Renting vs. owning in the Baton Rouge Area6/19/2019
Renting vs owning in the Baton Rouge area
Is home ownership right for you? I recently met with a couple that was interested in buying their first home but had no idea what to expect. The internet is full of pros and cons that left them nervous and misinformed about the entire home buying process. I’ll give you my thoughts, and then tell you what happened with my first time home buyers.
In my opinion, the Greater Baton Rouge area (including Ascension and Livingston Parish) differs from most areas across the country. While it is possible to find a rental under $1,000 a month, the majority of apartments in Baton Rouge range from $1100-$1700 monthly PLUS a deposit which is usually equal to the rental amount. Ascension Parish apartments are equally as high according to apartments.com. Other options include renting a home or condo from the owner. The average monthly rent is generally close to $1 per square ft of living. So, a 1400 square foot home would rent at or near $1400 a month.
The couple I met with was nearing the end of a 12 month lease of a 2 bedroom apartment in Ascension Parish. Their monthly rent was $1250 for a 1002 square foot apartment. According to what they “learned” online, buying a home meant a big down payment and the “stressful” process of getting approved for a home loan. In one of many conversations, they admitted that this delayed them from even considering talking to a Realtor.
I asked my potential buyers to meet me at my office and we discussed their options at length. By the way – none of the wonderful options available to them popped up in their “research”. They were unaware that you can buy a new home with NO money down. Many areas including Prairieville, Geismar, St. Amant, Gonzales, Dutchtown, parts of Baton Rouge, Central and Zachary are covered by a program called Rural Development. This program does have income restrictions but has helped MANY buyers stop the renting process. You can’t rent an apartment or a home with NO down payment. Most Veterans qualify for VA financing which is also 100% financing with no down payment. Currently there are down payment assistant loans, bond money, and a mortgage credit certificate program which is a homebuyer assistance program designed to help lower-income families afford home ownership. After this conversation, they were in quite a hurry to get approved! To calm their anxiety, we called a local lender together, and within minutes were approved to buy a new home.
After touring several homes in Ascension and Baton Rouge, we narrowed it down to 2 homes. They were:
HOUSE 1: 3 bedroom/2 bath 1593 living area with a garage and half acre – priced at $199,000.
Their payment with taxes and insurance would be approximately $1299 a month. Although this was $50 more monthly than their current rent, this home offered almost 600 more square feet of living area, and a beautiful yard.
HOUSE 2: 3 bedroom/2 bath 1525 living area with garage and spacious yard – priced at $175,000.
Their payment with taxes and insurance would be approximately $1128 a month.
My buyers bought house #2 which was larger than their apartment, offered covered parking, a yard to run and play in, a patio to relax under…WITH NO DOWN PAYMENT and a note $127/month CHEAPER than their rent.
If you are considering buying in the near future, call me. I would love to go over your options and discuss the entire homebuying process with you. This simple conversation will ease your anxieties and answer your questions to better prepare you when you decide you are ready to take the leap!
I have been in the real estate industry for 20 years and cover all of Baton Rouge, Livingston, and Ascension. In addition to houses, I can also help with condos, townhomes, mobile homes, property management, and land.
Feel free to call, text, or email me at your convenience! You can also visit my website atwww.brandysellslahomes.com or follow me on Facebook.
I look forward to talking with you soon!
Brandy Helms, Realtor
Licensed by LREC
Doug Ferris, Broker/Owner
Each office independently owned and operated.