Rent vs. Buy, The Definitive Guide
Published | Written by Jerry Newman
When you look for a new apartment to live in, you’re often faced with a big decision: whether to buy or rent. There are significant differences between them, and not all of them are financial.
There’s risk, commitment, time, and several other factors to consider before you get a mortgage and sign an agreement. Not all apartments are for sale, either, which is something else to consider. And hey, don’t forget that buying a new place means moving and perhaps renting a truck and handling that piece of the puzzle, too!
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the differences between renting an apartment or buying a house, and what you need to consider before doing either.
What’s Your Motivation?
Before you make any decisions, decide on what your motivation is. Buying an house is a big commitment, and you need to make sure it’s in line with your current and future plans. And if you’re looking for a potential investment property, be sure you look at the comparables in your neighborhood. Remember, a place you buy in Chicago’s Lincoln Park is going to be far different in terms of pricing than a home in San Antonio.
Are you moving for your career, or are you looking to start a life as a couple? There are many factors to consider and your motivation will sway you towards renting or buying.
How Long Are You Staying?
It’s important to consider how long you intend to stay in your new apartment. The general rule of thumb is that renting is a better option if you’re going to be staying for less than five years.
However, if you’re planning to stay a significant amount of time, you might want to consider buying.
There’s a financial element to this reasoning. It might be better to pay a monthly fee on your mortgage rather than paying rent to someone else over an extended period.
Do You Want to Make a Commitment?
Renting a place for what you can afford means having a term stipulated in the lease. When the lease is up, you can move out or renew. You’re never tied to your commitment for longer than a set period.
Buying, on the other hand, is a big commitment. It’s far more permanent than renting, and there’s no moving out if something unexpected happens.
How Much Are You Spending?
Money is probably one of the most significant considerations for most people who consider buying. You’ll need to put down a significant deposit, and you’ll have to cover your monthly mortgage costs.
The initial deposit when renting is a lot smaller. You’ll also get your security deposit back if the apartment is still in good condition when you move out.
Finally, your rent payments on, say, one of the Uptown Dallas apartments would still be lower than a mortgage payment on an apartment or apartment building in the area.
Consider the Bills
There are a few differences between the bills you get when renting and those you get when you buy. As a homeowner or landlord, you’re responsible for everything. You need to pay the utilities, repairs, renovations, and insurance. All the costs are on you, and you need to make sure that you can cover the bills that come with buying an apartment.
With renting, however, the landlord is usually responsible for all the maintenance costs. This does save you money each month.
That said, you’ll need special permission to make any changes to your home. While you might be allowed to make changes to the apartment or house you’re renting, you lose that money when you move.
What Are the Risks and Rewards?
Both renting and buying have their risks and rewards. With buying, there are certain financial risks. While it does provide security, unforeseen accidents, or loss of income can hurt your living conditions and bank account.
With renting, you risk increased rent at a landlord’s discretion. There’s also the chance that they might sell the building, forcing you to move. However, you’re also far more mobile when you rent. You’re not as tied down by your mortgage, and you can invest your money into other things.
There are pros and cons to both buying a house and renting an apartment. In the end, it comes down to the kind of commitment you want to make. Always weigh your options, motivation, and financial implications before you make your final decision. Seek the counsel of a real estate professional, who can guide you through the home buying process if you decide to buy a home.
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