With the ups and downs of the housing market in recent years, many of us who are looking for a new place to live are faced with the eternal question: Rent or buy? Everyone who even knows a real estate agent will be quick to quote a string of pro-buying mantras. Owning a home is an investment; renting wastes years worth of your cash that could be applied to home. It’s a buyer’s market. Interest rates are low. Real estate websites, family, and friend often act as though owning a home is a true sign of adulthood and financial responsibility. But you dig a little deeper into some of the hidden costs of home ownership and carefully consider your own financial position, renting generally turns out to be the better option. We explore some of the many reasons to rent, rather than buy, below.
Homeowners and buyers face a barrage of tax costs from the moment they buy a home to the moment they finally sell it. You can expect to pay property taxes at the signing of your new lease. These costs, which are often quite hefty, add to the purchase price of a new home. Throughout the period that you own a home, you can also expect property taxes to fluctuate—there is no guaranteed rate for these costs. For this reason, you can never rely on a set yearly cost for your home, since this depends on the tax rate at any given year. Renters are spared the pain of such monumental tax fees.
Maintenance and Repairs
Any homeowner who has ever had to replace a roof can attest to the fact that thousands of dollars can go down the drain with major repairs. One major fix, such as a roof, siding, or flooring, can easily cost more money than a renter pays for their home in an entire year. The numbers can be truly astronomical. Beyond the threat of major repairs, everyday maintenance should be factored into the price of a home. If a toilet breaks or a faucet leaks, you can expect to pay your plumber a handy sum. Renters, on the other hand, do not have to worry about major repairs, and their maintenance needs are generally carried out through their landlord or apartment community.
Take a moment to look into the price of a new pool. Such luxuries can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Many apartment communities provide amenities that are beyond the reach of the average homeowner. From heated pools to saunas and hot tubs, a wealth of perks are available to renters. Homeowners can also expect monthly gym payments on top of their mortgages. Many renters will find that apartment communities offer on-site fitness facilities.
One need only look at the recent history of the housing market to know that unpredictable factors can quickly dash the homeowner’s dream of getting a return on their investment. Based on the whims of the economy, the value of a home can plunge drastically, meaning that you get less out of it than you put in—which quickly defeats the argument that homes are good investments. A bad market can also make your home difficult to sell, if you ever need to move or lower your financial burdens in the future.
Lilly Sheperd, an occasional guest-blogger, geek girl. When not blogging or reading apartment finder reviews, she likes to play Netball with her friends.
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