The pandemic drastically changed everything. From our daily lifestyle to our working environment, everyone is required to embrace the “new normal” living to keep the community safe from the COVID-19 and whatever threat it may impose. While things are slowly getting back to normal, everyone is still encouraged to be cautious and to follow the health protocols to prevent another possible surge that might put us all back to catastrophe. As they always say, health is wealth but what I realized this entire pandemic is the importance of saving money and how it can help you overcome any unexpected financial burden in the future.
The first year of the pandemic was really tough for my family. We were all caught off guard and we didn’t realize that the situation would blow up globally, shutting down all small businesses and all other possible ways to earn money. My sister, for instance, almost lost her job because of her company’s retrenchment operation due to the pandemic. My brother, on the other hand, had to make a big switch by embracing a new work-at-home environment just to keep the company’s operation ongoing despite all the lockdowns and community restrictions.
I was lucky enough that my job has always been home-based so I don’t have to make any big adjustments. However, most of my plans were greatly affected by the situation. Aside from all the canceled travels, my plan to move to a new house was also postponed. I have been aiming to live separately and independently from my parents and I have been saving money to make it possible. Our family is getting bigger and my sister recently gave birth to her lovely daughter. In addition to that, I am already at the right age to embrace this so-called “independent life”.
Of course, I am not going to take such a risk without doing my own research. I will not explore this new chapter without any preparation. Moving alone is quite a big leap for me and while I am all willing to embrace the concept of living independently, what worries me a lot is how will I handle all my finances and how will I be able to pay for my bills without facing any critical financial problems in the future.
To Rent or to Buy?
The first question I have in mind is if I am really ready to move alone. Will it be more ideal to rent a house or will it be better to buy one? Buying is obviously the best answer because it will instantly put an end to those escalating rents. However, this will definitely drain my savings and I am not ready to face any future consequences by taking such a huge risk. In addition to that, the pandemic drained out a huge percentage of my savings. This is where the idea of renting comes into play.
Luckily, we have many Rent-to-Own houses to choose from. This is a common scheme where the renter and the seller come to an agreement by giving the renter the option to purchase the property within the agreed period. This will provide me ample time to settle or improve my finances while renting, allowing me to work on my financial health or credit score before the lease duration ends.
Renting a space or better yet an apartment seems like one of the excellent options I have at this moment. There is a great number of competitively priced apartments for rent today that matches well with my budget. Of course, I also have to consider the location. Ideally, I want a place that is not just near to my work place but also to other important public landmarks like hospital and market. I also prefer an apartment that is spacious enough for my things.
How’s my Finances?
Applying for a Mortgage or Home loan is also an excellent option but not everyone is eligible or qualified for it. This made me question myself if my financial status is stable enough to be qualified for a mortgage loan. To top it all off, the mortgage rates are drastically increasing ever since the pandemic started which makes owning or buying properties even more complicated and hard. Luckily, I came across a mortgage calculator online that allows me to estimate my finances and calculate my mortgage qualification based on my current income.
The Advantage of Using Mortgage Calculators
Interestingly, this site comes with many useful tools that I can take advantage of for free. The calculators come with easy-to-field forms and provide you with comprehensive results in no time, showing the estimated amount you can borrow and how much loan you can afford based on your current income. In addition to that, the site also offers a monthly mortgage repayment calculator that quickly estimates your monthly payments for various loan scenarios.
It also offers a calculator for amortization with an intuitive table and chart layouts that allow you to easily compare Fixed-rate and Interest-Only payments side-by-side. For someone like me who is still undecided whether to buy or rent a house, these calculators can help you dig deeper into your current finances and see if you are qualified enough to buy or rent.
What’s my Next Step?
Whether or not I am qualified for a mortgage loan, there are still many factors to consider before I settle on my final decision. Besides the mortgage, buying a home includes additional payments and expenses that can quickly add up including those legal fees. Not to mention the moving fees and home improvement expenses. Right now, I am taking everything slowly but surely.
Asking for recommendations from friends and family is helping me in this life-changing decision. Looking for a credible real estate agent is also something I must highly consider in the future. These agents can help us get a better deal and help me find a house that suits me well.
How about you? Have you ever considered buying a new home? How did the pandemic affect your finances and what did you do to overcome it?