skip to main content
Search Search Investors Icon Investors Careers phone 1-800-318-8997

How to Decide If You Should Rent or Buy a House

Hand holding wooden block with text message Rent or Buy and wooden house, on wooden desk office. Save money and buy house concept.

The question of whether to rent or buy has plagued potential homeowners for decades. On the one hand, renting gives you the flexibility to move often, and your landlord handles maintenance. On the other, homeownership allows you to build equity while freely transforming a house or condo into your ideal living space.

You’ll have many factors to consider when asking if you should rent or buy a house. We’ll help you sort through key considerations affecting the decision to rent or buy a house.

Should I rent or buy a house?

If you do a financial health check and find everything is in order, it might be time to buy an actual house. Having the following in place means buying a home could be a good decision for you and your family:

  • You have three to six months of living expenses saved
  • You have enough money set aside for a down payment of 10 to 20 percent
  • Your job is relatively secure, or you could easily land a job that pays as well or better
  • Your mortgage payment, HOA fees, homeowners insurance, PMI, and property taxes add up to a quarter or less of your take-home pay

Planning for job loss, illness and other catastrophic events will help ensure that you can afford your new home while enjoying life and saving for the future.

Other Rent or Buy Considerations

Giving your money to a landlord can feel like throwing it away. After all, you’re not building equity in a home that’s all yours. And you can’t make major changes to your home without running them past your landlord. But renting can be beneficial under these circumstances:

  • You might need to move in the next few years
  • You aren’t able to keep up with a lawn or major home repairs
  • You don’t have enough saved for the down payment and other expenses
  • You owe a lot in student loans or haven’t paid off consumer debt

Taking all these factors into consideration is a must.

Look Ahead to Decide if You Should Rent or Buy

Having a big-picture view of things will help you make an informed decision. While the financial considerations are essential, it’s also important to answer these questions:

  • What is the cost of renting vs buying in your area?
  • Do you like the area enough to put down roots there?
  • Will your job require you to relocate in a few years?
  • Do you want to do any long-term traveling in the next few years that will require you to leave your home for months at a time?

If you have younger kids, area schools will play a major part in your decision—not just now, but for the next decade or so. If imagining yourself and your family in the same place for many years to come leaves you with a good feeling and the numbers add up, buying there makes sense.

Find out if You Should Rent or Buy with Landmark

The rent vs. buy calculator from Landmark National Bank takes some of the guesswork out of the homeownership question. Our friendly mortgage lenders can also help you determine whether the time is right to buy. Visit a mortgage lender at a Landmark National Bank branch location near you today!

How to Save for a House While Renting

A model home sitting on a desk with text that says "How to Save for a House While Renting."

If you’re a renter who dreams of homeownership, you’re probably aware of all the twists and turns on the road to buying your first home, especially in recent years. COVID-19 and inflation are just a few factors contributing to the increasingly expensive and competitive housing market in the United States.

While finding and buying a home requires dedication and a positive attitude, it’s not an impossible task. Learn how to save for a home while renting with helpful tips from Landmark National Bank!

Use Your Mortgage Options to Create a SMART Goal

Smart goal word cloud with words over white office table background.

 Every journey needs a destination, and homeownership is no different. You can certainly think of owning a home as your destination, but between working, paying bills, having hobbies, and spending time with loved ones, it’s easy to lose sight of a general goal like homeownership.

We recommend using the “SMART goal” technique to stay on top of your goal of owning a home. A SMART goal exhibits the following traits:

  • Specific—What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Measurable—Quantify your goal so that you can track your progress.
  • Achievable—Give yourself a reality check and confirm you can achieve your goal.
  • Relevant—Identify the “Why” behind your goal.
  • Time-bound—Create a time frame to help yourself focus on your goal.

A SMART goal about homeownership looks something like this: “I will save the amount of money I need for a down payment by setting aside $500 each month for 12 months.”

