A home is one of the most expensive purchases most of us will ever make during our lifetime. Whether you decide to rent or buy, either choice comes with its own rewards and risks. Homeownership offers many advantages over renting including:
Advantages of Buying versus Renting
– No tax write-off.
– You can upgrade your home as you see fit.
– Need permission to make any changes.
– Build equity in your home as value appreciates.
– Your money goes toward the landlords equity.
– Control of loan payment options
– Rent can increase periodically.
– Pride of homeownership.
– You have no ownership.
While owning your own home has many benefits, there are still risks to consider:
Disadvantages of Buying versus Renting
– You’re responsible for property maintenance.
– Your landlord or manager handles general repairs.
– Need to sell, rent or lease property in order to re-locate. May have to wait until market conditions are right.
– Freedom to move once your lease expires.
– You pay for all your own utilities, property taxes and insurance.
– May include utilities, property taxes, and property insurance.
– Home improvement upgrades can run into the thousands of dollars.
– You’re not financially responsible for improvements.
– Homes can depreciate in value depending on market conditions
– You don’t have equity, therefore nothing to depreciate. However, depreciation of home values may cause rent to rise.
However, all things considered, homeownership is by far one of the best single investments you can make given the potential long-term benefits.
When does it make sense to buy?
People who have rented for several years want to purchase a home for various reasons. One reason is that owning something of value with a chance of watching their investment appreciate. Purchasing a home to save money over the long-term is another.
Let’s say you’re currently renting a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment. Your monthly rent is $1,000. You find a 2-bedroom, 2-bath home at a market price of $250,000 (roughly the national average.) You have $25,000 saved – enough for a 10% down payment. For the purpose of this example, you’re looking to finance $225,000 which includes closing costs.
Using one of several mortgage calculators on the Internet, your monthly payment would be approximately $1,385 for a 30 yr. fixed loan at an APR of 6.20% (the national average). After taxes and appreciation in equity your monthly payment over five years would average $499 per month.
Costs Savings of Buying versus Renting
Monthly rent/estimated mortgage payment
Purchase price of home
Percentage of down payment
Length of loan term (years)
Years you plan to stay in the home
Yearly property tax rate
Yearly home value appreciation rate
Price of home after appreciation
Remaining balance after 5 years
Equity in house
Tax savings (28% bracket)
Avg. monthly payment over time
Total payments (over 5 years)
Total savings if buying
Source: Ginniemae.gov. These calculations are estimates only. You should always seek the guidance of financial or tax experts before making any buying decisions.
The outcome could dramatically change should an unforeseen economic downturn or financial hardship occur (e.g., home improvement costs, catastrophic damage, etc.). While, no one can predict if home appreciation values will spiral downward, or if mortgage interest rates will rise it’s clear that under the right circumstanceshome ownership can be financially rewarding.
© Copyright 2010, Informa Research Services, Inc. (“Informa”). While all attempts have been made to provide effective, verifiable information in this article, neither the author nor Informa assumes any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions. You should always seek the guidance of a licensed professional before making any major financial decisions.