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Renting vs. Buying a Home

Choosing whether to rent or become a homeowner is a huge decision that involves many moving parts. Buying a home has traditionally been part of the American Dream, nevertheless, you should investigate the pros and cons of renting vs. buying a home every few years, or especially as your life situation changes. 

Renting or buying a home largely depends on three major considerations: 

  • Your financial situation
  • Your lifestyle 
  • Your personal goals 

Obviously, some factors for either choice remain the same. Renting and becoming a homeowner provides you a place to call home and they both require a steady income to make rent or mortgage payments. 

Let’s take a look at renting vs. buying a home to help you consider both options. 

Renting a Home 

Renting a home allows you to occupy a living space that is owned by another party. In exchange for your rent, you live there, house your belongings there, receive your mail there, entertain friends there, and otherwise act as if it’s yours. But it isn’t your property, and that can come with some caveats. 

Depending on your landlord or property owner or manager, there may be strict regulations that govern how you live. For example, some rental properties don’t allow pets, smoking indoors, gas grills, loud parties or more than a certain number of guests or vehicles at a time. They may also reserve the right to inspect your home at any time, and may schedule maintenance tasks at inconvenient times. 

However, renting does have its advantages. You are not locked into living there forever, or even for a long time. Once your initial lease is over, you can choose to renew it or move elsewhere. Your landlord handles all maintenance costs to the property, including any appliances provided, yardwork, pest control and more. Your housing expenses remain relatively stable, unless your rent is raised when you renew your lease. Over time, you can even move about and experience different locations or living conditions, to see what suits you for the long term. 

Basically, you remain in a more flexible situation when renting. But you should realize that goes both ways. Just as you can decide to move on, your landlord can decide to sell the property out from under you, or just stop renting it, or raise the rent. You may save some money; but renting in some areas costs more than mortgage payment for a comparable home. 

Buying a Home 

Buying a home brings a sense of stability, as it is a more permanent arrangement. You can still move, but arranging to do so requires either selling the home and buying another, or renting your home and finding some other housing solution for yourself. Being a homeowner gives you complete freedom over your living space. You can customize it, smoke, house pets indoors, or throw lavish parties.

Owning a home comes with certain tax benefits, and some green energy solutions allow you to claim even more. Most home values increase over time, so your home is not just a place to live — it's an investment into the future. Building that equity means you are building wealth

Of course, this can be offset by maintenance costs, repair costs, closing costs and other taxes on the property. All these can vary greatly depending on location and other factors. Researching these possible costs is part of your ‘due diligence’ before buying a home anywhere. Home values can also decrease in some areas, due to factors beyond your control. 

Should You Become a Homeowner? 

When considering the question of whether or not you should become a homeowner, consider the above pros and cons, and then return to the three major considerations we mentioned previously: 

  • Your financial situation
  • Your lifestyle 
  • Your personal goals 

Are you financially able to purchase a home? You may be surprised to learn that buying a home can be more affordable than renting long-term. And, if you’re looking for an investment, home ownership is historically one of the soundest investments most people make in their lifetimes. 

Does your lifestyle support becoming a homeowner? A fluid life that moves about often may dictate renting is the best option; however, if you plan to remain in the same locale for at least 5-7 years, there could be some home ownership options that are more affordable and more attractive. 

What are your personal goals and how does that impact how you live? Growing wealth and building a stable base for family and career strongly suggests buying a home. A lifetime of travel and risk-taking may point to renting. But remember, everyone gets older and needs a base, a place to settle down and thrive. Buying a home can provide that stable place you need at this point in your life. 

Why not call today and start a conversation with a local housing expert from Jeff Cook Real Estate? Our professionals know how to help people and families weigh the options and make the best decisions for their housing needs in South Carolina. Call or send us a message online today to schedule a conversation about your housing future. 


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