Renters Have Much to Gain by Pursuing Home Ownership in Hawaii

Buying a home vs. renting is a big decision that takes careful consideration, as most mortgage consultants will agree. But the rewards of home ownership are great. For many years, purchasing real estate has been considered an extremely profitable investment. It is an achievement that offers a sense of pride, financial stability, and potential tax advantages.

The Benefits of Hawaii Home Ownership

Yes, there are certain responsibilities associated with owning a home. Landlords will often argue the benefits of renting, and for obvious reason. If you are renting, you’re helping them make their mortgage payment!

The numbers are staggering if you look at it this way. If you are paying $2,000 per month for a condo, and you know your rent will increase 5% every year, then over the next five years you will pay your landlord $139,246. If you are currently renting a house, you may be paying much more than that each month. Either way, you gain no equity by shelling out this monthly housing expense and you certainly won’t benefit when the property value goes up!

However, if you were to purchase your own home or condominium, you would be on your way toward building equity. By choosing a fixed-rate loan program, you can have the comfort of knowing that your monthly mortgage payment will never go up. In fact, you would have the option of refinancing to a lower interest rate at some point in the future should interest rates drop lower than the rate you’d currently be locked in at, and this would cause your monthly mortgage commitment to go down.

And not only would your own home give you added space, your own backyard and overall privacy - home ownership would also give you some tax advantages. Depending on your tax bracket, owning a home is often less expensive than renting after taxes. Interest payments on a mortgage below $1 million are tax-deductible, and your mortgage consultant should help you evaluate the tax advantages of various loan scenarios, and share this information with your tax consultant to glean feedback on your behalf.

Tip: Find the Loan Program that is Right for You

To find the loan program that is right for you, your mortgage consultant will need to evaluate your monthly household income, current assets and savings, as well as any monthly obligations you may have for credit card payments, car payments, child support, etc.

These prequalification factors, along with the report of your credit score, will determine how much house you can afford and what interest rate you will pay for financing. It is also important to let your mortgage consultant know what your future goals are, because this will help narrow down which loan option is the best fit for your long-term needs.

"Low" Down Payment Mortgage Programs. There are many different types of loan programs available, including "low" down payment mortgage programs. The most common loan for people buying their first home is the FHA loan, which only requires a 3.5% down payment. In addition, FHA allows a seller to cover up to 6% of a buyer's closing costs, which really helps decrease the amount of money it takes to buy a home.

“Zero Down” Loan Programs. There are also a couple of “zero down” loan programs available here in Hawaii. If you are a current or former member of the military, you can take advantage of a VA loan, which requires zero down up to a $721,050 loan amount on Oahu (loans up to $1.5 million with small down payment). Many people also don't know that FHA and VA allows the lowest credit scores of any loan available today, only needing a 620 score in most cases.

The other “zero down” program available in some areas is the USDA Rural Housing program. This loan is available for the purchase of condominiums or homes in areas that are considered rural.

Schedule a Free Prequalification Appointment

If there is any time to buy it is now! Why? Because home prices and interest rates are still relatively low today. Don't miss this opportunity to take advantage of the current market before home values and interest rates rise.

To schedule a free prequalification appointment, call Zack Diener at (808) 349-3777, or email me lending@hawaiilife.com.