Financial Considerations

Where to Live

During college and afterwards, adults must weigh the pros and cons of renting versus buying, or, if the option is available to them, moving back home to save money.

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases most people will make. Several factors influence the decision-making process for this major investment and renting may be the better choice depending on the amount of money saved and other individual circumstances.

Consider the pros and cons of the options:

RentBuyLive at Home
PROsNo long term commitment – the lease might be for one year versus 15-30 years for a mortgage
No need to sell a home – if relocating quickly and the economy is not good, selling property might be time consuming and therefore inconvenient
No need to have a large amount of cash available – to rent, a security deposit, which could be the equivalent of one to two month’s rent, is required versus 20% for a down payment when purchasing
Landlord is responsible for major repairs and property maintenance
Simpler process
It is your own place – this is a dream for many people
Often a good investment over the long term
Tax benefits – interest and property taxes are deductible on primary residences for federal income tax returns; may also be deductible on some state income tax returns
Can make decorative changes and/or additions that are permitted by a homeowner’s association and county regulations to better fit a particular life style
May live rent free or only asked to pay a small amount
Ability to save more of income for a down payment or a place to rent
May enjoy being with family, having meals together
CONsNo equity accumulates in a home – rent doesn’t go to the investment of owning a home
No tax advantages
May not be able to paint the walls or make other decorative changes
Rent may increase when lease expires
A co-signer may be needed if income is not stable of if the renter is young. Other fees, such as a credit check, may be assessed
Will need to obtain renter’s insurance to protect personal property in the event of fire, theft or damages
Need to factor in utilities, as these expenses often come separate from rent
May have to live with a roommate to make rent more affordable
Several costs will be incurred, such as insurance and various fees, in addition to the mortgage
Responsible for all repairs and property maintenance, which can be costly
May have difficulty selling home if market is saturated or the economy is not good
Mortgage insurance – borrowers must pay for this insurance unless there is a 20% down payment. Would it be better to wait to buy?
Costs of owning a home – in addition to the monthly payment that includes interest, there are: Closing costs, estimated at 3.5% of purchase price
Down payment, usually 20%, otherwise mortgage insurance
Property taxes and insurance
Condo or home owner’s association fees
Property maintenance costs
Lack of privacy – opportunity to entertain may be limited
Readjustment to living back with family versus living on your own
May need to abide by house rules

There are clearly many trade-offs for each option.

What is the Best One?

This is a decision that will be different for every individual because it is based on personal circumstances. Ultimately, the question to ask is: “What best fits my financial situation, lifestyle, preferences and stress level?” Then work out a budget to meet those goals. Use the links below to help with your planning and budgeting process: