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The Advantages of Renting Over Buying

By Eleanor Boschert

Everyone is saying the time is now to buy a home. Is it really? For some, yes. Others, no. Despite the many benefits of owning your own place, you may find that renting is the best for you and your particular lifestyle. As a renter, you've got time to save money, do your research, and plan accordingly for when you really are ready to become a homeowner. Take a look at some of the advantages of renting instead of buying in today's market where prices are rising and inventory is shrinking.

Freedom and Flexibility

There is a lot of freedom in renting. A six-month or year's lease can be a short amount of time if you find you need to pick up and move. Your job may change, or you may find you don't like the city you're living in. Maybe you get married, or divorced. You won't have to act hastily to try and sell a home, especially in a changing market, where you may take a loss on your investment. A one-month notice to your landlord is a lot easier.

Costs and More Costs

Buying and owning a home is costly. To start, you will need a pretty hefty chunk of change for a downpayment, closing costs, fees, insurance, and deposits before you even think about moving into a new home. The downpayment alone can run you 5-20% of asking price. Add the others together and you're looking at thousands more. And, once you become a homeowner, you'll have mortgage, homeowner's insurance, and taxes all rolled into a payment every month. Not to mention that you are responsible for maintenance, repairs, utilities, and any other costs associated with keeping your home running. There's always something that needs updating or fixing and you will need the time and money to keep up with it.

It Still Can be Cheaper

In some communities, your rental payment will be less than a house payment. If you've rented for a while, you may be paying quite a bit less than market value. Do the numbers. If you are paying less, invest the difference in making some money. Consider it a contribution to your downpayment when you're ready to buy a home. Furthermore, renter's insurance is cheaper than homeowners insurance.

You Pay What You Know

Renting means your costs are consistent every month. There are no surprise repairs or maintenance charges. If the hot water heater explodes, you don't have to pay for it. It's primarily the landlord or building superintendent's responsibility. You pay to live in a place and won't have to worry if about major costs associated with keeping up a property.

Your Dollar May Buy You More

You might find you can afford a nicer place in a nicer neighborhood. If you decide to spend a little more, you could live in a more hassle-free luxurious apartment in a building with a gym, pool, services, and active community.

It's Less Risky

You really don't lose a lot when you rent. Maybe a security deposit, if you're aren't careful about taking care of your living space. In the end, you can finish our your lease and walk away to a new life or a new locale should you find you are ready to move and start fresh.

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