains in the property’s value or selling price.

Not Ready to Commit – How likely is it that your life and your needs will change? Is your family growing, or do you have children who are getting ready to leave home or go to college? Is divorce or separation a possibility in your near future? Will there be other demands on your income or savings?

Return on Investment – Most people believe property always appreciates or gains value, but that’s not always the case. A change in the neighborhood or the economy can affect the value of your property, which is certainly an issue currently. Sometimes you’ll make money as a result, but you may lose money on your investment if you haven’t owned the property for long. You’ll also need to consider any additional money that you put into the property for improvements or upkeep while you live there.

Maintenance Responsibility – Home ownership requires being responsible for making the repairs or hiring others to make them, being available when repairs need to be made and paying for the repairs.

Lifestyle Factors – Is the neighborhood you’re interested in affordable with an adequate selection? Is it close to your work or school? Can you find rental housing where you would like to live, or is a home you buy the only option?

Tax Advantages – If you itemize your income tax, you can deduct interest you pay on a mortgage and property taxes that you pay. You can also deduct points paid to lenders in the year that you incur that cost. If you don’t itemize, you won’t get these deductions.

Peace of Mind – Ultimately, you need to decide if you’ll be more satisfied and comfortable in a home you own, or in a home you rent.

GETTING ORGANIZED
Now that you’ve determined that renting is your best option at this time, it’s time to get organized. Are you prepared to submit a rental application? Review this list to help you prepare.

What’s Your Budget? – Establish a rental rate you can afford. Don’t forget that you may need to pay for utilities and other items not included in your rent. Many properties will not approve you as a resident if you’ll have to spend more than a third of your gross income on the rent.

How is your Credit? – Check out your credit record with a report from a consumer reporting agency and be sure to clear up any problems or mistakes on your record before you fill out a rental application.

Prepare Paperwork – As you apply to various complexes or realty firms, have the following information readily available so the application process can go smoothly.
  • Current and former addresses.
  • Current and past employment with dates and contact phone numbers.
  • Credit references
  • Copy of your credit report (if available).
  • Bank information.
  • Bring your checkbook as you may be required to pay a security deposit.
  • If you have pets, expect to pay a pet deposit.

STAY FOCUSED
Before you start looking and comparing properties, determine your needs. Do you need a place with lots of space, good closets, proximity to work or school, or near to shopping or public transportation? Are you looking for a neighborhood with a suburban feel or prefer being closer to higher density, urban areas?

Then, of course, determining how much space you need and whether you’ll need a storage space for extra furniture. Are you interested in a specific school district for your children? Is there a washer dryer in the rental? How is the traffic leaving your neighborhood in the morning and at night?

TYPES OF HOUSING AVAILABLE
The Phoenix region offers many lifestyle choices leaving you with the main task of determining where you want to live.

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