Renting or buying: Which option is best for you?

Dear Readers: TO RENT A HOME OR TO BUY? That is the question. Here are some factors to think about:

How long will you live in the home? Less than three years? Rent. The fees associated with buying a home (inspections, closing costs, appraisals, etc.) stack up and can easily eat into any equity you might build.

Affording a $2,000 rent payment doesn’t necessarily mean that you can afford the same amount for a house payment. Again, in homeownership there are added costs of insurance, taxes, fees, maintenance and utilities. On the other hand, buying a home can protect you from rising rents.

Experts agree: Practice saving and amassing cash for several months before looking into homeownership.

Talk with a financial adviser to figure out the better choice for you and your family. — Heloise

Q, I NEED U!

Dear Readers: Have you ever wondered why, in English, for words that contain the letter Q, U is always right next door? Let’s take a look:

The sound that these letters together make, a “kwuh” sound (like in “quarter” or “queen”), is called a digraph — two letters that together make only one sound. Q and U appear only before other vowel sounds, like in “quote,” “quit,” “quaint” or “quilt.”

Of course, there are exceptions. The word “qi,” for example. Can you think of other exceptions? — Heloise

BUMPY SUPPORT

Dear Heloise: I put puffy stickers on my desk. They ensure that my keyboard and mouse don’t slide, and they are a conversation starter, that’s for sure. — Katie A. in San Antonio

Katie, this is a fun idea. Make sure the stickers don’t leave residue on the desk. — Heloise

APRON AID

Dear Heloise: I am recovering from a broken bone in my foot. My pants and tops have no pockets for a phone or tissues. I popped on a perky little kiddie apron with pockets, and now I can maneuver anywhere in the house. — JoAnn B., Troutman, N.C.

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.

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