Renting or Buying – Which is Better?

by on May 20, 2015

Last year the New York Times published a calculator designed to help people figure out whether home ownership or home rentership was in their best financial interest. It’s pretty cool. You can decide how much you want to spend and then tell the calculator how long you plan to stay in the house. The calculator tells you how much you can expect to pay per month, what kind of down payment you’ll need to save up, etc. It compares that with the cost of renting and lays out all of the numbers for you.

It’s pretty neat.

The thing is, there is more to figuring out whether to rent or buy than just the numbers involved in your mortgage or monthly rent payments. A lot of factors come into play with both options and it is those factors that should decide whether or not you choose renting or buying. It shouldn’t only be about the mortgage payment. Here are the other things that you should consider.

How Much Space Do You Need?

If you don’t need or want a lot of extra space, renting is usually a better option. Apartments run smaller than houses do. If, however, you have a large family or just like having a lot of space in which to spread out, a house is better. If you want some more ideas on home design, you can get the from

Do You Want Neighbors?

Unless you want to live out in the middle of nowhere, neighbors are going to happen. The real question is: how close do you want to be to those neighbors? Sure you can often find houses to rent, but most rentals are in buildings, plexes or complexes. This means that, more often than not, you are going to share a wall with someone (or many someones) else. Do you like the idea of having people living that close to you? More importantly, do you want to live with the chance of having to run into people in hallways and walkways on your way to your car or mailbox?

If you plan on living alone, having that close proximity to your neighbors can be a blessing. For example, there will always be someone to hear you if you yell for help. On the other hand, having to hear someone else’s terrible taste in music at 4 AM might not be your idea of a good time.

Are You Handy?

Perhaps the biggest benefit that renting provides over homeownership is that you very rarely have to pay for repairs or maintenance. If something breaks or goes wonky, you simply call your landlord and they send someone to fix or replace it. It’s part of your rental fee. As a homeowner, unless you’re good at fixing things yourself, you’ll have to hire someone to do that for you because as the experts at warn, ignoring a problem or trying to fix it yourself “will only result in more damage”. However, hiring a contractor can be expensive and homeowner’s insurance does not cover many repair costs. Speaking of which…

Insurance Matters

Everybody has to have insurance. Homeowners and Renters alike. On the whole, though, insuring a rental is much cheaper than insuring a home and its surrounding property. This is because, as Acceptance Insurance points out, the landlord has insured your building. Renters insurance is to cover the cost of damage done to your possessions if something happens to the building. As such, it usually runs much cheaper than the average homeowner’s policy.

Control Issues

How much control do you want or need to have over the space in which you live. Control is the primary advantage that home ownership offers over renting. When you own your home you can do whatever the heck you want to it, providing that something is allowed by your local zoning laws. As a renter, you usually have to follow strict rules set up by your landlord. These rules cover everything from what you can display in your windows to the paint on your walls. While it’s true that there are many landlords who don’t mind minor changes, like painting (you can always paint it back), most will probably have a cow if you try to, say, replace your own sink or refrigerator.

Deciding whether to rent or buy is as much about lifestyle as it is about numbers. One is not necessarily better than the other; they are simply different ways to live. This is why, even though it seems like a numbers game, it’s important to think about how you want to live as well as how much you can afford to pay.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

James Pabling June 11, 2015 at 10:08 am

Wow! Excelent article about renting or buying properties. Keep it up. Thanks for making my day. ^__^

As a property holder, unless you’re great at altering things yourself, you’ll need to contract somebody to do that for you and pay for it out of pocket. What’s more, property holder’s protection does not take care of the vast majority of those expenses.


Carol Martin June 26, 2015 at 1:59 am

Good article!

When one moves to a new home, they have trouble deciding if they want to rent or buy a place. I myself have been in that place. I wish you could have written this article earlier to save me from the troubles.

Thank you for the article.
Carol Martin recently posted..Gabriola Property Home PurchaseMy Profile


Rob Ohs June 26, 2015 at 2:05 am

Thumbs up for this one!

An article well written and deserves a share. According to me, space requirement is one of the most important ones to consider for renting or buying.

The other main factor according to me is how much time are you willing to spend in that place. If you want to spend like say ten years in one place, it is better to buy a place rather than renting as it will in the long run save you a lot of cost.

Rob Ohs


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