Should I Rent or Buy?
Weighing the rent-versus-buy decision? Both have upsides and drawbacks. Ultimately, the answer depends on multiple factors, including your finances, your long-term plans and the real estate market in your area. Here are five questions to ask when deciding to rent or buy a home:
What can you afford and how much savings do you have?
How long do you plan to stay in the home?
Do you want stability or flexibility to move around?
Do you want to be responsible for repairs/maintenance?
What are your financial, career and family goals?
Renting vs. buying a home: Calculating the costs
The first consideration in the rent vs. buy decision is often how much each will cost. If you rent a home, your monthly costs are generally fixed for the term of the lease. Your monthly rent may or may not include utilities such as electric, gas, cable or internet. Most leases require the first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a security deposit equal to one month’s rent in advance. For an apartment that costs $1,000 per month, you’d typically need $3,000 up front.
The good news: When you’re a tenant, your landlord is generally responsible for fixing any issues with the property, whether it’s a leaky roof, a cranky furnace or a burst pipe.
How much house can I afford?
When buying a home, most mortgage lenders require a down payment between 3 percent and 20 percent of the home’s price. Some loans may have a lower threshold, but down payments below 20 percent will mean paying for mortgage insurance, which is an additional monthly expense. You’ll also pay closing costs, which average 2 percent to 4 percent of the home’s price. For example, on a $300,000 home you will need about $15,000 for a down payment on a 5% down conventional loan and an additional $7500 or so for closing costs.
A mortgage calculator can give you a rough estimate of your monthly payments, including your interest and principal outlays and other expenses such as property taxes, homeowners insurance and, in some cases, homeowners association dues. But our financial responsibility doesn’t end with your monthly mortgage payment. You’ll also need to pay for utilities, maintenance and repairs, whether it’s a few bucks to fix a leaky faucet or thousands to replace a roof.
Overall, when considering buying a home or renting the pride of ownership and putting equity into a home is the ideal situation, but you need to keep in mind a healthy savings account in case normal home owner repairs and situations come up. If you have been considering buying and need help, feel free to reach out.