To buy or to rent, that is the question. And when you’re looking to move to a new place, you’ll invariably be faced with it. It’s a big decision, and, naturally, you might struggle with the pros and cons for a while. You’ll probably have a lot of advice coming in from friends and relatives who just want to lend a helping hand but can often only end up confusing you even further. However, when making a decision, the chief opinion should be your own.
Whichever you choose, both are ultimately households, so the decision is conditioned by your lifestyle, long-term goals, and finances. Both come with costs, which may put a strain on your income at times, and both come with additional advantages and disadvantages. For example, while renting is better for a more flexible lifestyle, ownership means you’re more stable, which is helpful if you’re looking to start a family. In this sense, you should look for a home that suits your way of life, rather than the other way around. Struggling to adapt to an arrangement that doesn’t fit the manner in which you’re living your life won’t serve you and may even create uncomfortable situations, like affecting your financial security, that you’d want to avoid.
However, no matter what you pick, you should always be mindful of the agent you choose to ensure you’re getting an excellent deal. According to Walton Robinson, the process yielding the best results is the one during which experts look into your property and location requirements, as well as your budget, before making a choice, giving you a customized experience. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, a professional agent will make your going less rough. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a quaint studio apartment or something more extensive that can accommodate a whole family; there’s something out there that’s perfect for you. And the right estate agent can help you find it.
With that said, look at the following to get a better idea of which option is better for you and what key aspects you should keep in mind before taking the plunge.
Before you buy
According to Eurostat, in 2020, the median homeownership rate was 70%. Homeownership is a desirable outcome for many. For generations, significant emphasis has been put on buying, with the added social attributes. When owning the home you live in, you appear more financially stable and more put together. Indeed, it is not rare to hear someone talk about it as the final endgame, with renting and buying an apartment as stepping stones before reaching the last step of purchasing a house. The status of being a homeowner is one of the driving aspects behind wanting to buy, alongside its stability.
When the place is your own, you can change it to your liking, which is often impossible when renting. Since you spend so much of your life at home, and it is the designated space of comfort and security, it’s expected you’d want it to fit the look you’ve envisioned. You won’t have to worry about renovations or refurbishment, and you have complete control over what’s going on, from the colors of the walls to the shape of the carpets on your floors.
Another important aspect is that owning your home can be an excellent investment. If you build equity by increasing your home’s value while at the same time paying off your mortgage as quickly as possible, you’ll find that your home will become a genuine asset. However, other factors determine how much your home is worth. Some of them, like the position, are under your control. Still, others, like the economy or environmental issues (such as nearness to hazardous sites like landfills or areas prone to flooding or wildfires), are more volatile. You’re very unlikely to be able to pin them down, which is why you should keep an eye on the market in case you’ll consider selling.
Ownership comes with some disadvantages as well. One of them is increased costs, coming in the form of property taxes, insurance, water and sewage services, trash pickup, tree trimming, and pest control among them. You’ll also have to take care of and support all maintenance fees from your pockets, which can be very costly. Mortgage payments can also be challenging, so if you’re not sure you could comfortably keep up with all these expenses, you may want to reconsider buying, at least for some time.
If you want to rent
If you live a more fluid lifestyle, renting is a perfect choice. If you have to move out within short notice, you don’t want to worry about leaving your property unattended, and when renting, you’re entirely avoiding that complication. You also don’t have to worry about upkeep, as your landlord will take care of that. All you have to do is notify them that something is malfunctioning. Moreover, suppose you’re trying to create a fixed budget to adhere to. In that case, you’ll find it easier when you rent, as your monthly expenses will generally be predictable and anticipated. And given the fluctuations in the economy, it is often the more accessible alternative.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s all perfect. Increased flexibility also comes with a slight increase in insecurity, as your landlord could decide to sell their property, which means you’d find yourself evicted. You might also be liable for higher costs when your lease is due for renewal. Although not always the case, you could face a disagreeable, unreasonable property owner. Not only can this place you under emotional stress, but it might also even be bad news for your finances, as they can choose to randomly spike up rent prices, leaving you in a tight spot. Although not as commonly used, you can look into renter’s insurance to be covered in case of an unexpected event like that.
If you’re a student, the issue of affordable housing is probably one of your top priorities at any given time. Between lettings, apartments and rentals, it can often be difficult to decide what would work best for you. Before picking an accommodation, consider what the pros and cons are for each of them, as well as what your particular needs are. Do you need a larger space? Would you like to be closer to campus? Would you feel more at ease sharing your living space with a flatmate, or are you the type to value their personal space so much you just could not imagine it? No matter what your requirements are, you’re bound to find something that suits you if you employ some planning before making your final choice.
Buying or renting a home is a choice you must make after careful consideration. You should also be sure you’re not going into it with any preconceived notions. Being a homeowner won’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to amass wealth, and rent doesn’t mean you’re throwing money away. Before making a choice, think about your current lifestyle, as well as where you see yourself in a few years, to know which path to choose.