Everyone needs a solid roof over their heads and the buy vs. rent debate has been going on for quite a while now. Would you rather rent or buy the house you live in?
Some argue buying is always better. Others disagree, because of the flexibility that comes with renting a home.
As someone who has experienced both options, I can honestly say there are no winning arguments in favor of either of the 2 choices.
There are advantages and disadvantages that come with both renting or buying. The final saying though is highly influenced by each individual’s personal lifestyle.
Would you rather rent or buy the house you live in?
Renting a home
Paying rent vs. paying a mortgage isn’t exactly a fair comparison. Finding an affordable apartment for rent is, in many cases, much cheaper than paying a mortgage.
You don’t have to fork over a huge down payment, just a security deposit (which is usually a couple months’ rent in advance). And if you’re careful enough, you might even get that money back if you decide to move.
Insurance costs aren’t mandatory, so if you can’t afford it or consider you don’t need one, you can skip paying renter’s insurance and keep the money in your pocket.
However, you’re still paying a monthly fee to use a property that’s not yours. Paying rent only gives you the right to ‘borrow’ the home long term. If the owner decides to sell or kick you out for some reason, you’ll have to find another place to live.
Are you bored with the neighborhood? You can easily move someplace else!
Does your job require you to travel a lot? You have the option to rent a new place whenever and wherever it is you need to go.
Renting offers a lot of flexibility for people who are either required to move a lot or are simply the ‘nomadic’ type.
The biggest advantage of flexibility though is the option to downsize if you can’t afford to pay the rent anymore. We downsized a few years back and it was one of the best financial decisions we made! Paying a significantly lower rent really helped us getting back on track with our finances.
However, moving implies certain costs, especially if you have your own furniture! Also, one big disadvantage is leaving behind friends and neighbors you grew fond of. I distinctly remember moving when I was only 12 and, even though we only moved a few neighborhoods away, it was still tough on me as a kid.
Unless the appliances that break down are actually yours, renting gives you the great advantage of not having to deal with repairs and home maintenance costs.
Any problem you have, big or small, you don’t have to spend a dime to repair it. It’s the landlord’s job to take care of you as a tenant, as a ‘reward’ for you paying rent each month.
However, not all landlords play fair and square. We’ve actually had quite some problems in the past with our last landlord and barely managed to come to an agreement whenever something broke down.
Buying a home
Paying a mortgage can become expensive, especially if you can’t save enough to increase the amount for your down payment.
You have home appraisals to deal with, home inspections, homeowners insurance costs. Buying can become expensive!
However, you’re investing in a property that will be yours to keep! And all these expenses won’t affect you for the rest of your life. As soon as you finish paying off your mortgage loan, you’ll be debt free and the proud owner of your own home! This is something renters can’t have.
While renting offers the flexibility to move wherever you see fit, home ownership offers the flexibility to build, transform, redecorate and do all the things you can’t do as a tenant.
Another great perk that comes with owning your home is the possibility to earn extra income by renting out free space. This is great in case you realize paying the mortgage becomes a burden. You can even rent the entire house if you ever need to travel because of your job!
However, problems can arise if you find less than desirable tenants. Some might stop paying you rent on time, or worse, damage your property.
Dealing with plumbing problems, a broken washing machine or anything else that suddenly stops working around the house becomes your responsibility. And the costs come right out of your paycheck!
However, you get to deal with these problems on your own terms! In some cases, there’s the possibility of being able to fix things yourself. Or call a friend to help out. Or, maybe it was about time you bought a new washing machine! And buy energy efficient, so you can also get a nice tax deduction next time you file your taxes.
Buying property is a a type of ownership investment that could potentially bring in a serious income. Investing in real estate is quite a profitable business model.
However, not everyone is ready to commit to such a serious financial responsibility, since renting is so much safer from many points of view.
For decades, home ownership used to be ‘the norm’. Times have changed though, and many find themselves renting and loving the idea.
Saying that buying a home is better than renting or vice-versa is really a subjective matter.
There are many factors to take into consideration and, surprisingly, not all of them are related to money.
Buying vs. renting is one debate you should argue about only with yourself and your immediate family. Circumstances and lifestyle choices differ from individual to individual, so don’t rush to make any big decisions based on what others tell you.
Which side do you currently stand on?
Would you rather rent or buy the house you live in?