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Should we take next step and buy a home?

Dear Heather

We are a young couple, we earn good salaries, but we are unsure if we want to take the next big step and own our own home. What do you think?

Young Couple

Dear Young Couple,

It is a big step financially, and you are wise to think it through. Plus, it’s a big commitment, obviously. But the rewards generally far outweigh any potential downsides for those who take the plunge. Need more convincing? How about the fact that:

1. You’re already paying a mortgage

That money that comes out of your account every month? It’s going right into someone else’s account, probably helping to pay off their mortgage. Doesn’t that make you just a little bit mad that someone else is making money off you?

2. Now is a good time to buy

At the moment house prices and condo prices are holding and the current prices represent good value for money; we have condominiums as low as $350,000 and cottages starting at $495,000. Think about the fact that, generally speaking, real estate continues to appreciate (albeit slowly, it is a long-term investment) and you’re not getting to appreciate that appreciation.

3. You need to express yourself

Not being able to put a coat of paint on the walls or enjoy the countertops, cabinets or flooring you picked out because your landlord won’t let you make any changes can be frustrating. Sure, there are some temporary solutions to make your rental look better, but nothing compares to having the freedom to do what you want, when you want, with your own space.

4. It doesn’t cost as much as you think it does

In fact, you may be paying about the same in rent right now that you would be for a house payment.

The majority of people would prefer owning to renting, but they appear to be postponing home ownership because of real and perceived difficulties in affording it. Set up an appointment with your bank; see if you qualify.

If you don’t, at least you will know what you have to do in order to get qualified.

5. Do you really need a 20 per cent down payment?

In most cases you do, but not in all! Some owners are prepared to offer a small amount of financing and sometimes it is possible to use an existing family property as collateral against the 20 per cent. Interest rates are still on the low side, it might be worth exploring all avenues.

6. Furry friends

Living in an apartment that doesn’t allow animals? That’s pretty common.

Trying to find a rental with a generous pet policy is difficult. If having furry family members is important to you, you may want to start thinking about buying.If any of these things ring true, talk to your friendly Coldwell Banker real estate agent and/or set up an appointment with a banker, to see what you need to do in order to become a homeowner.

•Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 27 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate