Should you buy or should you rent? This is a popular topic that is often brought up around the Thomsen Homes office, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. There are advantages and disadvantages to both renting and buying a new home. An article by Landon Dowdy on cnbc.com discusses the facts between buying a home and renting a home for millennials. Below is a snippet of the article to help you decide if buying or renting is right for you. Still have more questions? Contact us and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Here’s where it makes sense to rent:
You have limited funds. If you don’t have the money for a down payment and additional costs of owning a home, renting is the best option. Use rent-versus-buy calculators at Trulia or Bankrate.com to see what you can afford.
You are uncertain about your employment. If you are unsure about your job situation or living paycheck to paycheck, focus on conserving cash for future living expenses and building up your emergency fund, said Evelyn Zohlen, a certified financial planner and president of Inspired Financial in Huntington Beach, California.
But you are better off buying if:
You can cover the additional costs of owning. Make sure you can pay the down payment and closing costs before buying a home. “Most banks still want a 20 percent down payment,” said Ryan Severino, a senior economist and director of research at commercial real estate data provider REIS. So if you are purchasing a $250,000 home, a 20 percent down payment would be $50,000. That’s in addition to a typical 5 to 6 percent in commissions plus another 1 percent in closing costs. Maintenance costs are also a big factor to budget for.
You plan to stay in the home at least five years. It’s best to buy when you have the “long-term horizon,” Zohlen said. Staying in a house that you buy for five years or more means you are more likely to recoup what you paid in transaction costs and generate a return on your investment.
You want to reap the financial benefits of homeownership. Low interest rates make homeownership attractive because it decreases the amount borrowers pay on their loans. Mortgage rates remain near record lows after the 2008 financial crisis. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.9 percent, according to Bankrate. If you itemize your federal return and don’t qualify for the alternative minimum tax, you can deduct your mortgage interest and property taxes from your tax obligations. And most importantly, you can build equity in your home, something that isn’t possible with a rent payment.
Realtor.com has a useful calculator that will help you calculate the net cost of buying a home vs. the cost of renting over time. Use this beneficial tool to help you decide.