Renting vs. Buying

This really just depends on your personal needs. Both have advantages, but neither is the perfect choice for everyone. The first list applies to renting an apartment and the second list is for home buyers.

Keep in mind that there are many things to consider when choosing between the two, but this list just touches on a few of the differences. Much of it is just personal preference, so it's important to figure out what's right for you.

Advantages to Renting an Apartment

  • If you move frequently, or you're unsure of how long you'll be staying in the area, renting could be the better choice.
  • People in the military are often better off with renting an apartment, since they could be stationed somewhere else at any time.
  • When you rent, you don't have to worry about things like mowing the lawn, repairing a leaky roof, buying a new hot water heater, or most other things that require maintenance.
  • Renting can also be the first step towards buying a home, since you can get to know the area before you buy a house. It would be a shame to buy a house, then a few months later, wish that you lived a few miles away.

Advantages to Buying a House

  • When you buy a house, it's generally a good investment that will increase in value. This might not be the case if you plan on moving right back out shortly after moving in, though.
  • It's yours to change as you see fit. Want to add a bathroom? Put a shed in the back yard? Paint it a different color? It's nice to feel like you can do what you want because it's actually yours, rather than having to read the fine print of your rental lease before doing something as simple as putting up a shelf.
  • Having a yard is one of the obvious advantages, where you can soak up some sun while enjoying some privacy, rather than hanging out at a crowded public pool area. The yard advantage is also important for people with large pets that might not be allowed in an apartment.
  • Home equity loans often come in handy for people that want to redecorate or put an addition on their home.
  • Privacy is nice and having your own yard is great if you have kids, or just like to sit outside and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Note that some communities, whether you buy a house or live in an apartment complex, may have strict guidelines that you have to follow. Some places won't allow certain things like car repairs in the front yard, leaving garage doors open, or even changes around the yard like putting up a shed or cutting down a tree. These rules can seem like a lot to some, but they can also be nice if you end up next to a neighbor whose every action lowers property values in the area.

If you're set on buying a house, the next section doesn't really apply to you, but those that plan to rent still have to decide between renting a house or an apartment.