Choosing whether to rent or buy a home is arguably one of the greatest decisions that affects not just your life, but your financial wellbeing as well. Buying is not always the best option, and there is nothing wrong with deciding on renting over buying. Experts will tell you the substantial benefits of both and although many will argue for buying, it is entirely up to YOU to decide which is most suited to your goals and finances.
Before you decide to choose between renting or owning, you should ask yourself:
1. How long do you plan to stay in your area?
2. How much money have you saved, and how is your credit score? And,
3. Are you ready to become a homeowner?
The upsides of renting include:
If you are not planning on staying in the same area (whether for work, school, or any number of reasons) renting offers short term contracts. This flexibility allows you to make future life decisions with a lot more freedom, and your living choices aren’t nearly as restricted. It is significantly easier to break a lease than to sell a house if you are forced to relocate.
Less Money Upfront
Although renting does have more upfront costs including security deposits (one month’s rent), first AND last month’s rent, and application fees the averaging cost (approximately $4,107 in 2022 with an average rent being $1,369 a month for a three-bedroom unit) is still lower that a down payment and costing cost on a home purchase. And while monthly rent is usually more than a monthly mortgage, you are not responsible for the property taxes on the home.
Maintenance Isn’t Your Responsibility
As a renter, costly repairs are not your responsibility. These costs are covered by the property owner or leasing agents according to the contract established at the beginning of your rental agreement. In addition to this, you could also have others take care of routine chores! Things like mowing the lawn, painting, etc. can all be a part of your contract as well. It is important to ask what is all included in the rent during the signing process.
When renting, you are more likely to have financial uniformity. Rent remains consistent (unless your lease renewal increases the rent) and some places may even include utility costs. This means you have more financial consistency, and this minimizes the impact of fluctuating monthly bills, unlike homeownership which has varied costs depending on the terms of your mortgage, interest rates, taxes, and insurance.
Upsides of owning include:
Mortgages Are Cheaper
As I mentioned before, renting offers more financial uniformity, but on average monthly rent payments are more expensive. Mortgage prices
are on average 30-40% lower than rental costs for similar sized homes; for example a three-bedroom home averages $16,428 (with no additional costs) to rent where as the monthly mortgage payment is $13,488 (the average mortgage payment in Florida in 2022 being $1,124 per month). Terms of a mortgage can also be more lenient in times of financial crisis, whereas property owners of a rental may not be as for giving.
Increases Credit Score
One of the most important factors of financial freedom is a good credit score. Of course, paying Auto loans and credit cards are beneficial and crucial to improving your FICO score, but as a homeowner, adding consistent, on-time mortgage payments can more rapidly increase your credit score. Mortgage agreements also reflect greater impacts to credit bureaus because of the financial value of a home.
Learn more about the importance of credit score and homeowning in our blog!
Every month that you make a payment you own a little more of the property and, in turn, building equity. Equity, in the simplest of terms, is the difference between your home’s worth and how much is owed on its mortgage. You are building value to a high value asset and the additional value of your home may increase based on shifts of the market. By building more equity, you can access more loans, upgrades, and improvements.
For some people, renting is only a short-term solution. The flexibility of renting is only valuable to those who are planning on moving and don’t plan on starting a family. It is argued that children in owner-occupied dwelling achieve better educational outcomes, including high school completion and college attendance (although the direct effects of homeownership on education is still unclear), but more importantly, it allows you to control the schools that your child is zoned for, and in turn ensure your child is getting the best education possible in your area and budget.
Ultimately, it is important to take into consideration what works best with you and your current situation. If you are ready to start a family, or if you simply plan on staying in your area just because you like the community, owning a home may be the best option for you! Whereas if you love to travel and have no intentions of staying in one place for very long, renting would definitely be better for you in the long run. Just be sure that at the end of the day you budget out your living expenses and do what it best for you!