December 14, 2015

12 Days of Housing Tips, Bits & Lists

On these 12 days of Christmas and all through the year, Freddie Mac is serving up housing tips to those far and near. There will be tidbits and resources and quizzes too, but nowhere will you find a turtle dove or two.

On the 1st day, we're focused on 1 thing and that's your home. Whether you're a buyer or a renter, we want you to find the right place to call home.


Location, Location, Location

Whether you're renting or buying, finding the right location is a key factor in determining how much you can afford, how long your commute will be, and if you'll be near good schools. Make sure you're clear about what's important to you, including:

Urban or suburban: Do you want the convenience and walkability of city life? Or do you want a larger home with a yard, away from the hustle and bustle?

Schools: Do you have school-age children? If so, you'll want to consider the schools in the community. Even if you don't, it's important to consider for resale value.

Proximity to your job, current and future: Are you willing to make a 45-minute drive to work, or do you want a short commute – 15 minutes or less?

Access to public transportation: Do you need access to public transportation to get to and from work, school, or your primary health care provider?

Size: Is a four bedroom home with a fenced-in yard for your dog important? If so, you may need to consider homes further from a city-center.

Property taxes: Homeowners need to consider property taxes, which differ from town to town and can affect affordability and resale value.

Understanding the Types of Homes

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of home types and decide which is best for your situation. Your budget, lifestyle and stage in life are an important part of deciding what type of home is right for you.

Single-Family: Typically, these are the largest of the property types – providing you with the most privacy and space. The downside? They can be expensive and even if you're renting you may be responsible for some of the home maintenance and the yardwork.

Townhomes: Townhomes can offer many of the benefits of condominium and single-family living at a more affordable price. They typically offer two levels with good living space and frequently include amenities such as parks and playgrounds. They tend not to require a lot of outside maintenance, but with that comes less privacy than a single-family home. Townhomes can serve as a nice entryway to homeownership.

Apartments & Condominiums: Apartments and condominiums can provide you with a maintenance-free, "on-the-go" lifestyle. Those located in urban settings often offer walkable access to shops, restaurants, and public transportation. They also can offer varying degrees of amenities from parking to playgrounds. Condos tend to offer more amenities – like pools and concierge services – and that usually comes with a cost called homeowners association (HOA) fees. Homeowners are required to pay it and if you're a renter be sure to find out if you will be responsible for that monthly fee or if it is already included in your rent.

Visit My Home by Freddie MacSM to learn more and stay tuned for the next 11 days of tips, bits & lists.

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