No matter whether you decide to rent or buy a place in which you live it is a huge decision that requires careful thought. Not only does this decision affect your finances at the end of the month, but your lifestyle and savings over the years. Every day, Americans are buying homes as an investment that can grow and be a source of tax deductions. Similarly, there are those that prefer to rent for life due to the flexibility and minimal responsibility it brings, even though they would collect a larger cash flow over time if they bought.
More often than not the bias will veer towards ownership. It’s a big business with many moving parts, from mortgage lenders to real estate agents to home improvement stores. But owning isn’t necessarily better than renting depending on your situation.
Renting comes with the freedom of moving without any sort of penalty, but conversely if your landlord decides to sell the property, tear down the apartment complex, or bump up rent beyond your budget. Other points to consider are:
- Fewer upfront costs and paperwork
- Freedom to be more mobile
- Not responsible for maintenance, repairs
- No need to worry about falling home values
- Build credit (if your landlord reports rent payments to the credit bureaus)
- No property tax bills
- The landlord can raise the rent or sell the property
- Choices may be limited depending on vacancies
- Might have to move many times
- Don’t build equity
- No tax benefits
Buying your home brings all sorts of benefits such as stability, belonging to a community, and pride as a homeowner. But, if you love to travel and live a nomadic lifestyle it’s a problem. At times you might not be able to sell when you want if the housing market is down. Don’t even mention translation costs when you sell! Make sure you’ve considered the following before making your decision:
- May build equity and credit
- No landlord to answer to
- More stability (especially with schools)
- Possible tax benefits
- Can improve or upgrade home to your taste
- Requires substantial money, paperwork upfront
- Could lose money if home values decline
- Extra expenses beyond mortgage payments
- Rising home prices and low inventory in many markets
- Responsible for repairs, remodeling
Which option is best for you isn’t necessarily just about money, but also what you want your future to look like in the long run. People will often tell you owning makes sense in the long run and renting is simply throwing money away-or that if you buy that means your monthly mortgage payments would be the same or less than your monthly rent payment. Life and the housing market are too uncertain to make blanket statements like these.
Still, most Americans still choose to own a home rather than rent. Often citing the reason as raising a family and being able to customize their living space rather than following strict renters agreements. Ultimately, you are the only one to decide which is best for your situation.
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