The community you’re looking at, the type of house you want, and your credit score will affect the time frame and dollar amount you use for your homeownership SMART goal. Landmark National Bank has a valuable you can use to create your SMART goal: our Quick Rate Calculator. Not sure if you should rent or buy a house? Dive into our Home Rent vs. Buy Calculator.

These financial calculators provide a quick and easy way to gauge your options for a mortgage. For more accurate insight, you can also find a Landmark National Bank mortgage lender near you to discuss the home loan process.

How much down payment do I need in Kansas?

Your down payment amount depends on several factors. The home loan process for a three-bedroom home in Topeka, for example, may look quite different from the process for a starter home in Overland Park. Find your nearest mortgage lender to discuss the best course of action for homeownership in your community.

How to Save for a House While Renting: 7 Tips

Female real estate agent offer homeownership to young couple.

Until you have the chance to talk to a Landmark National Bank mortgage lender, you can still work towards your goal of homeownership! We’ve gathered our best ways to save for a house while you rent.

1. Open a Savings Account for Your Home Fund

The first step is having a place to put your hard-earned money for that future home! Open a savings account at Landmark National Bank; our personal savings accounts are designed to help you reach your goals. If you’re not sure which account type is best for your situation, reach out to our helpful team.

2. Create a Budget

We can never say enough good things about a well-planned budget! Budgeting is important for many reasons. In addition to helping you plan for big purchases, such as a home, it can aid you in avoiding debt and overspending. Learn how to make a budget plan from scratch and determine how much you should spend on housing with the help of Landmark National Bank.

3. Calculate Your Debt Management

Student loan payments and credit card debt can slow down your journey toward homeownership. If you have the means and commitment to eliminate your debt sooner, use our Snowball Debt Elimination Calculator. We’ll help you learn to properly manage or accelerate your debt payments.

4. Develop a Side Gig

If you have a knack for knitting, painting, or other crafts, consider turning your hobby into a side business. You can even use playing video games to earn money through live streaming on platforms like Twitch.

5. Save Your Tax Refund

You may be tempted to splurge your tax refund, but consider putting it into your down payment fund. Even if it isn’t a large amount, it can still help push you a little closer to your goal.

6. Adjust Your Current Living Situation

It may require more commitment than our other tips for saving for a house, but renting an apartment or house with roommates is an effective way to save money. Whether it’s with friends, family, or your significant other, sharing the cost of rent gives you the option to set aside more money for a home in the future.

7. Apply for an Assistance Program

As we mentioned earlier, the road to becoming a homeowner has gained a few hurdles in recent years. At Landmark National Bank, we’re happy to help you work toward owning a home through our home loan options. Ask your local mortgage lender about first-time home buyers programs, USDA loans, and more.

Explore Your Mortgage Options with Landmark

At Landmark National Bank, we’re dedicated to helping our friends and neighbors throughout Kansas work toward homeownership and other financial goals with our financial products and services. Explore our financial calculators or contact a Landmark National Bank mortgage lender near you to learn about becoming a homeowner today!

How to Prepare Financially When Expecting a Baby

A new mom snuggling with her baby.

Welcoming a little bundle of joy into your life is an exciting milestone. However, from diapers and formula to clothes and car seats, babies bring quite a few expenses along with them. The average cost of having a baby in the United States is about $10,800—a large price tag for such a little package!

As you get ready to become a parent, take steps to prepare your bank account for the arrival of your child, too. Discover how opening a savings account from Landmark National Bank can help you prepare for a baby financially.

Create a Baby Budget

It may sound odd, but you should create a budget for your baby. Everyone’s baby budget looks different, depending on how many children you already have, what your expenses are, and your income.

