It’s an age-old question for those in search of a place to call home: “Should I rent or buy a house?” Long has the debate raged on, so today we’re going to settle it once and for all. Which really is better? The contenders are in the ring now so, without further ado, llllllllet’s get ready to rumble!
Renting has long been the go-to contender for students, younger people, and upwardly mobile go-getters. Why? Because its two main strengths are affordability and flexibility.
Renting is perfect for those with meager savings and lower-paying jobs, but it’s also good for anyone who moves around a lot or whose career is in flux. Even with a lease, renting requires a lot less commitment, so you won’t feel tied down.
That said, renting has some weaknesses, too. Paying less means having less control. Ultimately, you’re living on someone else’s property, which means they have the final say on just about everything. That includes what (if any) modifications you can make to your home, if you can have pets, and even if you’re allowed to have overnight guests.
In contrast to renting, buying is the contender favored by those with more established careers, the type of people who are looking to put down roots and start a family.
The biggest advantage homeownership has, besides stability, is equity. Equity is the value of your stake in a property. As time goes on and you pay off your mortgage, your equity increases, allowing you to take advantage of your home’s value, such as by renting out rooms or land. You also have the option to build additions and make other changes.
Home improvement projects don’t end there, though. Houses also require maintenance and repairs. When you rent, those are the responsibility of your landlord. When you buy, that’s all on you. Buying also essentially locks you in for the length of your mortgage, which could take up to 30 years to pay off.
After measuring both contenders up and letting them go a few rounds, it’s clear to see that this big grudge match ends… in a tie.
No, that’s not a cop-out. It’s the truth. Whether or not renting is better than buying, or vice versa ultimately comes down to one thing: you. What is more important to you, flexibility or stability? What can you afford? What are your life goals, and how does your housing situation fit into them?
Ultimately, renting and buying are very evenly matched contenders, both having their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Different people with different priorities will get different results. That’s why it’s important to know what you need and what you want from your home before you start shopping.