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Pros and Cons to Renting vs Buying a House

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Are you looking to pick up and move to a whole new place? It’s an exciting time, but you have so many options. What’s the right choice?

Do you know if you’re going to buy or rent your new home?

We want to talk about it. There are plenty of pros and cons to renting vs buying, but it can be hard to keep all of them in mind when you’re on a house hunt. We want to break them all down for you so that you can make an informed decision on your own.

Keep reading to learn about some of the pros and cons of renting a house and buying a house, and be sure to take notes!

Pros of Renting a Home

Why would you want to rent a home when you could buy a perfectly good home to own and live in forever (or at least for the foreseeable future)?

There are plenty of benefits to renting a home. It’s not just for college kids and people who can’t afford to own property yet. Anyone can rent.

When you rent a home, you have fewer responsibilities. Often times, a landlord will be responsible for repairs that you’re unable to complete on your own (though this varies by the landlord). This means that when something bad happens to one of your appliances, your plumbing, or your electricity, you may have someone there to help you when you’re stuck.

You also retain your mobility when you rent a home. You aren’t committed to the home for more than the duration of your lease. If you know that you aren’t interested in being in the area for long, or if you don’t want to commit yet, this is a huge benefit.

You might have a dream home in mind, but you can’t find something similar on the market. You can rent until the house of your dreams shows up.

Renting is also a smaller financial commitment (though it increases over time as you stay in the house or apartment).

Cons of Renting a Home

Renting a home isn’t a perfect solution for every potential tenant.

When you rent, you give up a security deposit to the landlord. You may need separate deposits if you have pets. If the house isn’t in pristine condition, some landlords may retain those deposits.

You can get renters insurance to help cover you in the case of damage to the property, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

Speaking of pets, you may not be able to live in a home if your pets aren’t acceptable to the landlord.

More and more places are allowing pets, but many still only allow service animals. If you want to keep your furry friends by your side, you are going to have a more difficult search than someone without pets.

You also lose the ability to customize your home, at least without permission. There are plenty of temporary decoration tools that you can use, but it’s risky. Painting, if it’s allowed at all, may require a re-paint before you move out.

Renting doesn’t give you the ability to pay towards something bigger. When you have a mortgage, you know that you’re paying something off that you get to keep forever. When you’re renting, this isn’t the case. That money is gone.

Pros of Buying a Home

Buying a home is so exciting. There are so many reasons to get excited about moving out of your current space and buying your first place.

When you own a home, you get to do whatever you want with it (within reason). While some Homeowners Associations (HOAs for short) may be nitpicky about the outdoor area of your home, you can paint the indoors as you please. You can have as many pets as you want!

Do you want five cats and a lizard? In an apartment, this can’t be done. In a house? Go for it.

When you buy a home, you know that the money that you’re paying is going towards your property. You’re not paying someone to have a temporary space in the home that they own.

The prices of mortgages can be comparable to rental prices, but they can also be much lower depending on the housing market in your area. It’s always wise to compare these costs, especially if you’re on the fence between owning and renting.

Cons of Buying a Home

So what’s bad about buying a home?

For one, you’re responsible for fixing everything. You do all of the hard work, pay all of the bills, and manage all of the big problems that come your way. It can be fulfilling, but you’ll miss the days when you could get a few things taken care of for you.

Certain kinds of damage or losses are covered by homeowners’ insurance, but the primary financial burden is on you.

You are also subject to the whims of Homeowners Associations unless your neighborhood doesn’t have one.

They can control everything about your outdoor living space, from the yard and your exterior paint jobs to the way you set your car outdoors. They can bother you about unacceptable trees and plants, about the grass being too tall, and about the trash can being out for too long.

In other words, it’s a massive pain.

Buying a home can also come with a lot of work before you have the house of your dreams. Almost every house needs some renovating unless it’s brand new. While these projects are fun and fulfilling, and they’re things that you can’t do when you’re renting, they’re also exhausting and expensive.

The most important downside of buying a home is that you’re rooted. If you know that you love where you live and you’d like to stay there for as long as possible, buying is a good choice. If you’re unsure, you may want to think twice about putting down roots like that.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting a Home

So what does this all mean for you? How can you decide whether renting or buying is the right choice for you and your family or housemates? Is the decision really that important?

