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      Money Talks: To Rent or To Own?

      It's become an American mantra: when it comes to your home, you always want to own, not rent.

      Wayne Falbey, Real Estate Professor, says, "Building equity is always a great idea|as opposed to writing a check every month and it's gone. There are some tax benefits from the mortgage side as opposed to the rent side. "I can't imagine too many scenarios where renting would be preferable to buying."

      But we may be in one such scenario right now, at least in some parts of the country. Falling prices aren't a happy thing for highly leveraged assets with huge transaction costs. And that's got some experts changing their tune.

      Irv Rosenbaum, College Professor, says, "Depending on the local market conditions, it may be advantageous to rent. Especially if there's a good rental supply at a reasonable price."

      So how do you decide whether to rent or buy? Well, as with most investments, the longer you plan on keeping it, the lower your risk. So some experts say buyers should plan on staying put at least 4 years.

      And don't forget that owning takes a lot more time and maintenance money than renting.

      How much more does owning cost? Again, it's only a rule of thumb, but 35% more is a good number to work with.

      So before you automatically assume that you should take on a big mortgage, maybe you should do a little calculating. There's help on the web to do just that.

      Bottom line? Renting may not be just for college students any more. But, if you want some tools like calculators that will help you determine wether you should be a renter or an owner, I can hook you up. Just come to I'm Stacy Johnson.