Renting vs. buying a home — how did you make your decision?

I know there are a lot of opinions on whether or not it is best to rent or buy. It’s one of the toughest decisions to make, and I truly think there is no right or wrong way.

With that said, I was curious to get your take.

From personal experience, what are your thoughts on pros and cons of renting? How about buying? Which has been more friendly to your wallet? What factors did you consider when making your decision?


This is such a tough question to answer. I rented for many years, and am now a homeowner for the second time. I do miss renting. When something breaks, you just call the landlord (we’ve had to replace our refrigerator and washer in dryer in a 3 year time span).

With owning you are also tied to an area. If you get a new job or move away you’ll have to sell your house first. In addition, you’ll have closing costs, and lots of other costs up front when purchasing a house.

Owning is nice - it’s nice to not share walls with someone else. It’s nice not to have to pay pet deposits, etc. etc. It’s also nice that our house has appreciated nicely in the last 3 years.

It’s a deeply personal decision, ultimately. Ideally you would purchase a home with 20% down, which allows you to get a traditional mortgage. We didn’t do that so we have to pay an additional amount each month (I think it’s like $160). So avoid this if you can.

Good luck! Whatever decision you make will be the best one for you for sure.


Well given that buying a home has always required good credit and a decent amount of money for a down payment, the choice was pretty easy…I’ve rented my entire life. My parents rented for my entire childhood. I never wanted to own a home.

But now that I’m older (late 40s) and my kids are growing up, I do. I figure it might happen in about 5 years, but now I’m working on my credit and getting all my bills paid down. My credit record is spotless with no missed payments in 4 years. Just need to pay down my cards and save for whatever I will need for a down payment.


I am looking foward to own my own home because of children we need the space I am working on my savings to be prepared to buy our home and to maintain our home I think five to ten years is a good bet . Chantal Voltaire

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I want to have my own suite, but if I really buy it, I will have a huge debt. I am also very tangled.

I’d lived in condos before but when I bought my current home, I specifically wanted not to share walls anymore and I wanted an attached garage and small yard for upkeep. It’s a small home and is on what is called zero-property line here or what some states call “efficiency.” What that means is that your home is completely separate but on very small property lots. Your property (land) ends at the wall or fence of the adjoining property.

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I was never in a position where I had to worry about long distance relocation due to work. I am a retired real estate broker, so my answer will appear biased.

In my area, Florida, rents are many times equivalent to, if not higher than, a monthly mortgage payment which includes principal and interest on the loan, and very often your monthly homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. When you pay rent, you are almost always paying those expenses for your landlord in addition to some profit for him/her.

Historically, home ownership becomes an asset for the owner. There are exceptions, as happened in 2008 when the market value of real estate plummeted after years of inflated real estate values in the US. That has corrected in most parts of the country today, but it took 10+ years.

If you prefer mobility renting will definitely save you a lot of headaches. I’ve always felt, however, that I would rather build up an asset through ownership rather than watch a landlord do it with money I am paying to him/her.

We paid off our mortgage a couple of years ago and the only house and property expenses we have now are annual property taxes, annual homeowner’s insurance, and maintenance and have had significant appreciation over the years, even after the 2008 downturn.


We are glad we are not renting now. Our entire area has rising real estate costs based on gentrification. New homes are selling near us at $350,000 that used to be $150,000 or less. Our mortgage is $636, we owe about $50,000, and property taxes are low. If we were renting a 2 bedroom unit in this area, it would average $1200 and up a month. Rents are through the roof, and rising. Right now, mortgages may be a better value. Renting does have its perks based on home maintenance costs, and the ease to change areas.


I have both owned and rented, and there are benefits to each option. The perks of renting were that I did not have to pay for repairs, and I’d simply request the landlord to fix or replace an item. There were also community discounts with local restaurants and businesses. The downside involved annual increases in rent, pet fees and parking. Furthermore, rent would sometimes cost more than a monthly mortgage. I have owned two properties. I would recommend renting if one does not plan to live in the same area for more than three years. I bought my first studio/efficiency unit in a high-rise condo just outside of Washington, D.C., in 2006 while prices were still inflated. Two years later in 2008, the value of my condo significantly decreased when the market crashed. When I moved, I had to rent out the condo because I would have lost so much money by selling it. I gained experience as a property owner, and I was able to refinance for a lower monthly mortgage. The only annual increase was in the condo fees, but it covered electric, water, sewage and trash. In 2018, I broke even when I finally sold it. In 2017, I bought my second home in Coastal Virginia, also a condo, but with two floors, two bedrooms and a small patio. I favor condominiums because I do not want too much outside maintenance. However, there are condo fees, home owner’s association dues and lots of rules! Being a second-time homeowner enforces a private mortgage insurance unless one puts down 20 percent into the home, except for those in the military. Unfortunately, I do have to pay the extra $120 each month toward the PMI until I reach 20 percent of my home loan. I feel that if one plans to live in the same area for more than three or four years, it is worth purchasing a home. I would recommend saving for a huge down payment, earnest money deposit, home inspection, and asking the seller to pay for closing costs. I am hoping to make a profit when I do sell this home next year.


A lot of the decision to rent or own is determined by the area. When we first got married, we rented from my mother-in-law (she had a separate apartment over the garage) but when we wanted to start a family, we bought a home nearby. There aren’t many rentals in this area. Her house has one of the few legal apartments. Years later, we moved back by my MIL to help her out as she was having trouble keeping up the property (3 acres). She moved into the apartment and we moved into the bigger part of the house. When she passed away, we inherited the house so we are responsible for everything. There was no mortgage on it but the property and school taxes are exorbitant. I would like to move into a smaller house with less property because it is getting very difficult to take care of it. When it snows we have to go out and shovel the driveway which is pretty long. We also have a lot of grass to cut and hedges along the front of the property that have to be trimmed every year and it takes about a week of going out daily and trimming a little.

