Columnist: Tax returns are coming

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 4, 2016

Jerry Johnson

Contributing columnist

Let’s use that money wisely, let’s stop renting.

When you’re renting, you’re paying for someone else’s property. When you buy a house you have taken the first step in breaking away from poverty.

When you own a house you start to think a little more about enjoying your home, not just a house. When you own, you gain some equity every month you make a payment.

Over 30 years, houses go up in value. Houses I sold on the flower streets in the $59,000 to $79,000 range years ago are now $150,000 and up.

Local banks are making loans now with credit scores from 640 and above. Money is at a 60-year low with payments in many cases lower than the same house would rent.

We can still get people in with a VA loan with nothing down and real property in USDA areas with 100 percent financing. The best thing you can do at this time is to talk with local loan officers. They will take care of you and you’ll be happy. Home ownership is wonderful.

Paying for college for Junior. We will assume Junior will be going to get a good education and be a value to our society, not animal house all over again.

Buy a rental house and finance it for 15 years when Junior is 2 years old. When he gets to college he will have a steady income every month off the rent. Or if the rental is where he is going to college he has a place to live.

When Jay and Ashley were in college I sold off several rentals and paid for their college. Yes, I had to pay some taxes, but my goal was for them to get out of college without being in debt, and we got that job done.

Get with a good real-estate agent that owns rentals and talk with them. Buy good locations and treat it like a business. Run a credit check on everybody you rent to, and if they have had bad credit you will get more of the same.

This one is a winner. I have done this and am happy I did.

Jerry Johnson is president of First Realty of LaGrange.