Consider having both a long-term and short-term budget. Your short-term budget focuses on the cost associated with the arrival of your baby. Postnatal care, hospital bills, or adoption fees are significant expenses at the beginning of your journey of parenthood. Your long-term budget includes:

  • College fund
  • Daycare expenses
  • Food
  • Diapers
  • Clothes

In addition to creating a budget, we’ve gathered a few cost-saving ideas to help you prepare financially for a baby:

Thrift for Baby Clothes

As a new parent, you may be tempted to treat your bundle of joy like your personal baby doll. Unfortunately, babies grow quickly, meaning that little sailor outfit or tutu may not fit for very long!

Additionally, baby clothes often get stained with spit-up and food (or worse!). Give yourself a wide variety of baby clothing options without overspending by going to thrift stores.

Use Coupons for Formula, Diapers, Etc.

Formula and diapers are two of the biggest costs associated with having a baby. If breastfeeding and washable diapers aren’t an option for you, try to use coupons as much as you can. In addition to saving money, coupons may even give you the option to purchase more baby supplies and save you a trip or two to the store.

Create a Savings Account for Your Baby

One of the biggest ways you can give yourself financial help as a parent? Open a savings account for your baby. By opening a savings account, you can create a space to track all of your baby’s financial needs. Set aside money for a college fund, build your short-term budget as your due date approaches, or build out a nest egg for the irresistible baby outfits you stumble upon.

Open a Savings Account with Landmark National Bank

If you’re wondering how to prepare financially for a baby, Landmark National Bank can help. In addition to savings accounts, we offer a variety of personal banking options to help you manage finances as you prepare to have a baby. Find a Landmark National Bank branch location near you and open a savings account today!

12 Realistic Financial Resolutions

Piggy bank and stacks of coins sitting next to a man as he types on his laptop.

A new year brings the opportunity for fresh starts, resolutions, and trying new things. When it comes to financial health, there are a few New Year’s resolutions you should consider setting to make your financial health a priority. At Landmark National Bank, we’re here to help with tips for saving money in the new year.

Create a “Why” and Revisit it Often

One of the easiest first steps you can take in saving is determining why you want, or need, to reorganize your funds. Whether you’re preparing to buy your first home or building an emergency fund, having a clear purpose can help drive your efforts to an end goal.

Your reason for saving doesn’t have to be final. Taking a job out of state? Keep working toward saving a house, or shift your efforts to paying off student loans in the meantime. If you achieve your goal for an emergency fund, create a new goal that fits your current situation and work to meet that one next. Revisiting your “Why” can get you back on track if you slip up or start to waver.

Open a Savings Account

Savings accounts are a great way to put away money and earn interest without putting in any work. These accounts typically have a required opening balance and minimum balance but give you the ability to earn interest based on the type of account you have. Landmark National Bank offers a variety of personal savings account options, including an account designed just for young savers!

Create a Monthly Budget and Stick to It

The idea of making a budget can seem intimidating, so don’t be afraid to start small. There are many ways to create a budget, this means you’ll be able to choose one that works best for your needs. A couple of popular budgeting methods include the 50/30/20 method and a zero-based budget approach.

The 50/30/20 splits your income into three categories with 50% going to living expenses such as rent, utilities, and food, 20% to savings, and 30% to spend as you decide. You can even do this by hand by separating cash into envelopes so when you’ve spent one, you’re not able to dip into other accounts.

A zero-based budget approach requires you to know where every dollar goes. This type of budget is best for someone who has a set income each month and has experience budgeting, as it does take some extra work and digging.

With Landmark’s online banking, you can also categorize your transactions, and then generate a chart that shows you how much money you are spending by category every month.

Look for Ways to Boost Your Income

If there’s no wiggle room in your budget to save more than you are now, your best option may be looking into additional sources of income. This may include a second job, picking up more responsibilities at work, or freelancing with the skills you already possess.

Part-time jobs can also come with extra perks. Working the front desk at a gym may earn you a free membership, and a few hours a week at your local grocery store typically earns you a discount you can use for food and essentials.

If you have knowledge and experience in a creative field, advertise your services on freelance sites such as Upwork and Fiverr and pick up projects when you have the capacity to do so.

