There is no one right decision when it comes to choosing whether to buy or rent a home. Rather, you have to weigh the pros and cons to determine which option best fits your lifestyle.
“The first question that I would have for someone weighing the options of buying and renting would be their long-term goals on where they would like to live,” said real estate agent Glen Riggs with Elation Real Estate.
From there, you can answer the following questions to determine your real estate needs.
Will you need to move in the next one to two years?
If you are moving somewhere for a short or even unknown length of time, it makes sense to start with renting.
“Renting can be a short-term commitment,” Riggs said. “It allows people who require a bit more flexibility in the duration of their stay. If your job may require you to relocate every six months, renting might be a better fit for you.”
There are downsides, however, as renting creates uncertainty.
“Landlords can provide notice to vacate, which means that you will need to find another place to live,” Riggs said.
Are you ready to make a long-term investment?
Buying a home requires up-front expenses, including a down payment and closing costs, but it has the potential for long-term rewards.
“Your monthly payments will contribute to paying down the principle for your home and help to build equity in your home,” Riggs said. “As your home increases in value, you will also build additional equity.”
Riggs recommends planning on at least a two-year commitment if you buy a home, to get a return on your investment.
Do you want to try a new community?
If you have flexibility in choosing where to live, you may like to try a neighborhood or city without committing to buying a home.
“Take a ‘test drive’ of the area,” Riggs said. “Maybe you are not sure if this neighborhood or area is the right fit for you. Renting in an area gives you the chance to see if you want to commit to that area.”
Do you want to customize your home?
A major difference between renting and buying is what you’re allowed to do to the home. The ability to customize is a benefit of ownership, although a homeowners’ association (HOA) might need to sign off on the idea.
“You get to paint, hang, decorate, renovate as you choose,” Riggs said. “If you happen to live in an area that has an HOA, you may be required to get approval for some updates. But for the most part, the home is yours.”
On the other hand, renting means you don’t have to pay for maintenance.
“Major repairs to the home are not your responsibility,” Riggs said. “If the home needs a new water heater, it is the responsibility of your landlord to have it replaced.”
What does an expert recommend?
When deciding whether to rent or own, talk to a lender who has tools, advice, and data about both options.
“Partnering with the right professionals can really make a great difference in determining what is most feasible,” Riggs said. “Working with a lender is always one of the first steps that a buyer should start with.”
Glen Riggs is an agent at Elation Real Estate, which offers a “boutique feel with world-class results” with a team exceeding more than 30 years buying and selling homes in the Tri-Valley. Glen guides new and experienced home buyers and sellers through every step of the process!