Advantages

Renting does have several advantages that you should keep in mind when you’re relating it to your own experiences, wants, and needs.

Anyone who wants to retain mobility before they’re ready to “settle down” (if they’re ever ready to settle down) can benefit from renting. This is also true if you think you’re going to expand your family down the line. If you don’t know how big you need a house to be or what you want it to include, renting is a great first step.

Disadvantages

If, however, you are ready to settle down, renting might not be the best choice. You’ll spend more money over time on rentals throughout your life, and that money isn’t putting you ahead in any way. It’s money down the drain.

If you have children already and you know approximately what sized home you need, renting won’t give you the security that you’re looking for. Also, as rents go up, you’re going to be paying more money. Your rent is only as stable as your lease.

Once that lease is up, a landlord can change the price (and some landlords can do so mid-lease). They can take more money from you via a security deposit that doesn’t get returned.

They may change the terms of the lease.

This is an insecure situation. If you need security for yourself, your family, or even your pets, renting can be risky.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Home

So what about buying a home? What are the good and bad things about buying if you get all of this security without all of the struggles of dealing with a pesky landlord?

Well, it depends on your situation.

Advantages

If you’re someone who’s ready to commit and put down roots in your new home, buying is the best overall choice. You get to make the home your own with no indoor limitations.

You have secure housing for your children and no risk of having a pet removed by a cranky landlord. If you’re someone who has already found their dream house, buying is the obvious option.

It’s also great if you’re in an area where the housing market has dropped. A town full of cheap houses is great for you, and buying as soon as possible is the best choice. Even if you decide to move later, you can probably see your home for the same as you bought it for, or more!

Disadvantages

Again, if you’re someone who wants to be free with the wind, buying might not be the right choice for you. It’s a permanent decision (well, within reason), and you’re taking on a lot of responsibility.

Not everyone is ready for that level of responsibility, and not everyone needs it. Single people who no clear plans don’t necessarily need to own homes. If your life path is still leading you around the country or world, or if you’re unsure about potential children or other family expansions, buying a house can be more of a burden.

In the event of a natural disaster or serious accident, owning a home can be a nightmare. There’s homeowners insurance that helps to mitigate some of those problems, but it’s a much bigger hit to lose an owned home vs. a rented home.

The Costs of Renting vs Buying a Home

If you’re still on the fence, the cost of renting vs buying a home can change that depending on your situation.

When you’re renting, you’re putting money towards nothing, but that money is less than what you would be paying overall as a homeowner (depending on where you’re buying and whether or not there’s an HOA).

Some people don’t have the money for a down payment. Down payments are expensive, and rentals don’t have them. This is often enough to let people know what’s right for them.

Mortgages can be significantly lower than rent prices, but when you add the extra costs from bills, renovations, repairs, HOA fees, and anything else that your home needs, the money adds up. That being said, that money is all going towards the improvement of your home rather than the pocket of a landlord.

With renting, you’re only paying for the rent. There may be an excess fee for renters insurance or pet rents. You’ll likely need to pay some kind of utility fee.

The biggest day-to-day difference in cost between renting and buying a home is that initial down payment. You’ll likely spend far over the cost of a home in your lifetime if you choose to consistently rent. If you never have the ability to earn and save enough money to make a down payment that’s thousands of dollars, that doesn’t matter.

Overall, we think that the cost of buying is (generally speaking) going to be lower after that initial investment. That initial investment, though, is the roadblock.

Renting vs Buying a House: Pros and Cons

When you’re deciding between renting and buying, pros and cons can be confusing. That’s because there’s no one “right” answer. Different options are going to suit different lifestyles, stages of life, and individual people.

While buying a home is a great investment, it isn’t always accessible when not everyone has enough money saved to put down a down payment.

While the mobility of renting a home is great for people who don’t plan on putting down roots, it isn’t as ideal for people who want security for their families.

So which option is right for you?

To learn more about housing and how it relates to you, check out our blog. If you’re looking into getting your space insured (regardless of whether you’re renting or buying), we’ve got you covered.

Visit our site to get a quote so you can secure your home.

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