To rent or to buy? This is a question most people ask themselves at some point in their life. For some, owning a home is not a priority. For others, it is the ultimate goal in life. In this article we will explore the pros and cons of each and hopefully help you answer the question…Will you ever own a home?
Whether renting or owning a home, there are monetary and non-monetary pros and cons. Let’s start with the monetary considerations.
Monetary Costs of Renting
When you rent a home there are always up-front costs. These costs include a security deposit, first (and sometimes last) months rent, moving expenses, etc.
Along with the initial costs of renting, there are costs you pay throughout the year such as the rent, renters insurance, various maintenance costs, utilities that the landlord doesn’t cover, etc.
The burden of maintenance lies mostly on the landlord or property management company if there is one. Renters are usually responsible for light maintenance such as the general condition of the home from normal wear and tear. But if something goes majorly wrong, such as a pipe burst, AC unit dies or other appliance failure, the landlord has to foot the bill for repairing or even replacement.
Although opportunity costs are not as straightforward as other costs, they should be taken into account when comparing the cost of owning a home. These costs include the rent you pay not going toward the principal balance of a home loan. (Your rental payment is most likely going toward the balance of your landlords mortgage, or if they own the house free and clear, its going into their pocket.)
Monetary Costs of Owning
Just like renting, there are up-front costs you must pay in order to buy a home. These costs are typically much greater than renting, they include, your down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, etc.
Owning a home comes with costs you must pay throughout the year such as, your mortgage payment, maintenance costs, all utilities, HOA fees if applicable and property taxes.
Aside from costs associated with major repairs and replacements, there are general maintenance costs homeowners need to take into account. For example, over all upkeep of a property. When you own a home, you will have to take care of the little things like broken sprinklers, leaky faucets and new vent filters.
It is no surprise that owning a home costs more, at least initially. But money shouldn’t be the only thing that plays a role in determining if homeownership is right for you. There are non-monetary factors to consider. Let’s explore a few.
Non-Monetary Considerations of Renting and Buying
Pride of Ownership
When you rent, well, there is none. You may take pride in your home no matter where you live, which is great. But your rental home is technically not yours so you have little incentive to maintain its value.
When you own your home you are probably very proud of it, as you should be. It takes a great deal of work and money to buy a home and you will likely do everything you can to make sure your home stays in good condition. Over time you will update it to maintain it’s value. You may even become one of those neighbors who gets frustrated when another neighbor lets their lawn go.
Control of Destiny
This may sound a little dramatic, but it makes a valid point. When you rent a home, yes you usually have a lease so you are probably safe during that time period. But you never know what the owners plans are for the future. They may decide to sell the home or possibly raise the rent. Unfortunatley these are things that are out of your control. You could find yourself moving much more often than you’d like and it may not be your choice.
When you own a home, unless you default on your mortgage and are kicked out due to foreclosure, you never have to worry about being forced to move. If you do make a move it is by your choice.
When you rent a home there is no investment value. The rent you pay goes toward the owners investment. For those who own a home, this is often the most beneficial factor of buying. Depending on the current and future state of the real estate market, most homeowners are able to realize a return on their investment. Meaning, when they go to sell their home, they have gained equity and make money on the sale (sometimes a lot of money). Or if the owner chooses not to sell, they may chose to rent the home and they could potentially profit from the rental income they generate.
These are just a handful of factors that make up the pros and cons of buying vs renting. I cant really answer whether one is better than the other. It is truly a matter of determining what is right for your individual situation. But I will offer some advice as a parting gift… No matter your current situation, if you want to own a home you absolutely can make it happen. If homeownership is not your thing, that’s OK too. Evaluate your current and future financial state, think long and hard about your future plans and be honest with yourself about what you want in life. With that said, what do you think now? Will you ever own a home?