Buying vs Renting
April 5, 2006
First of all, there's absolutely nothing wrong with renting if your circumstances require it. You may not be able to afford to buy, for one thing, if you don't have enough money for a deposit, other buying expenses, furniture and so on. Or you may have moved into a new area and you want a little time to get to know it, so you don't make the mistake of buying a property that turns out to be in the 'wrong' part of town. Or you may want to retain some flexibility because you are not sure if you will need a property in that exact area for very long. These are all valid reasons for renting.
To be honest, being a homeowner brings a whole series of potential problems. You can't just ring up the landlord when the boiler blows up because it's you who will have to find the money to fix it. It's you who will have to make sure your house insurance is up to date when the River Piddle, which runs through the bottom of your garden, starts rising alarmingly during a torrential downpour. And it's you who will have to sort out finding someone to buy your home when you eventually decide to move on to pastures new. In truth, it can be a bit of pain being a homeowner.
Nevertheless, you just can't beat owning your own home. It's yours, for a start, and there are huge benefits, many of which are actually financially good for you.
Why You Might Want To Buy
If you think about it, someone has to own every house in the land. If you don't own the roof over your head, you'll have a landlord that you rent it from. This landlord clearly thinks that it's worthwhile to own the property, otherwise they wouldn't do it. They either tie up their own money, or borrow it on a mortgage, just as you could have done. They then charge enough rent to cover the upkeep of the property as well as taking some profit for themselves.
So, if it's profitable for your landlord to own the home you're living in, then you have to ask yourself why you shouldn't just be your own landlord. By buying your own home, you can make the profit for yourself that your landlord would have been making from you. After all, you don't need to charge yourself a deposit, you don't need to worry that you might run off without paying rent and you don't need to worry that you might start squatting in your own home.
A landlord needs to charge a tenant just a little more than otherwise to take account of the risk of these things happening but, if you do the job yourself, you know that these things just aren't going to happen. You can therefore save yourself some money.
When you own your own home, you own a real asset. 'Real' as in it is actually there: bricks and mortar. Not only is your home very likely to grow in value as the years go by, but when you make the last payment on your mortgage, you will be sitting on (and in!) a house that belongs entirely to you. You don't get any of that by renting.