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Rent vs. Own: A Real Estate Reality Check for Navigating Booms, Busts, and Bad Advice Paperback – March 21, 2012
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"If you're wrestling with the decision whether to rent or own your home, Rent vs. Own is a strong recommend...and is strong when it comes to surfacing relevant stories of consumers you can relate to, and issues and questions that might not otherwise occur to you until you're knee-deep in a serious situation." -- Inman News
"Author Jane Hodges takes a truly balanced look at an emotional subject, and offers plenty of tips to keep you above water-in terms of your money and your sanity-whether you choose to own or rent." -- Mint.com
"If struggling with the big rent versus buy question, this book is for you. Even the most dedicated HGTV-addict will discover tips they've never considered before. Before you visit one more open house or write one more rent check, read this book! -Kimberly Palmer, finance columnist for US News & World Report, author of Generation Earn
About the Author
Jane Hodges has written extensively on residential and investment real estate for The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, AOL Real Estate, The Seattle Times, and more. After living in eight rentals, she's now a homeowner twice-over and currently lives in a 1966 raised rancher in Seattle.
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This book is a good start. It's a good one to read before you've looked at a home, pre qualified for a mortgage, or selected a realtor.
She also provides some good tips for first-time buyers. She suggested looking for community-sponsored home-buyer benefits, which I did, and found that I qualified for over $5k in community assistance, despite being single with a stable and comfortable income.
I would have liked to see more analysis on ways to optimize an ROI, such as taking in a roomate. Even without this, Ms. Hodges provides an interesting and thoughtful framework in which to evaluate this huge decision. For me, after all was said and done, I opted to continue renting, preferring the mobility of rentals to the fixed nature of home ownership (something Ms. Hodges addresses at length in the book).
Don't listen to your inner child, your mother, or that realtor who drives a car with a bumper sticker that says "Now. It's the time to buy." You can do your homework and make the right decision for you.