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Tips to Homeowners

February 07, 1988|Armand L. Fontaine

Question: We are interested in buying our first home. We would appreciate some suggestions.

Answer: The first thing to decide, is whether you really wish to buy a home and where.

You should determine in which area you would want to live for at least five years. Secondly, do you have enough funds to satisfy a major down payment, while at the same time having no other major debts or monthly payments? The third most important item is if there will be a stable family income in the foreseeable future.

If you have met these criteria, you are probably in a position to purchase a home of your liking in an area that you desire. Home ownership is also a responsibility, and the cost factors connected with owning a home, of course, are different from those of being a renter. The responsibility for maintenance, repairs and for taxes are those of the homeowner.

At the same time, you will have the freedom of knowing that your monthly payments not only go for interest, which is tax deductible, but also pay on the principal rather than writing a check every month and having the money go down the drain. You also protect yourself against perpetually rising rents and having to ask your landlord to make repairs and general improvements. Furthermore, you have the freedom to decorate your own home and to own pets.

However, if the family does not have enough savings for a legitimate down payment and perhaps be indebted with automobile payments and other payments as well, and knowing full well that other costs will automatically occur as a result of home ownership, then you are probably not ready for the big move.

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