Choosing Whether to Rent or Buy Is More Than Just a Financial Decision

Both renting and buying a home have pros and cons. If you’re trying to decide which is right for you, don’t just focus on money. Think about what your life is like now and how it might change in the coming years.

Consider Your Employment Outlook
If your job is secure and you intend to stay with your company for the foreseeable future, buying a house might be a smart move. If you’re concerned about your job security, you’re unhappy with your current company or role, you would prefer to live somewhere else, or you’re just not sure what the future holds, renting might be a better option since you’ll be able to move if you want or need to.

Think About Maintenance
Many people, especially first-time homeowners, are surprised by how much time they have to spend on cleaning, lawn care, routine maintenance and repairs. If you’ve got a flexible schedule and you’re willing to devote significant amounts of your free time to those tasks, buying a house might be a good idea. If you work long hours and wouldn’t be able to handle maintenance yourself, you might be better off renting and letting your landlord or property manager take care of those chores.

Think About Your Current and Future Family
If you don’t have children, but you plan to in the future, consider how your housing needs will change. It might make sense to rent a smaller place now, then buy a house when you’re ready to expand your family.

If your kids are getting older and will be moving out in the near future, you might not want to buy a large house with bedrooms that you won’t need in a few years. It might be better to rent a place that can accommodate your family now, then rent an apartment or buy a smaller house later.

Consider Your Personal Style
When you own a house, you can decorate it the way you want, make renovations or build an addition (as long as you comply with any relevant homeowners association rules or zoning requirements). You won’t have that kind of flexibility if you rent your home. If you want a place that’s uniquely tailored to you, buying a house can be a better move than renting.

Try an Area Before You Commit
If you would like to live in a different place, but you’re not sure if it would be a good fit for your family, you can rent a home before you commit to buying. That will give you an opportunity to learn about the quality of the schools, family-friendly activities, local businesses and community involvement, and figure out if that’s where you want to put down roots.

Make the Decision That’s Right for You
Deciding whether to rent or buy a home isn’t always straightforward. What works for some people doesn’t work for everyone. Think about your current circumstances and where you see yourself in the future and figure out what makes sense for you.