LOW mortgage rates and rising apartment rents in many cities have led some people to dive into home ownership more quickly than they'd planned. Others are choosing to wait until the housing market recovers, in spite of the incentives to buy.
The truth is, there's no one right answer when it comes to determining whether to rent or buy a house.
Rental pros: Despite the fact that you can't build equity, renting offers you the most freedom and flexibility, especially on a month-to-month lease.
No maintenance is required. It's easier to move. You can avoid owning a depreciating asset.
Cons: But your monthly payment can increase. You don't build equity. Your housing payment provides you with a place to live, but will not provide you with an asset to sell when you are ready to move. You don't receive tax benefits. And you can't paint or remodel without the owner's approval.
Home ownership is not for everyone, but there are financial and emotional advantages that can be enticing.
Buying pros: You can build equity. Historically, homes rise in value anywhere from 4% to 6% per year. You can take advantage of tax breaks to offset the cost of your housing.
Your housing payments will stay stable if you choose a fixed-rate mortgage. You may be able to use your home as a rental investment if you leave.
You can settle in a community because you know you'll be there for years. And you have the freedom to decorate as you please. If you live within a development with a homeowners' association you may have a little less freedom with your home's exterior, but you can still paint your kitchen purple if you like.
Cons: But you have to pay for your own maintenance. If you need to sell because of a job relocation or change in circumstances, you may not be able to sell your home quickly or for as much money as you want.
You must pay property taxes, which can go up. And your home could lose value. Buying requires a cash investment. And homeowners' insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage.
- Visit www.moneycrashers.com for the full article
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