The recent struggles in the housing market have added fire to the traditional debate on whether it is better to own a home or rent. Each have their own advantages and which is the best option for a person can depend on a variety of factors. In general, though, the benefits of owning a home tend to outweigh those of renting.
While the overall advantages do lean toward owning a home rather than renting, the latter might be preferable for some situations. It can be an especially attractive option for young, mobile people for a variety of reasons.
*Low maintenance costs – Someone else is responsible for making repairs, mowing the lawn if there is one and keeping the unit well maintained… you do not need to look for tips for choosing the right color for your roof in Austin and stuff like that, all settled and done for you already.
*Flexibility – If a new job opportunity comes up it is easier to move from a rental. A security deposit may be lost if the lease is broken, but the renter does not have to worry about finding someone else to live in the apartment before they can leave.
A major strike against renting is the fact the money is paid to someone else and no value is built up on the property for the renter. If someone lives in an apartment for many years, they essentially pay tens of thousands of dollars to someone else and receive very little benefit.
There are many advantages to owning a home, especially for someone who has a family and plans on living in the same area for an extended period of time.
*Equity – As payments are made on the home, it builds equity, which increases the wealth of the owner. Building equity allows some owners to retire more easily, pay for home improvements or even pay for a child’s college education.
*Stable payments – Though mortgage payments may fluctuate from time to time due to increases or decreases in property taxes, they will be mostly stable as long as the loan is based on a fixed rate. On the other hand, rent can be changed at the whim of the landlord with little or no say given to the renter.
*Tax breaks – Interest paid on mortgage and property taxes can be deducted from federal income taxes, providing some savings.
*Security – A home provides a place that is safe and secure for a family. In addition, any changes a homeowner wants to make they can do so without having to ask anybody else. This includes renovations, additions or landscaping.
*Sense of belonging – Many homeowners become more involved in their neighborhood or community than do renters. Having a sense of community often leads to people working together to improve schools and reduce crime.
Owning a home offers a variety of benefits over renting, some which can be measured and some that can’t. It can increase the owner’s wealth and give them a sense they are in charge of their life rather than someone else. While most people dream of owning their own home, few dream of renting their entire life.
Guest author Katherine Watkins writes for a website that provides tips on obtaining a home equity loan and offers an online house loan calculator to help homeowners calculate how much they could borrow against their property.