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Your New Home

Topic: Choosing Living Arrangements
Timeframe: Eight Months
As you plan your new life together, decisions will need to be made regarding where to live. Is purchasing a house in your future or is renting an apartment the answer? The following section is designed to help you determine the right choice.

Some things to consider before you make a housing decision are budget, location, and future plans, (i.e., job relocation, children, etc.). Children will require more space. If you may be relocating, account for lease termination or home resale costs.

Buying a Home

Everyone dreams of buying a home. A financial advisor will help you decide if now is the right time. Typically, a mortgage will require a minimum of a 5-10 percent down payment. You will also need to calculate closing costs, which can average 3-6 percent of the mortgage amount. After determining that you have the money available to purchase a home, the search begins.

Make a list of the features that you cannot live without, along with things that are negotiable. A licensed real estate professional will take you through a loan pre-qualification, process credit reports, and give you lists of available homes. Start with four or five houses that meet your demands.

Compromise is inevitable in a home search. As you search, you will fine-tune your needs and wants, and better gauge the market.

Many new home communities today offer additional amenities that have not been available to home owners in the past, including community swimming pools, clubhouses with community rooms, walking/bike trail access, and a variety of other options. New homes also provide owners with the opportunity to choose their own color schemes and other home options including fireplaces, decks, finished basements, and many other custom selections. Some new home construction companies also are available to assist you with financing.

In order to encourage young couples to save for a down payment, The Federal Housing Administration has announced a program called the Bridal Registry Account. Your family and friends can deposit cash wedding gifts directly into an interest bearing account with a participating bank. More information is available by calling 1-800-CALLFHA.

Renting an Apartment

Rental choices can range from a planned community to renting half of a duplex house on a neighborhood street. As with home buying, you must decide what amenities are important to you. Do you want on-site management, a swimming pool, fitness center, community room, and 24-hour maintenance? Do you want a neighborhood setting, privacy, and your own backyard? Once you are able to decide which setting will work the best, you are ready for your apartment search.

A great place to start is by checking out the communities who have advertised in the Planner. You can also pick up a free rental magazine from a local grocery store or at one of our BrideShows. Many landlords also advertise their properties in the newspaper, with a locator, or online (i.e., rentnet.com, allapartments.com, or springstreet.com). Narrow your search based on location, amenities, and price.

Advantages of Renting

Advantages of renting over buying can include the following:

• short-term leasing options

• minimal yearly rent increases

• free maintenance

• free access to community amenities

• more disposable income

• more leisure time

Evaluate the items that are important to you and be sure that where you choose to live fulfills your needs and wants—at least for the duration of your lease. Terminating a lease can be costly, especially if you received a rent discount. In addition to lease termination fees, you may also have to pay back any discounts you received. Be sure to check out the New Home Worksheet under: For Brides: My Bridal Suite

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