Meet with a Financial Advisor

Financial advisors can help you plan for life’s biggest events to make sure you’re making the best financial moves. Even though you may not think you need a financial advisor, it’s not always a good idea to wait it out until you need someone knowledgeable to seek it out.

A financial advisor can also help develop a strategy for upcoming events such as starting a family, buying a home, or planning for retirement. Depending on the one you choose, your advisor may even act as sounding boards to help you confidently take control of decision-making.

Review Your Subscriptions

Subscriptions and memberships can add up quickly and easily get out of hand if you’re not paying close attention to when they renew. Between streaming services, magazines, and shopping subscriptions, you may be spending a lot more than you realize. Take time to total up all the services you have and review them individually to see if you’re using it enough to justify the monthly expense.

There are even apps such as TrueBill that will find these for you so you can decide what to cut and what to keep. Instead of a cooking magazine that you may not use every month, look around for free recipes online or wait until your favorite dish is featured to pick up a copy. Some publications even offer digital versions of their work for a lower price if you still want to access the information in a different format.

Pay off Your Debt

A survey conducted by Inside 1031 found 55% of people have credit card debt that they carry from month to month. In addition, 40% of people haven’t been debt free since 2018. Whether the debt comes from irresponsible spending habits or an emergency expense, leaving it to grow and rack up interest will only cause problems in the long run. If you have credit card debt, make it a goal to pay it off.

There are many approaches you can take to paying off your debt, but two of the most common include paying off the largest debt first (the avalanche method) or paying off the smallest amount first and working up (the snowball method.)

Once your debt is paid off, you’ll have more freedom in your budget and can work toward building up savings and creating an emergency fund for the future.

Be Energy Efficient

Utility bills fluctuate throughout the year depending on your location and your preferences on heating, cooling, and appliances. While it brings an upfront cost, consider switching to energy-efficient appliances, using LED light bulbs, and buying rechargeable batteries.

These items last longer than their non energy-efficient counterparts and will save on electricity bills in the long run. In addition, unplug electronics if you’ll be gone for a long weekend and turn off lights and TVs when you’re not using them. If large windows and sunlight bring up the temperature of your home in the summer, opt for blackout curtains that not only keep out the bright rays but the heat as well.

Maximize Credit Card Rewards

Credit cards can seem intimidating when it comes to paying off debt, but they’re one of the best ways to build and improve your credit score if you can manage and pay them off on a regular basis. If you’re going to be using credit cards, choose one that offers cash back when you do. Explore your credit card options with Landmark National Bank.

Prioritize Cooking from Home

While running through a drive-thru on your way home from work may seem like it saves time, the money you pay for convenience will really add up. Cooking at home can be fun, and easy, with the help of a delivery service.

These kits can be customized based on diet preferences and have a new menu you can pick from each week. You’ll also save time when it comes to stopping at a restaurant or drive-thru, as these delivery services bring the food directly to your door. Expand your knowledge in the kitchen by sourcing favorite recipes from friends and family, so you never run out of new options to try.

Try a Savings Challenge

Money-saving may seem like a monotonous task, but it doesn’t need to be. Money saving challenges are a way to give yourself goals and switch up how, and how much, you’re contributing to your savings account each month.

A few popular variations include a no-spend challenge and the 52-week challenge. In a no-spend challenge, you don’t buy anything outside your normal living expenses. This means not spending money on clothing, take-out, or entertainment. Start with a week to see how well you do and extend from there.

During a 52-week challenge, you’ll start by saving $1 during week one and increase as you go, saving $2 during week 2, $3 during week 3 and so on. By the end of the year, you will have saved almost $1,400 that you didn’t have set aside before.

Refinance Your Home or Student Loans

Mortgage rates have been sitting at attractive levels since mid-2020, giving homeowners the opportunity to switch out their existing mortgages for a new one. If you don’t own your own home, the same thing can be done for student loans and even credit card debt.

