Upwards of 85 percent of Americans believe owning a house is a solid financial decision, as well as an excellent long-term investment. However, those who are statistically in the home-buying stage of their lives find themselves still renting, or feeling wary of making such a major financial commitment.
Some may attribute this trend to a lack of stability, or even a lack of motivation. Yet, one major factor many forget is that this younger generation came of age during the worst economic recession of modern history. It is likely that they watched the people closest to them lose their jobs, homes, and any savings they may have accrued over the years — or at least heard tell of such happenings in their communities or on the news.
Therefore, the individuals that fall into this category may need a bit more time to settle down than others. Or, perhaps they simply need to be shown the true value of owning a home versus renting, and that they can, in fact, achieve such a feat without going into total financial distress.
With that in mind, let us explore the advantages and disadvantages of buying and renting one’s home.
Advantages and disadvantages of buying a home
It can be argued that renters throw away money every time they write a check to their landlords, as their investment in an apartment does not garner the same financial returns that a home does — such as the building of equity or a long-term net worth.
Additionally, the newly-passed tax bill will boost these financial advantages over a shorter period of time. Experts have concluded that those who own a home for at least six years will see tax returns large enough to offset their expenses, as the latest overhaul has doubled the standard deduction to $6,350 for single filers and $12,700 for married couples — meaning homeowners may not need to itemize their deductions in order to see true financial gain.
However, with every positive comes a negative, and purchasing a house under the new tax law is no exception. While the new bill may cut homeowners a break or two, the shift will also raise the costs of owning a home by 30 percent over the next 10 years. That is, unless you intend to purchase a house worth upwards of $1.5 million, in which case you would see a $238,000 advantage over renting a home of similar value.
Advantages and disadvantages of renting an apartment
If you have found yourself with a large number of “bad” debts — like credit card or long-term loans — as well as little savings, few investments, and almost no funds tucked away toward your retirement, purchasing a home is not for you. After all, there are so many expenses associated with home ownership that many do not think of — such as homeowners’ insurance, fire insurance, flood insurance, repairs, regular maintenance, and all renovations. Instead, you should focus on paying down debt and getting the remainder of your finances in order before adding a mortgage to the mix. Otherwise, you will likely struggle to juggle your expenses and still enjoy everyday life — a mistake approximately 39 million Americans have already made.
Of course, if you are relatively comfortable and prepared in your finances, have a high credit score, and can secure a good mortgage rate, now is likely the time for you to take the plunge and invest in a home. After all, the housing market is only bound to heat up as the year continues, and mortgage rates are slowly climbing.
Ultimately, though, the decision is up to you. Be sure you thoroughly assess your financial situation and get a second opinion from a trusted professional before making such a major commitment.