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To Rent Or to Buy – That is the Question!

When I was in my twenties and still moving from apartment to apartment, every time I would start telling people that I was moving to a new apartment they would say, “You’re throwing your money away, Snowden! Invest!” I was constantly being pushed into home ownership by those that believed in 2.5 kids, with the house and the dog with the white picket fence, the typical American Dream. What I think is cool about the American Dream is that it’s your dream! A dream for one is not necessarily a dream for another. Some people are apartment dwellers, house boat dwellers or renters for life. To each his/her own!

I did end up becoming a homeowner in my early thirties. There are pros and cons like there are in everything. I enjoy not having to tell the kids to walk softly so as not to disturb the neighbors. I enjoy cranking my stereo up on cleaning day and not having to worry about the broom handle of my downstairs neighbor’s broom coming up through my floor. I get to have as many pets as I like and I can change the paint and carpet as many times as I like. I also, really enjoy the tax break I get each year.

As I am now in a higher tax bracket than when I was when I was younger, the write-off has really provided a cushion for my husband and I at the end of the year. However, years go by in a flash and your home ages fairly quickly, corners get scuffed, dry wall gets broken, metal on hinges often begin to rust, shingles on roofs begin to leak, furnaces break, ACs need replacing, hot water heaters burst and ruin floorboards. As an renter, you aren’t responsible for those things. You make a phone call and maintenance comes to your rescue. Unfortunately, all of that now falls on your pocket book. Please know that some of these things cost more to repair than you would pay for rent for an entire year.

At the end of the day, owning a home can have its rewards but make sure that you are in a place financially where you can afford a minor catastrophe from time to time. Make sure you can truly afford your mortgage. If not, there isn’t a thing in the world wrong with renting. Renting allows you to save money and repair or improve your credit score so that if and when it comes time to buy a house, you are ahead of the game.

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