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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

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What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

When is the right time to buy a home?

Q. My husband and I disagree on whether we should buy a home now or wait.  Do you have any guidance to help us reach a consensus?

A. Homeownership still represents the quintessential American dream. But homeownership comes with its share of disadvantages, too. In truth, there is no right answer when it comes to owning versus renting a home.  Only you can determine if homeownership is right for you, based on your personal circumstances and preferences, knowing that these will change over time.

Let’s start by considering the near future. Are you planning to stay in the area for the next several years? If not, then it may not be the right time to buy a home and renting may be a better option. Selling a home takes time, depending on a number of factors, including price, location, and the current housing market. In addition, you will incur some costs to close when you sell. If you sell too soon, you could find yourself selling your house for less money than you paid for it, a situation no one wants to experience.

Let’s say you’re working on a degree right and planning to graduate in the next few years. If this is the case, then it isn’t the right time to buy a home. There is no guarantee that you will find a job in this area once you graduate. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with renting. Renting gives you a freedom you don’t have when you commit to a home of your own. When you rent, and your lease is up, you can move whenever you want. When you buy a home, you will need to sell it before you move.

Another factor to consider is the money it takes to buy and maintain a home. When you buy a home, you need a down payment, plus money for closing costs. If something breaks in your new home, you have to come up with the money to fix it. On the other hand, when you rent and the water heater stops working, you can call the landlord to fix it. In most cases, renting is maintenance free.

On the flipside, homeownership gives you an opportunity to build equity. Equity is the difference between what you could get for your home and what you paid for it. For most people, the longer they stay in their home and pay down the loan, the more equity they build in the process. You don’t build equity when you rent. 

If you have a fixed interest rate loan, then your principal and interest payment will not change. However, your taxes and your insurance may increase. Therefore your mortgage payment may increase when factoring in these costs. On the other hand, your landlord could also raise your rent when it comes time to renew your lease.

When you rent, you may have access to extra amenities, such as a pool, a gym, playground equipment.   When you buy a home, you probably only have these amenities if you are willing to pay for them. When you buy a home, you can decorate it as you choose. When you rent, your landlord will limit what you can do to change the property.

Before you make any lasting decisions, I suggest you and your husband complete a homebuyer education program. You’ll gain valuable information that can help you make an informed decision about your future as a homeowner.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.