This seams like a simple question, but yet it has so many answers! The answer that is right for you depends on your situation. If you are planing on moving to another town within 2 years, renting is a better option for you. If you have found a city that you are looking for a long term investment in and wanting to build equity, then a home purchase is more for you.
So let’s consider a few things: Renting…. This a good option for when you first move to a new town, trying to pick an area you like, or just not sure where to purchase. You have a short term commitment, usually 6, 12 or 24 months. Renting also offers a more “free to move” approach. It costs a lot more to move and sell once you have purchased a home. Now that we have thought about time, let’s consider location. Location includes 2 parts: where the complex or house you are renting is located and where within a unit or neighborhood. Most apartment rentals are in higher traffic and sometimes higher crime areas, check your local crime reports before you move into one. A home that you are renting can be located anywhere in a town, and you should still check with crime rates and neighborhoods to make sure it is a match for your needs. If you choose a place that has neighbors as close as the other side of the wall, don’t forget you have sound and smells that sometimes travel between walls. If you play in a rock band and they meet at your place, might want to opt for NOT an apartment complex. Then there is cost, the cost of a rental is usually higher than a purchase. To rent a stand alone home is typically more per month than the apartment option. Last but not least consider the size. If you have a large family or want to entertain a lot, homes are normally better suited for that. Now some complexes have club houses and neighborhood pools and other “entertaining” options.
Now for a Purchase…. A home is a more long term investment and you can do more things with a home. Now that yo have chose a place to live and want to be there for a few years or more a home is a great option. As a home owner, no one can tell you what to do or not to do to your home. If you want to paint a bedroom or add a new dishwasher, you don’t have to wait to get the land lords approval because you’re it! On the flip side to that, if something breaks, it’s your job to fix it. People that own a home typically take better care of it than a renter would. A neighborhood with a higher percentage of owner occupants is usually better kept and nicer. Like with any place you choose to live, rent or buy, you want to check the crime rates and other issues that may effect your decision to live somewhere. Since the cost to pay a mortgage is dramatically different for the space you get for renting, this makes home ownership a big PLUS! Especially with interest rates as low as they are now and have been over the last year or so, it makes it a great time to buy. A renter does not build equity of have any equity in their place like a home owner does. This means that when they go to sell, they not only get what they paid for it, but usually make a little money as well (depending on the time they buy or sell and the market conditions of each). I’m sure I have left off some other great reasons to own a home, so here are a few of my favorites: A place to have a garden, a yard for the dogs, neighbors to get to know (hopefully you like some of them), freedom to do what you want when you want inside the privacy of your home and MY PLACE TO CALL HOME!
No matter which you choose, it should be right for you and your family. As a REALTOR, I love to see the look on a buyer’s face when they find that perfect place to call home! It’s pretty amazing that sometimes they just “know”. It’s not like that for everyone, and it might not be that way for you so don’t wait for the absolute perfect place. I find that most buyers give you a list of A,B,C and sometimes end up buying C,D,E. It’s just the way it works. The key is knowing what you want verses what you need and having an educated REALTOR to help you through the process.