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Pros and Cons of Renting vs. Buying a Home

By: iTHINK Financial | Aug 02, 2019

No matter what we do or where we are, we all want to come back to a place we can call home. While being at home can feel calming and relaxing, finding a home can be far from it. Not only do you need to decide where you want to live, you also need to figure out how you want to live: should you rent a place to test the waters? Or make a bigger commitment and buy real estate? While there is no one right or wrong answer, we created a guide to help you discover which option would work best for you in your journey to finding your next home. 


Renting: Yay Or Nay?


The Pros of Renting

Real estate in itself can be overwhelming. From markets that seem to change value overnight to closing costs, buying a home can seem like an expensive and time consuming endeavor to a new buyer. There is also the question of affordability—are you able to make a down payment? Can you pay monthly mortgage bills on time? And don’t forget about property taxes, homeowners’ insurance and private mortgage insurance.

Renting a home or apartment eliminates many of these costs. You won’t have to worry about closing costs or home loans—you just pay monthly rent and (sometimes) utility bills. If you decide to live in an apartment complex, you also won’t have to pay to have someone mow your lawn or fix your plumbing as property maintenance is usually included in the rent. There are also options where homes can come furnished or unfurnished, a great option for those who can’t afford to buy brand new furniture.

While a major pro of renting is the possibility of saving money, there is also the possibility of freedom—the freedom to be flexible in where you live and the ability to change locations in a short period of time. This is especially helpful for people who don’t see themselves living in a certain location for a long period of time or simply don’t want to invest in the local housing market. Been offered a dream job across country? It’s easy to go for it when you know you don’t have to put a house on the market. Don’t like how thin your walls are? You can move to a new place that better fits your lifestyle when your lease is over. Renting can be a great option for those who don’t want to own property for a variety of reasons and can be beneficial depending on your lifestyle.


The Cons of Renting

While there are plenty of reasons to rent a home, there are also some setbacks you’ll need to consider. Renting lets you live in place without the commitment of owning, but since you don’t own the property, there might be certain rules and regulations you’ll need to follow, such as not decorating your place a certain way or parking in a specific spot.

Not owning property also prohibits you from earning equity—a homeowner’s interest in a property that makes it their own. Equity can also be considered part of your net worth, which can be useful in buying a new home or as a retirement fund. Since you don’t build equity when renting, some can view this as a bad investment.

Unlike buying a home where you receive a home loan with a fixed interest that won’t change, it’s never guaranteed that your rent will remain the same every year. With rising housing costs and growing cities, rent payments have increased while homes with rent control have decreased, which could make renting a more expensive choice compared to buying.


Buying A Home: Is It Worth It?


The Pros of Buying

For many, buying a home is a great life achievement. As mentioned earlier, you’re building up equity that will be very useful down the road. This equity can be used towards the purchase of a new home, add it to your net worth or use it as a base for your retirement fund. Equity also helps your credit score, which can be used to help buy property and other investments down the line. Buying a home also means that you take a home loan with a fixed interest, which in some cases, means that your monthly payments could be cheaper than a rent payment depending on individual factors. Since buying property is an investment, you are investing in yourself and your net worth—this can’t be done renting property.

Once you buy a home, the home is yours—you can decorate and renovate however you see fit. You can add features such as pools, bonus rooms, larger kitchens and more while adding to your home’s worth, which raises your equity. Many rental properties don’t allow this and if you did, you add to the property owner’s worth, not yours.

Owning property is also a great option when you know you want to be in a certain area for a longer period of time—you won’t have to constantly look for a new place to live. It’s your home for the years to come.


The Cons of Buying

Just like with renting, there are some aspects of buying that you’ll need to consider before becoming a homeowner. One of these is time: how long do you want to live in a certain area? One year? 10 years? Depending on how committed you are to a location, you’ll have to determine if it’s worth investing in property you know you won’t live in for a long time.

Buying a home also comes with some extra costs, such as down payments, realtor fees and closing costs. You will also need to set aside a budget if you want to renovate or fix certain aspects of the home. 


Which One Is Right For You?

We know that finding a home can be just as exciting as it can be stressful. From leases to home loans to just finding a place can seem overwhelming at times. With this guide, you can decide what the best option is for you and start looking for your new home today.

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