Army Wives Homes: To Buy or Rent Your Home Part 2
Let’s continue our “décorless” home posts this week! This may not have much to do with the "Army Wives" TV show, but it sure does have a lot to do with people who move often, and frankly, anyone who is looking into moving in the next year or so!
Last week I touched on two things you should think about when making a decision to either buy or rent your home: location and cost of living. I believe that there is a time and place when you should buy and when you should rent, neither one is the one right answer.
WHEN TO BUY
Against all real estate experts, I am telling you to listen to your gut. If you feel it is the right time for you to buy a home for your family, it probably is. As someone who has lived in many rental apartments and not felt like home, I understand the importance of having your own home and being able to live the way you want. Also, if you have a long-term plan to stay put in one neighborhood, buying is probably a better option; if you are able to find a location and a house that you like (and can afford).
There is a lot of argument over houses being a good investment, and while house values tend to go up in the long run, there are also housing market bubbles that burst. Many say houses are not a safe investment, and bonds are safer and more profitable, and on the other hand you probably know at least one person who has made some good money by selling a house. This has a lot to do with the location where you are buying and what you are buying and such generalizations are almost impossible to make predictions from.
Does your home have to be an investment anyway? Maybe it is worth it for you to pay more to have a comfortable home that you enjoy. Owning your own place is also better if you like decorating and enjoy renovating your home.
Many people buy a house for emotional reasons, and I understand that is a viable reason. I still would advise making the right calculations so that you can actually afford to comfortably live in the house you are buying and that the dream house that was supposed to make you happy won't create emotional stress for you.
WHEN TO RENT
Renting is a better option when you're not sure if the neighborhood or the town is right for your family in the long run, and if you think you might move again in less than two years. Especially if you don’t have time, money or skills to do a lot of renovating and maintenance to the house yourself.
You can roughly think 1-2% of your home’s value goes to maintenance costs a year (for a $200,000 house that’s up to $4,000 a year), just to keep your house in the same shape it was when you bought it. Not to mention that when you own your house, maintenance is not just your cost, but responsibility as well.
When you are re-locating to a new place I recommend a short-term rental rather than buying immediately, even though short-term rentals are more expensive than long-term rentals and moving again a hassle. That way you will learn more about your new surroundings, and can make a better educated decision when buying your home.
As I mentioned last week – there are times in the real estate market when renting comes a lot cheaper than buying and you might be able to rent your dream house instead.