Key Difference Between Renting and Owning Your First Home

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When you’re ready to move into a home for added space and privacy, should you rent or buy? Consider several aspects of your lifestyle in making that decision. Either way, you will have a rental lease for at least a year, and a home mortgage could last up to thirty years unless you decide to sell. Make a choice that you can live with in the foreseeable future.

Temporary Versus Permanent Residence

Life is full of ups and downs that can keep you on the move. College, military service, and changing jobs means that you might be living in several locations over the next decade and beyond. When your future looks to include frequent relocation, you may prefer to temporarily rent an apartment or condo instead of buying so that you can pull up stakes quickly and easily. But if you’ve found your dream job and plan on raising a family, you might prefer buying a home that will be yours for years to come.

Plumbing Considerations

With most rentals, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the home’s plumbing infrastructure, including sinks, toilets, and tubs. Renters aren’t expected to pay repair or replacement costs and maintenance fees if a tub gets chipped, or the plumbing fixtures start to wear out. But when you buy a home, the utilities become the owner’s responsibility. The home’s water lines may require costly repairs or new pipes. Leaky faucets and broken washing machine hoses can occur at any time.

Security Versus Privacy

Renting an apartment or a condo puts you in close proximity with the other residents of the entire building or property. You can get to know some of those occupants and feel more secure about your surroundings. Security cameras as well as any security patrol or devices the owner might use helps to provide a sense of comfort. On the other hand, homeowners may live some distance from their neighbors and never meet them. They rely on their own security for protection. Homeowners can make the choice of getting a pet, including a watchdog, while renters may not have that choice.

Decorating Limits Versus Free Rein

A rental lease may curtail the ways in which the housing can be decorated. This may include painting, hanging shelves, and installing new appliances. A homebuyer, on the other hand, has total freedom to decorate the home as desired, which may include putting up a fence, planting a garden, and expanding one or more rooms.

If your future is in flux, think about whether you want to rent a temporary place or buy your own. You might choose one option now and switch later when circumstances change.

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