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Buying vs. Renting

A home is one of the most expensive purchases most of us will ever make during our lifetime. Whether you decide to rent or buy, either choice comes with its own rewards and risks. Homeownership offers many advantages over renting including:

Advantages of Buying versus Renting

Buying Renting
Tax write-off No tax write-off
You can upgrade your home as you see fit Need permission to make any changes
Build equity in your home as value appreciates Your money goes toward the landlords equity
Control of loan payment options Rent can increase periodically
Pride of homeownership You have no ownership

While owning your own home has many benefits, there are still risks to consider:

Disadvantages of Buying versus Renting

Buying Renting
You're responsible for property maintenance Your landlord or manager handles general repairs
Need to sell, rent or lease property in order to re-locate. May have to wait until market conditions are right Freedom to move once your lease expires
You pay for all your own utilities, property taxes and insurance May include utilities, property taxes, and property insurance
Home improvement upgrades can run into thousands of dollars You're not financially responsible for improvements
However, all things considered, homeownership is by far one of the best single investments you can make given the potential long-term benefits.

When does it make sense to buy? 

People, who have generally rented their whole lives, purchase a home for various reasons. Owning something of value with a chance of watching their investment appreciate is one reason. Purchasing a home to save money over the long-term is another.

Example

Let's say you're currently renting a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. Your monthly rent is $1,000. You find a two-bedroom, two-bath at a market price of $250,000 (roughly the national average.) You have $25,000 saved - enough for a 10 percent down payment. For the purpose of this example, you're looking to finance $225,000, which includes closing costs.

Using one of several mortgage calculators on the Internet, your monthly payment would be approximately $1,385 for a 30-year fixed loan at an APR of 6.20% (the national average is currently 4.50%). After taxes and appreciation in equity, your monthly payment over five years would average $499 per month.

Costs Savings of Buying versus Renting

Calculations Rent Purchase
Monthly rent/estimated mortgage payment $1,000 $1,385
Purchase price of home $250,000
Percentage of down payment 25,000
Length of loan term (years) 30
Interest rate 6.2%
Years you plan to stay in the home 5
Yearly property tax rate 1%
Yearly home value appreciation rate 4%
Results
Price of home after appreciation $304,163
Remaining balance after 5 years 209,887
Equity in house 94,276
Tax savings (28% bracket) 23,030
Avg. monthly payment over time 1,047 499
Total payments (over 5 years) $62,820 $29,973
Total savings if buying $32,847
Source: Ginniemae.gov. These calculations are estimates only. You should always seek the guidance of financial or tax experts before making any buying decisions.

The outcome could dramatically change should an unforeseen economic downturn or financial hardship occur (e.g., home improvement costs, catastrophic damage, etc.). While, no one can predict if home appreciation values will spiral downward, or if mortgage interest rates will rise, it's clear that under the right circumstances home ownership can be financially rewarding.




        
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