Rent or Buy?

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Buying a Home

Thanks to the Internet, being an informed home buyer has never been easier. No longer are buyers completely dependent upon real estate agents and mortgage lenders when it comes to gathering information. House listings are readily available online, as are interactive tools that can estimate mortgage payments and percentage rates. If you have never bought a home before, you can find step-by-step guides to the process online. Even seasoned real estate investors can turn to the Web for news and advice, as the market is constantly evolving. Whatever your needs, the Internet is an invaluable source of information for buying a house.

Rent or Buy?

The purchase of a home is likely the single largest transaction you will ever make. If you're wondering whether you're ready to take on the responsibilities of home ownership, and (more importantly) whether you can afford it, the Web can help you be more informed as you make that decision.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • As you consider the pros and cons of home ownership, remember that some Web sites (particularly real estate sites) will try to sway you toward making a home purchase because it is in their best interests. Don't allow yourself to be enticed into purchasing a home that's more than you need or more than you can afford.
  • Online loan calculators use factors such as current interest rates and the length of a home loan to calculate what your monthly mortgage payments might be. If you use one of these tools, remember that these tools are meant to be a rough guide, and you'll probably be paying a slightly different amount than what the calculator determines. For example, factors such as your credit score, the property taxes for the home you end up buying, and the timing of federal interest rate cuts and hikes can all affect your monthly payments.
  • If you want to check your credit score, you can do so online at AnnualCreditReport.com, a secure site where you can obtain a free credit report once a year without any adverse effects on your credit score. You can also order individual reports from each of the three leading credit reporting agencies in the United States: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Find out more about these agencies and other online credit tools in the findingDulcinea Credit Web Guide.

Dulcinea's Picks

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