renting vs buying

Another Installment to the Eternal Renting vs. Owning

This post isn’t going to put this debate to rest, but it will highlight some of the pros, cons, and considerations that come with renting or owning.

For starters, check out that infographic at the top of this post. Historically, it’s always cost more to rent than it has to own, and that’s no different now. In fact, the gap has widened even more in favor of home owners.

But outside of numbers, let’s dive a little deeper into the nitty gritty when it comes to renting vs. owning.

Home Improvements
Tub won’t drain while renting: Call the landlord and wait for availability
Tub won’t drain while owning: Call a plumber/handyman OR attempt to learn from YouTube (don’t knock it. This has saved me thousands of dollars)

It’s often considered a burden for renters to be at the whim of a landlord to make all repairs and file all complaints, but some may consider this a blessing if it means not having to do the work themselves. I’ve outright had clients tell me, “I never touch a tool,” and that’s perfectly alright. Again, this is all preferential.

As someone who has been on both sides of the owning and renting equation, I sometimes miss the freedom of texting the landlord to come repair something and having it completely fixed by the time I got home. Not surprisingly, I always think of this when I bust out the toolkit and begin working on the issue at hand.

On the other hand, I also recall my landlord taking nearly a week to repair a hot water heater in the dead of winter, resulting in ice cold showers in sub-freezing temperatures. And if you think water is cold without a heater, imagine how much colder it is coming from freezing pipes when it’s sub-20 degrees outside.

As a home owner, inconveniences will surface, no more than when you rent. How you choose to handle them is up to you. Personally, I try to learn as I go, not just to save money, but to also educate myself for my clients. So when the faucet in my kitchen essentially fell into pieces a year or two back, I watched about a dozen videos on installation, purchased a replacement kit, and re-did the entire thing myself. And while it did take time, and money (less of it since I wasn’t paying for service hours), nothing compares to that sense of accomplishment afterward. In some way, you sort of feel as if you should reward yourself. So go ahead and treat yourself to whatever floats your boat. You’ll have saved a good chunk of change anyways by doing it yourself.

Lose the Neighbors
Unless you purchase a house in the absolute middle of nowhere, you’re going to have neighbors. But the added benefit of owning compared to renting is that you won’t have them stomping above your head, screaming beneath your feet, or cooking on the other side of the walls.

Your Home is Your Canvas
Most apartments won’t even allow for fresh paint on the walls, and even if they do your choices are often white, gloss white, or off-white. You may be allowed to paint them to your liking, but don’t forget to return it back to its original color when you move out or fill in those holes left behind by nails or tacks for whatever photos or paintings you may have had up.

With a home, the walls are your canvas. In fact, your preferences aren’t even limited to paint colors. You can add rooms, renovate basements, build up, out, over – in the grand scheme of things, the options really are limitless. And the best part is that most changes to a home, while an expense up front, can only further add value to your purchase. For example a common addition in older homes is a bathroom on the main floor. Not only is it a practical addition, but when it comes time to sell or appraise your home, it goes a lot further in the sale if you have at least a half bath on the main floor.