Blog :: 07-2013

Numbers Don't Lie

Are you having trouble choosing between buying a home or maneuvering the rental market? Here are the key numbers to consider!


Credit Score

Those three little numbers can play a big role in both buying a home and renting an apartment. According to Zillow's analysis of over 25,000 loan quotes and purchase requests reveals that you need a score of 740 or above to get the best mortgage rates available. If you're looking to rent, you can use your good credit partnered with a steady income as a negotiating tool.


Mortgage Rates

As the job market is improving and the economy is on the rise, mortgage rates are increasing. According to Zillow the average mortgage rate is currently 4.29 percent for a 30-year fixed loan. With the rising rates, buying now ensures the low rates.


Total Cost of Ownership

For home-buyers, it's best to allocate around 25 to 28 percent of your annual income towards paying for your home. Expenses to consider include mortgage payments, insurance, and taxes.


Rental Costs

With climbing rental prices and vacancy rates dipping down to as low as 4.5 percent - according to Rentenna - it's hot rental market with prices to match. It's a general rule of thumb to use 15 to 50 percent of your total income. To keep your budget in check a 40-1 rule is a good rule to consider. For example if your rent is 2,400, your ideal annual income should be around $96,000 (40 x 2,400= 96,000).

Check out this handy dandy Buy vs. Renting Calculator, courtesy of the New York Times
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Comments

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    Taking Sustainable Living to New Heights

    It seems like more and more people want to jump on the "green homes" bandwagon to either lessen their impact on the environment or to cut down on that electricity bill.  Energy-efficient products have made it into the mainstream.  Apartments and homes are no exception to this trend.  Check out a few of the extreme self-sustainable housing options and how you can get a taste of it in your home.

    It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a "self-sustaining cocoon."  The brainchild of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design's Tanya Shukstelinsky is a fabric micro-home.  This quasi-two dimensional home includes a cozy sleeping area and bathroom amenities directly below.  Sleek design makes this home perfect for city living.

    If the fabric home is a bit too claustrophobic, check out these "moon-cocoons" popping up in LA. On the West Coast, the Valhalla Movement created Eco-domes that provide self-sustaining energy, water, and food for home-dwellers. Infrastructure is created with superadobe, which works with wind, sun, and shade to provide ideal heating for the homes. The Valhalla community is complete with food forests that provide organic food for eco-dome owners.

    Safe to say that these two self-sustaining home options are on the extreme side. If you want to get a little more environmentally friendly without the cocoon, maybe an urban garden is more of your scene. Originally making their mark from the hit show "Shark Tank," Urbio created urban vertical gardens that provide organizational space and streamlined gardening space. With pumice, soil, seeds, and a dream you can grow all of the fresh basil your heart desires.

    Click for more information on self-sustaining cocoons, eco-domes, and urban gardens.

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    Boston vs. Cambridge

    According to Boston.com, Cambridge beat out Boston for the #1 spot on their countdown of the best Massachusetts spots to call home.  Here is our rundown of Cambridge versus Boston.

    Cambridge

    Versatility. Whether you're in the city everyday or commuting out to the suburbs, the location offers easy accessibility to public transportation and major driving routes. You can have all the perks of being a city-dweller without the hustle and bustle of Boston. On top of it all, you have the most distinct dining options and some of the best school systems right at your fingertips.

    Boston

    Nothing beats living in Massachusetts's largest city. There is a distinct neighborhood for all walks of life (and all budgets) from the up-and-coming South End to the college slums of Allston. Indulge in each neighborhood flavor with endless transportation possibilities. Ranking in the lowest third amongst all Massachusetts communities, the city just falls short of the #1 spot because of the Boston public school system.

    Check out what other Massachusetts places made the Top 25 here.