Help Deciding Which Is Right for You
The decision whether to rent or buy your home is based on any number of factors, including your timeline, equity, amenities, maintenance, and taxes. This article helps you explore the pros and cons of renting and buying as well as the financial implications of each.
The Pros of Renting Your Home
Renting a home in Texas, whether that be an apartment or a neighborhood home, has distinct benefits. Perhaps the most cited benefit is that lessees are not responsible for maintenance or repairs on a rental property. The landlord owns responsibility for the costs, scheduling, and supplies necessary for the upkeep of the property. For many residents, the decision to rent is based on relieving this burden.
Renting a home eliminates the property tax responsibility and doesn't require a large down payment. It's a good solution for those who are looking for temporary living or a short-term option, because you don't have to bother with selling the property when you move.
Additional pros for renting an apartment can include amenities, like a pool, fitness center, or a dog park. If a resident has an aversion to yardwork and landscaping, apartment living is a dream because the landscaping is taken care of by the property managers.
The Cons of Renting Your Home
As with any housing option, there are also cons to renting. At the top of the list is the loss of rent money every month. In other word, renters do not build equity with monthly rental payments. It's a temporary solution, but its not a long-term investment. Further, renters are not permitted to write off items, like mortgage interest or home improvements, on income tax returns.
Renting in many ways, means the landlord has more control over your living situation than you do. Updates to fixtures, paint color, cabinets, flooring, and appliances require landlord approval. Rarely, if ever, does funding accompany such approval.
Before renewing a lease for another term, landlords have the freedom to increase the cost of rent. In Texas, that often means passing the expense of increased property taxes along to tenants.
At the end of the day, the landlord controls the length of the lease agreement as well. Tenants are tied to a contractual timeline requiring them to pay, sometimes expensive, fees to break the contract. This complicates future job transfers if employers are not willing to cover the fees.
The Pros of Buying Your Own Home
The number one advantage to buying your own home is the equity you build over time. Unlike rental payments that are gone after they are paid, mortgage payments (minus interest and PMI) stay with the house. In other words, more payments build more equity. When you sell the house, the equity returns to you. If you don't sell the house, one day monthly payments will come to an end and you still have the home. Buying a home is a long-term financial investment.
Owning a home is the crux of the American Dream, in part, because it means the freedom to make updates and remodel as finances allow. You're no longer at the mercy of a landlord or a lease, and your neighbors are typically farther away than just the width of a wall.
The Cons of Buying Your Own Home
There are a couple downsides to owning your own home as well. Homeowners are responsible for maintenance, repairs, and landscaping. For handy people, this may not be much of a deterrent. For those without such skills, it means scheduling (and paying for) professionals to tackle the jobs.
Homeowners in Texas also face fluctuating property taxes that may or may not impact the amount of monthly payments from year to year.
Finally, job transfers require homeowners to do much more than break a lease. The home has to either put on the market or leased to a tenant before you move, unless you want to make two monthly mortgage payments for the foreseeable future. In short, homeowners are a little less flexible to pick up and move on a whim.
From a Financial Standpoint
Renting is the best option if:
- You know you will only be in the area for a short amount of time
- You don't want to hassle the dealing with maintenance, repairs, or landscaping
- You are unable to save enough for a down payment
Buying serves as a good investment if:
- You have the money for a down payment
- Your income is secure
- You have a credit score that allows you to qualify for a loan
- You can budget for maintenance and repairs (or you are generally handy)
- You plan to stay in that location for a while
Talk with one of our Mortgage Lenders for individualized guidance and answers. We are happy to put You First. Always.