Refinancing your loans into one single loan with a lower interest rate, or one that is somewhere in the middle of all your rates.

For some people, refinancing can mean securing lower interest rates that help them owe less in the long run. For others, the psychology of making one large payment on one account feels more successful than making small payments on many accounts.

Save Money in the New Year with Landmark National Bank

There are many approaches you can take to tackle your financial goals in 2022. Whether you’re opening your first savings account or saving for a future vacation, Landmark National Bank is here to support you through every step of the way.

Use our online and mobile banking tools to manage your money and budget on the go, or explore home loan options to see if refinancing is the best option for you. Work toward your financial goals this year with Landmark National Bank. Visit a Landmark National Bank branch location near you today!

Ways You Can Improve Your Financial Wellness

A woman holding her baby while her husband looks at their finances on the computer.

As we head into a new year, it’s time to take a closer look at your finances. Maintaining your financial wellness is key to creating and achieving your short- and long-term financial goals. But what is financial wellness? From setting goals to preparing an emergency fund, learn everything you need to know about financial wellness with Landmark National Bank.

What is Financial Wellness?

The term “financial wellness” has become more and more commonly used by organizations everywhere to educate people about their personal finances. So, what is financial wellness? The National Financial Educators Council defines financial wellness simply as the relationship you cultivate with your money.

Furthermore, financial wellness highlights your financial stability, how you manage your expenses to fulfill goals, and your ability to prepare for any unknown factors in the future. In addition to learning how to make smart moves with your money, taking care of your financial wellness can help you prepare for emergencies or unexpected expenses. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, financial wellness has especially become a focus for many Millennials.

Set Your Financial Goals

Whether you are working towards paying off your student debt or saving for your own business, attaining your financial goals requires creating a plan for yourself. Becoming financially secure is part of forming that plan.

A key aspect of becoming financially secure is to develop a budget plan. A budget will help you have a clear understanding of your income, savings, and future expenses. In order to accomplish your financial goals, your budget will determine where you can start and how to reach the finish line. Once you have created a budget that works best for you, establish your short- and long-term financial goals.

Short-Term Financial Goals

When you begin to think about your short-term financial goals, remember that “short-term” has a relatively broad definition. Common short-term financial goals include home improvements, travel, or rent, and other recurring bills. Your established budget helps you determine how you will pay for everything you need and want.

Take control of your personal finances with a personal checking account that works for you. Controlling your money with the right checking account can help you analyze your spending and how to align with your budget plan.

Long-Term Financial Goals

Your long-term financial goals are the goals that require more than a few weeks or months of planning. This includes a retirement fund or paying off your home mortgage. Long-term goals depend on your financial situation and what payments you need to make sooner rather than later.

For some, a long-term goal could be paying for a car, while others may consider starting a business to be a more time-intensive plan. Once you’ve identified your long-term financial goals, it’s crucial to form a budget for them. Make sure that you select a personal savings account or business checking account to help you manage finances for your personal or professional future.

Emergency Preparation

In addition to a budget for the costs you can plan for, you should have funds set aside for life’s more unpredictable twists and turns. Feeling financially comfortable comes with having a plan with your money that bridges your short and long-term goals together. This means that you can always be prepared for any emergencies or immediate costs that come your way right now or down the road.

To give yourself a secure financial buffer for unplanned costs, make sure that you have or create an emergency fund in addition to your savings account. To calculate how much you should have in your emergency fund, review the cost of your basic living expenses.

Whatever total you find, you should have enough money in your emergency fund to cover between three and six months of expenses. If you’ve never had an emergency fund, you don’t need to worry about reaching that amount immediately. However, as your fund grows, you can reach a state of comfort and preparation to lower any stress that comes your way.

