Buying vs. Renting: The Best Fit For Where You’re At Right Now

By Matt May 04, 2018Stories & Advice

It’s no surprise to us—or you—that making the decision to buy or rent is no easy task. With so many factors to weigh, and a potential long-term housing plan on the table, it can feel a little overwhelming to navigate the best option for you. Financially, there’s a major shift to go from renting to buying in terms of deciphering savings, end-of-the-month leftovers, and the kind of lifestyle you want versus what’s realistic for the budget. But it’s also about roots. Whether that’s finding a long-term home to settle down in with loved ones or finding a welcoming apartment to match your on-the-go lifestyle.

The secret to making your decision easier? Understanding that both work. Neither is significantly better than the other. But it’s helpful to consider both sides to make a decision perfect for where you’re at in your life.

The Best Fit for Your Lifestyle

Buying: The stable, long-term haul that comes with buying a home may appeal to homebodies looking to settle down. It offers you the freedom of designing and decorating a home to reflect who you are. And really, there’s something special about being able to say it’s all yours.

Renting: Both the “good” and “bad” of renting is how flexible it is. If you’re someone that loves changing things up every few years, or constantly on the go, renting may be more appealing since you can move without penalty at the end of the lease. On the flip side, you run the risk of having to move out of place you really like if your landlord decides to sell.

The Best Fit for Your Finances

Buying: As a homeowner, you have to consider a number of factors including property taxes, water/sewer service, and homeowner’s insurance in addition to normal repairs/maintenance costs. But the biggest hit on your finances will probably come from your mortgage interest. To contrast, most finances put into owning a house are long-term investments that can benefit your property value in the long run.

Renting: The idea that you’re throwing money away as a renter is not as true as some articles may tell you. Even if monthly mortgage payments and monthly rent are pretty similar, renting usually ends up on the cheaper side when you factor in that most repairs and maintenance work are covered by the landlord or property manager.

The Best Fit for Your Future

Buying: But who says you only have to buy once? Taking good care of your “starter” home can be a huge benefit when you eventually move to your next house. This can happen a number of ways since you have creative control of your property and can make choices to up the value of your home when it comes time to sell. Whether it’s curb appeal or interior/exterior remodeling, a little can go a long way.

Renting: The downside with renting here is that most things are out of your hands. When it comes to updating appliances, flooring, etc. usually you’ll have little control with when/if it happens. Most extensive remodeling or decorating is looked down upon as a renter, so be sure to look over the contract to see what you can/can’t do.

On a Final Note

Renting and buying both have their own limitations and prospects. What works best for you right now may change in a matter of years. Regardless of what route you take, moving into a space of your own is an exciting opportunity. Weigh your pros and cons, take a look at your finances, and happy hunting!

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