The struggle is so real. I've been trying to find a house to rent in Rockford for almost two years and still haven't found anything. My laundry list of items of things I need in a home might be too much to ask, but the one thing that keeps me from getting the house I want is the cost of rent. A decent house that has a fenced in backyard, two car garage, a finished basement and accepts dogs runs about $1450. Sadly, that's just not in my price range.

What's even sadder is that if I bought that same house, my mortgage would be cut nearly in half.

I can't tell you how many times I'll look at  houses for sale and talk myself out of buying one for a handful of reasons. The property tax is too high, the neighborhood is too dangerous, I'm not sure I want to set up permanent residence here; and oh yeah, my ex-husband and his girlfriend tanked my credit and lost my house so buying isn't even an option for three more years.

It really is too bad because the homes here are so beautiful and have so much character; there's about 10 of them I'd buy right now if I could. And if you're on the fence about buying a home in Rockford, it might be time to consider going forward with the purchase.

According to GoBankingRates, it's more expensive to rent a home in Illinois than it is to buy.

If you're already renting a place but you're trying to save to buy a home, you know difficult it can be to save for that down payment when you're already putting half of your monthly salary toward rent; but don't get discouraged. It can be done.

Financial experts add that if you plan on staying somewhere longer than five years, buying a home is a good investment; and according to WREX, now might be the best time to look at your options.

Catch Mandy James on “The Steve Shannon Show with Mandy James” on 97 ZOK from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.