The never-ending debate over whether it’s best to rent or buy a property has been on-going for decades and seems to never lose any steam. Everyone has an opinion and even the experts can’t hold back their two cents, but no one can give a definitive answer as to which is best. Each option has its own fair share of pros and cons or positives and negatives.
I’ll share with you some Pros and Cons of Renting an apartment versus Buying a home. Then you can take this information, do some research on your own and decide which option is best for you.
Low Maintenance –
When you own a house, you alone are responsible for all of the maintenance and repairs. However, when you are renting, you usually don’t have to worry about things breaking down or the roof leaking. If something needs to be fixed, you just call the landlord. It’s their responsibility to keep up with their property. Just make sure you read the lease very carefully before signing it, you don’t want to be surprised by any unexpected fees or having the rent raised because something went wrong and it was out of your control. Landlords can sometimes add in a special clause about you being responsible for repair costs or giving the landlord the right to raise your rent each month to cover the costs.
If you are known to be a wander or a “rolling stone” then renting might be a good idea. As long as you’re not trapped in a lengthy lease, it’s easy to get up and move when you rent a property, while homeowners have to worry about selling their house before they can move. Depending on the housing market and location of the property, your house could be up for sale for a long period of time.
Less Out-of-Pocket Costs –
Rental prices, especially for smaller apartments, are often much less than a mortgage payment. Renting can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. You have to consider that when you purchase a house, there are a lot of out-of-pocket costs like your mortgage and closing costs. Your mortgage will probably include things like; principal, interest, property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s hazard insurance, flood insurance, and possibly condominium or association fees.
Cons of Renting:
Forget About Remodeling and/or Decorating –
Generally speaking, renters usually aren’t allowed to even paint their units, much less make more extensive changes. You can probably forget about changing the carpets, putting in new ceiling fans or even changing the blinds in most cases. Some landlords may approve really nice upgrades like installing hardwood floors but be advised; you will pay for the costs of the upgrade and won’t see that money back. When you leave, the landlord will not pay you back and you just upgraded his/her property and possibly provided the landlord with a means to raise the rent for the next tenant.
Paying For Someone Else’s Asset –
When you are renting, that means you are paying someone else’s mortgage and property taxes for them. He or she owns the property and can sell it at any time. You are essentially financing their investment. As previously mentioned above, any upgrades or updates that you’ve made to the property will only benefit the landlord and you won’t see any return on your money or time spent.
Pros of Buying:
The Mortgage Interest Deduction –
One of the best real estate tax deductions is the one that allows you to deduct 100% of the mortgage interest that you paid in that year. It means that every penny of interest you pay on your mortgage is tax-deductible. This can amount to thousands of dollars of savings, especially in the early years of a loan.
It’s an Investment and Asset –
When you purchase a house; it is yours and becomes an asset. You are free to sell it or rent it, as you see fit. Once you pay off the loan, you own the property free and clear. All you will have to worry about is paying property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. If you paid for the property with cash then you’re already one step ahead.
You can do anything you want to a property that you own as long as there are no restrictive covenants in the deed prohibiting things or any Home Owner Association (HOA) restrictions. You can add on rooms, whole floors, paint, redecorate, remodel the kitchen, or anything else you so desire. Make sure you receive the proper building and inspection permits for any remodeling that might require them.
Cons of Buying:
So Much Maintenance –
As the owner of a home, you will be responsible for all of the maintenance. When the plumbing breaks at three in the morning, you are the one who will have to call the plumbing company and foot the bill. You will have to pay for HVAC work, roof repairs, cracks or leaks, window repairs, and a thousand other things that all add up. Owning a home can be really expensive because of these reasons.
Lack of Mobility –
You can’t just up and go when you are a homeowner. If you decide you want to move to another city or state, you will have to either sell your property or rent your house. Depending on the housing market and other unforeseen conditions, this can take months or even years.
Housing Market Uncertainty –
Eventually, you will probably want to sell your home. Experts say that the average person will move between 8-10 times in their lives. The house may be worth more or less than what you paid for it, but if you don’t have enough equity to cover real estate agent commissions and closing costs in addition to a mortgage payoff, you will have to cover the difference out of pocket.
If you have a lot of debt already or if you have just gone through a major life change or event such as a marriage, a new baby, a divorce, or even a death in the family, taking on the responsibility of owning a home probably isn’t the best decision at the moment.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of the things that go into the purchase of a home and when renting an apartment. Renting and buying each has its own set of limits and merits. The one that is best for you will depend on your lifestyle, current financial situation, and personal circumstances. Think long and hard before making a huge commitment like buying a house with a 30-year mortgage!
If you need additional help, check out this free Rent Vs Buy Calculator from OKCalculator.com to input your own information and get a good idea which one is right for you!