Discover How To Maintain Your Financial Wellness With Landmark

Financial wellness doesn’t need to be an intimidating term. When you’re ready to manage your finances with a convenient banking account, Landmark National Bank is here to help. In addition to a variety of banking solutions and services, we offer online and mobile banking to help you take care of your financial wellness wherever you are.

Stop by one of our bank branch locations to start your journey to better financial wellness with Landmark National Bank today.

Perks of Using a Debit Card

Perks of using a Debit Card

If you have a checking account, using a debit card is a great and convenient way to manage your spending and protect your finances. Credit cards are convenient because they allow you to pay for things when you don’t have money immediately available to pay for something, but the fees and interest you have to pay on them, causes you to end up paying more interest over time.

As of 2020, 79% of Americans use a credit card, while 67% percent use a debit card. Credit cards may have the edge in terms of usage, but there are still several perks to using your debit card. In addition to avoiding the fees associated with credit cards, debit cards provide better control over your spending and budget, rewards for making purchases, and more. Learn more about the benefits of using a debit card below!

Fewer Fees and Service Charges

When you use your debit card, you can say goodbye to the annual fees, interest fees, and late payment fees that credit cards entail. You may still have to pay an ATM fee when using your debit card, but these fees typically only apply when you use an ATM outside your bank’s network. And with Landmark, you can use any ATM in the MoneyPass network with no fees!

While debit cards don’t require the same service fees as credit cards, it is possible to incur an overdraft fee or low balance fee if your funds drop below a certain amount. However, you can easily avoid these fees by keeping an eye on your spending and developing a budget.

Immediate Access to Your Money

Unlike credit cards, debit cards provide a direct line to your bank account—anytime you want to make a purchase, you can do it right away. Credit cards do allow you to spend so much with a credit limit, but you also have to get approved for that credit card.

Additionally, debit cards don’t require approval for you to spend money that’s already in your account. This feature is helpful when you want to make a large purchase that isn’t within your credit limit, but have sufficient funds in your bank account. For fraud prevention purposes, your debit cards do often have a daily limit, but if you need to make a large purchase, you can simply give the bank a call to have your limit adjusted.

Better Management of Your Budget

When you have immediate access to your account through a debit card, you can manage your money directly. Rather than allow you to rack up a large balance on your credit card—or worse, rack up a larger balance than you can pay off at the end of the month, adding debt to your credit report—a debit card immediately takes money out of your bank account.

By using your debit card in lieu of a credit card, you can create a live report of how much money you actually spend—and the amount that’s available in your checking account.

Enjoy Bank Rewards with a Debit Card

It’s fairly common for credit cards to offer rewards or cashback returns on certain purchases, but did you know some debit cards now offer rewards? Depending on your bank and the rewards program your card uses, you can earn points or cash back on travel, shopping, gas, groceries, and other everyday purchases.

When you open a personal checking account with Landmark National Bank, you’ll receive a Landmark VISA® Debit Card. With your debit card, you can enjoy our free Landmark National Bank Rewards program. Each time you make a purchase with your card, you earn points for a variety of rewards, such as apparel, electronics, and gift cards.

Interested in a personal checking account with Landmark National Bank? Visit a Landmark National Bank branch near you to learn more about our products and services today!

Manage Your Cards with CardManager from Landmark

If you want to manage your finances, keep track of your budget, and protect yourself against fraud all in one place, Landmark National Bank has the solution for you. Our new CardManager app allows you to take control of your debit card usage with a few taps on your phone.

Simply link all of your eligible Landmark National Bank cards, and even the cards of your authorized users, to the CardManager app and start tracking your finances in seconds.

From our new app, you can easily turn your linked cards on and off in an instant for any reason and set controls and alerts on cards, perfect for managing your children’s spending when you can’t be with them. Controls can be set based on transaction location, type, and amount. You can also set up travel plans, which alert the bank that you will be traveling outside your normal area and want to use your card on those trips.

Ready to take control of your money and your finances? Open your Landmark checking account today, or contact our team to learn more about our account options.