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Lately, realtors across the country have been trying to lure apartment dwellers into the joy of homeownership by advertising the fact that the total monthly “carrying cost” of a new townhouse or condo is significantly less than current rent prices. Is that true in your case? To find out, you should consider exactly what they’re including in their calculations–and what they’re leaving out.

Given a favorable interest rate environment (check out for current rates) and a buyer’s market for real estate in certain areas of the country, it may be quite possible that your mortgage payments will fall below your current rent level.

Let’s say you’re now paying $800 for an upscale, suburban two-bedroom apartment, but you’ve been looking at a basic, new “starter home” condo or townhouse for $126,000. (Of course, rents and prices vary wildly depending on your location, so take these numbers as hypothetical.) To even begin thinking about buying, you’ll have to come up with a 5 percent downpayment. But if you check a mortgage chart – usually available at banks and bookstores – you’ll see that a 30-year loan for $120,000, at a fixed rate of 6.5 percent, will cost you $758 a month. That’s $42 bucks less than your current rent. So maybe it’s worth scraping together the $6,300 downpayment in any way you can–borrowing from Mom, selling your Honda–so that you can become a property owner, start building equity, and stop throwing your money away into the black hole of rent payments.

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Before making any rash decisions, though, look a little more closely at the numbers. In addition to a downpayment, you’ll have to pay for certain upfront “closing costs.” These include a title search, which protects against fraudulent sales by ensuring that the seller is truly the owner of the property he’s trying to sell; a survey, to confirm that the property’s boundaries are as described in all the sales contracts; and various other certificates and insurance premiums. The total of these costs generally ranges between 3 and 6 percent of the amount of your mortgage–in our hypothetical case, an additional $3,600 to $7,200. That’s a significant amount of money for most of us non-Rockefellers. If you’re really serious about buying your first home, make sure to consider all these additional costs when comparing them to your current rent.

Some important factors in the rent vs. buy issue:

* With only 5% down, most lenders require PMI insurance, which can significantly affect the monthly payment.

* No mention was made that the costs of maintenance for renting an apartment are borne by the landlord. I know that it costs for lawn service, fertilization, utilities (in some cases may be included in rent, like water or heat), roof repairs, painting, etc.

Condos in Branson, Missouri

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Growing from a small Ozark town to a full-blown resort, Branson, Missouri has become one of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S., offering visitors some of the best entertainment in the world. With vacationers coming in droves from all corners of the globe, hotels in Branson and motels fill up furiously, especially during the summer. For this reason, renting a condo is one of the best options for the perfect vacation stay.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Travelers have found that staying in condos in Branson, Missouri provides the perfect balance between being in the thick of it all while being with family or friends away from the madding crowd. With traffic competing for road space and life on the Strip going a mile a minute, condos in Branson, Missouri offer a tranquil alternative while being close enough to the action. Renting a condo in Branson on Table Rock Lake or Lake Taneycomo lets you relax with activities like fishing and boating with the majestic Ozark Mountains as your backdrop.

All over the world, people are looking for smaller homes in not-so-crowded places. According to Absolute Tiny Houses, this is becoming a new trend, as such houses reduce maintenance costs and allow you to save money for everything else.

Convenience and Space

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Staying in a Branson condo provides visitors with all the conveniences. And what better way to travel with the family or other couples than renting a place that feels like home. Here you can entertain, cook the foods you like, grill up a barbeque poolside, or just goof off without the restrictions that you find in hotels and motels. With more space than you would find in a hotel or motel, condos in Branson come with just as many amenities, including swimming pools and often tennis and basketball courts, along with adjacent world-class golf courses.

Far from the madness of the Strip, Branson condo life provides visitors with safe, secure, and convenient lodgings where grocery stores and take-out are just a hop away. After a long night of dining, music, bar-hopping, dancing, and out and out merrymaking, staying at a condo in Branson, Missouri, is the perfect way to regroup before you head out for your next night on the town.

Condos in Toronto, Canada

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If you’re on the hunt for a condo in Canada, Toronto would be the best spot to start looking around. It may not be the cheapest area to buy a property, but there are multiple advantages in settling in a Toronto home or just invest in a property in the area.

Since buying any property in Toronto can be quite expensive, you can consider buying a pre-construction condo that may save you a lot of money in the acquisition process. Just make sure you have some experts guiding you from picking out the unit, to inspecting the neighborhood, and then closing the deal. You can start your search right away, as there are many reliable online search tools like what Condo Wizard has on their website, where you can easily search for some good condo options within highly recommended areas in Toronto.

Keep in mind that your search can be a long process, so it’s best to start looking for prospects right away. Some of the well-known neighborhoods in Toronto are Tonge and Sheppard, Danforth Village, Weston, The Beaches, and North York. These areas are known for having amazing communities, while some offer amazing bonuses, like a waterfront view or a buzzing and lively nightlife. In the end, however, the choice would depend on you and your needs—so don’t hold back in your research, as purchasing a condo as a home or investment can be the best decision you ever made or the complete opposite.