Remodel or Buy? Which Is Right for You?

The decision of whether to remodel an existing home or buy another one has become more difficult because of the price of real estate declining across much of the nation.

A few years ago, the benefits of remodeling were quite simple due to the cost savings. Today it isn’t as straightforward.

The following are some things to think about when deciding whether to remodel or purchase a new property:

Lifestyle: Does your home continue to reflect your lifestyle? Experts agree the home should reflect anticipated lifestyle changes for the next five to seven years. If not, it might be a good idea to consider purchasing a new property.

Maintenance: Does your home require more maintenance and upkeep than desired, especially compared to newer homes? New homes offer the ability to “right size” the levels of yard work, repairs and other needs associated with home ownership.

Cost and Value: There are many factors that can weigh into the cost and value of a given property, including tax credits/write-offs, long-term appreciation, current level of depreciation, access to amenities, property taxes and insurance, utilities, maintenance, and much more. If you are not sure how to properly evaluate the true cost and value of your current property compared to a prospective property, ask your agent to provide estimates of principal, interest, taxes and insurance for comparable properties in the same neighborhood.

Community:
Access and affiliation with friends, family and the local community are important when deciding whether or not to remodel or buy new, yet they are easily overlooked by many homeowners.

Depending upon the age of the neighborhood, it may be difficult or even impossible to find other properties in the immediate area.

On the other hand, over time many communities experience a decline in desirability as crime rates, traffic and other problems start to creep in.

A Guide to Deciphering the Lingo of Real Estate

Whether you are buying or selling, the language of real estate is often complex and confusing. Following is a plain-language explanation of commonly encountered real-estate-related lingo.

Title: Title to a property essentially denotes ownership interest and is designated by the name(s) on specific legal documents such as mortgages and deeds. The title can be held by an individual, couple or even a corporation.

Deed: A deed is used to transfer ownership of property from one person or entity to another person or entity.

Deed of Trust: A deed of trust is a document that transfers title in a property, with the stipulation that the transfer is contingent upon repayment of an existing loan.

Mortgage: A mortgage is a loan you take out to buy property.

Clear Title: Clear title indicates that the property is free of liens or legal questions surrounding ownership.

Chain of Title: The record of historical ownership of a property. The title company or real estate attorney typically reviews the record in order to determine clear title.

Clouded Title: Any property that has an existing question regarding ownership, chain of title or even liens may have a “clouded” rather than “clear” title, which may adversely impact the ability to obtain financing or properly record the title. Most clouded title issues require a release, court action or other legal intervention to remediate.