Although homebuying has always been a cornerstone of the “American Dream,” it is undeniably one of the biggest commitments and investment decisions we make in our lives. Despite the normal jitters (“Can I really afford this?” “What if I lose my job?”), purchasing your own home is still one of the smartest financial moves you can make.
National home prices increased 6.3 percent from November 2014 to November 2015, according to a CoreLogic Home Price Index Report. This index has increased every month since March 2012. Here are five solid reasons why you should consider buying a home in 2016:
- Owning is cheaper than renting in the long run – Although it may feel less expensive to just fork over a rent check each month, your landlord receives all of the equity and tax benefits. For you, it’s all out-of-pocket expense with nothing left to show but the month-to-month roof over your head. U.S. rent prices continue to rise as availability plummets. An Oct. 2014 Wall Street Journal story reports that apartment rents have risen by 15.2% since 2009.
A follow-up story in June 2015 showed that rents are rising faster than inflation, and Americans are increasingly paying more of their income for housing. The interest you pay on your home purchase loan decreases with each passing year. At some point, it’s much lower than the cost of comparable rent. At the same time, you are building equity and accruing value.
- Homeowners enjoy tax benefits – Your mortgage interest is deductible, and because it’s highest in the early years of your mortgage, your yearly tax savings can be substantial. Your home loan’s points, or origination fees, are also deductible in the first year of your purchase, and property taxes are fully deductible every year.
- Your mortgage payments offer a built-in savings strategy – Every monthly mortgage payment reduces your total amount owed. Equity is the difference between your home’s worth and the amount you owe. As your interest draws down over time, more of your monthly payment goes toward principal, giving you even more equity. If the value of your home rises simultaneously, you build even more equity. Think of this as an enforced savings plan that increases your wealth every month, not the wealth of a landlord.
- Home equity lines of credit give you cash when you need it – The equity nest egg you’re building is yours to tap for medical emergencies, credit card debt consolidation, college tuition, home improvements, or luxury purchases. The interest you pay on a home equity line of credit, or second mortgage, is also tax deductible.
- You strengthen you credit history and improve your scores – Your consistent, on-time mortgage payments make you very attractive to financial institutions. You become a stable, low-risk borrower who is more likely to receive fast approval when you need to finance a new car.
As The New York Times confirmed in a November 2014 editorial, although renting makes sense for some people, nothing builds wealth like homeownership.
It’s a new year, and chances are you may be moving into a new home soon! Welcome 2016 with a few tips to make your moving experience as smooth as possible. Whether you are moving next door or across the country, it can be a stressful process. By preparing and planning ahead with the following tips, you can ensure your move is as seamless and stress free as possible.
Out with the Old
- Rather than packing and moving old or unused items, have a yard sale or donate items to a worthy cause.
- You can also make extra money by selling your old stuff, save money on movers, and have more space in your new home.
Organize Packing for Easier Unpacking
- Boxes tend to get mixed up when moved from one location to the next. Color code boxes with duct tape by using one color per room to make the unpacking process as smooth as possible.
- On the outside of each box, make notes of the contents so you quickly know which room the box should be unpacked in.
Pack Smarter, Not Harder
- Use small boxes to pack heavy items like books and large boxes to pack light items like linens.
- Use a paper shredder to turn old magazines, newspapers, or junk mail into packing materials.
Set Aside Essentials
- Use clear plastic bins to pack the essential bath and kitchen items, such as toilet paper, trash bags or cooking utensils that you will need on the first day in your new home and carry it with you during the move.
Keep Breakables Unbroken
- Pack plates vertically rather than stacked on top of each other and separate them with cardboard or wrapped in newspaper.
- Purchase glass packing box kits. You can spend money now to prevent breaks, or spend money later on new glassware.
Plastic is Your Friend
- Use large, sealable freezer bags to keep small items organized, such as kitchen gadgets, spice bottles, medications, jewelry, office supplies, or any other loose items.
- Use plastic and stretch wrap to cover items that do not have lids or to hold bulky items together, such as toy bins, utensil trays, bathroom baskets, pot and pan lids, or garage tools.
Protect Your Valuables
- Be smart when it comes to packing irreplaceable items, such as family photos or sentimental items by keeping them with you at all times.
- Valuable paperwork with important personal identity information should also be moved only by you and not sent off with a moving truck.
Choose Movers Carefully
- If hiring a moving company, make sure they are reliable, reputable, and insured. Moving scammers advertise cheap rates and then steal your stuff, so be wary.
- If you’re soliciting friends to help, make sure to reward them with plenty of food, drinks, and fun because no one really wants to help you move!
While you may think the word “hip” is overused, Silver Lake has all of the amenities that make for the hippest neighborhood in Los Angeles and make our SL70 community the right place to be. Here are just a few reasons to consider making Silver Lake and SL70 your new home:
- The Music Scene – Perhaps this is the most obvious draw to Silver Lake, but the indie music scene can’t be beat. While it has a reputation for being the heart of the indie and alternative scene, there are opportunities to see a diverse set of performers at the various clubs throughout town, the most notable including The Echo, Bootie LA, and The Satellite. If you’re an aspiring artist, there are several recording and rehearsal spaces available to help you prepare to become the next best thing.
- Bars and Restaurants – There’s no shortage of great restaurants in Silver Lake. From the tapas/wine pairing at Barbix to the trendy comfort food at The Kitchen, you’ll find something for every palette, and you’ll have the opportunity to branch out to other cultures with some Thai (Night + Market Song), Lebanese (Bowery Bungalow), Indian (Samosa House Silver Lake), Japanese (Yakuza Sushi), German (Berlin Currywurst), and even combinations like Mexican/French food from Trois Familia. The bars don’t disappoint either. Grab the strongest margarita in town at Casita Del Campo, enjoy eclectic music at The Hyperion, or take a date to Cliff’s Edge, where the awkward pauses will be filled gazing at the silent projection of films from Criterion Collection.
- Cool Spots to Hang Out – You might not know exactly how to categorize some of the hang out spots in Silver Lake, but we’ll try. iam8bit is an art gallery/record store/arcade that mixes high and low brow for maximum fun. You can check out some art, buy a new conversation piece, find new musical artists, and watch people play the original Street Fighter on projected screens all in the same place.
- Schools – Silver Lake has options for families looking for private schools, public schools, religious schools, and charter schools. Popular among a lot of parents, Kid’s World School, Inc offers an alternative to the traditional education system, while still relying on many traditional tenants.
With its location just outside Los Angeles, its proximity to art and culture, and its eclectic food offerings, Silver Lake is the perfect place to live if you never want to leave the neighborhood and still never run out of things to do!