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Age old question: Should I buy or rent?

The first answer to that is: It depends! It depends on your financial goals and your unique situation. However, here is a list of questions to consider:

Are you settled on the area: Sometimes buying will have you commit to a neighborhood or city. Renting can give you the flexibility to try out a particular lifestyle in parts of the city.

How stable is your job: Will you be at your job for a long time? If you feel that the potential of long time employment is not there, then buying may not be for you.

Price: Figure out what the price per square foot of rent is vs price per square foot of buying the house is. For example, a 1000 sq foot apartment might cost $100,000 to buy and yet be $1,200 to rent per month. The rent is 14% per year of the cost. In 7 years you would have paid the price of the home. Keep in mind that if you buy with a mortgage, the calculation will be different. Sometimes it is cheaper to rent than it is to buy and many times it is cheaper to buy than it is to rent.

Maintenance: Are you able to keep up with the demands and costs of maintaining your home? Some people cannot deal with repairs and upkeep so renting is an option. For some, keeping up with the demands of their home is why they feel pride in ownership.

Tax implications: If you mortgage your home, the interest paid is tax deductible. Everything else being equal, this is an incentive to owning a home.

Children and Family: Some studies suggest that kids do better in school and have more confidence in life when they live in a owned home. It gives them a sense of belonging – roots. This may be something to consider especially when you are targeting a school district.

When faced with this question, its best to sit with a real estate professional to discuss all options. The best advice is when you decide to buy a house, put as large of a down payment as you can and don’t buy a more expensive house than you can really afford. This is all to keep you secure in your home. The stress of over extending yourself will erase the joy of owning your home.