I have bought several single-family homes and also rented several apartments in my long life. When young, I rented because I had no option (no down-payment, no credit history), but after working for a few years post-college I’d been able to eliminate those obstacles and bought my first house as soon as possible. That first house was meant primarily as a comfortable and secure home for my young son (his dad had split), and secondarily as an investment (back then we used to say “they aren’t making any more land,” forgetting that most of us actually are “renting” from our municipalities, who can boot us off “our” land if we don’t pay our taxes). My son grew up in and launched his career from that house, and I stayed there myself for a few years after he’d moved across the country. It turned out to have been a great investment, as the profit I gained when I sold it enabled me to pay cash for a condo in very pricey LA when I pulled up stakes.

I’ve made multiple upgrades since moving to CA, having been in the position, because of that early home purchase, to ride the real estate bubble of the last 20 years. I’ve even helped my son purchase a couple of houses. But a few years ago I realized that I had no desire to deal with home maintenance (yard work, broken water heaters, collapsed frnces) and went back to renting. At my age I’m very happy to have someone else handle the grittier aspects of “shelter.”

Housing is expensive whether you rent or buy. There are incalculable trade-offs. And one’s personal preferences and lifestyle/stage are more critical factors than the financial considerations, IMHO. But assuming one accepts the premise that “they aren’t making any more land” and has a manageable investment time-frame (e.g., is young enough to survive some market swings or rich enough not to care), I have to come down on the side of buying for the long-term. Mortgage payments don’t typically increase every year, as do rents. Unless you are very unlucky, you almost certainly will regain your initial investment (or profit) if you sell. And for some reason, perhaps irrationally, home-owners are perceived as more stable financially than renters and have some advantages in obtaining additional credit.

Time has marched along, and now my son and I are considering combining households again so that I don’t have to live alone and so that my retirement income can be invested in a property that might provide years of additional income for him and his family after I’m gone. So consider your current lifestyle needs and wishes while making some reasonable (but flexible) plans for your future. No one is young forever. Day-to-day, I’ve never noted a significant difference in living expenses between renting and owning. What matters to me is that I can contribute to my family in perpetuity via real estate. But really, don’t go there if you don’t want/need the responsibility or the rooted-ness of home ownership – it can be a real pain.


Rent or own is also considered by your age! I am 72, retired and work at my own business. At present, I rent an apartment. Previously I owned all of my homes. When you get to be my age, certain factors must play in to those decisions. I am on a fixed income and don’t have the freedom I once had. When owning a home, things go wrong or wear out. Furnaces, water heaters, roofs, driveways not to mention yard work every summer! Some years are worse than others. I could not manage the real estate taxes, property upkeep and dues so decided to move out. My daughter offered me a temporary place till I got my bearings but that didn’t work out well so I had to make another decision quickly. Found an apartment that I could afford and am there now. However, being a person who likes silence and anonymity, apartment living does not offer me that option. Plus I am in the city which I do not like. So, I am wrangling with the idea of starting to look again for a place of my own. It really is a trade off. It is expensive to live anywhere anymore and there aren’t many bargains out there. I am getting along all right here but not nuts about the location. Again, my age plays a big part here. Retirement facility? Eighteen months, to two or three year waiting lists. Many I can’t afford anyway. Deciding to take on another home challenge is taxing. With purchase, you at least have equity and will live privately. With rental, there are landlords (not my favorite people) and problems that may or may not get remedied. I think younger families can handle home ownership better than single seniors but all living expenses continue to rise. Maybe a tent in the woods would work! I haven’t ruled that out! Do your homework either way you go. Knowledge is power and you need to know as much as possible.


I agree with the posts here, renting is less worry some because someone else takes care of the property and maintenance, but rents are astronomical now a days being well over $1800 for a two bedroom near me. My mortgage is $524 plus common charges are $183 so I’m still way under that amount. Since I have a condo it’s less maintenance for me and that’s what works for me. Good luck with whatever decision you choose!!


At 59 years old we have never wanted to own property. I know that our rent is higher than some mortgages but in 3 years the landlord has replaced the roof, a toilet, and both the washer and dryer. The roof alone would have eaten up anything we had saved by buying rather than renting. I don’t mow the lawn and as it’s a single-family home I don’t have people living “on top” of me. We rent from an individual and because we are model tenants ( we were in our previous rental 15 years with no rent increase), pay cash and on time, maintain the property as if it were our own we have never had a rent increase and don’t expect one any time soon. And we have the advantage of being able to leave without the worry of selling the property if we want to move to another area. For my husband and me, it’s a win-win. My biggest suggestion is you need to interview prospective landlords…that can make a huge difference!

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I owned a home for 45 years. When I decided to downsize, the market was very poor and it took over 9 months to sell and close on the house. I decided to rent now. I don’t have to make repairs, do not have to deal with real estate taxes and I’m fortunate to have a landlord who accepted 3 animals without additional pet fees. Renting is definitely a good choice on my part.


We had never been a position to purchase a home until recently. My husband is a pastor and we always lived in parsonages. With his current call we have a housing allowance and have rented since relocating. Even though financially, purchasing would have advantages if we took out a short term mortgage, the uncertainty of knowing how long our health will hold out, (we’re retirement age for most folks), and the maintenance needed in owning a property, leans us towards renting. Plus, we have wonderful landlords and pleasant neighbors.


We have been renting for the last few years while we re-established our credit, but for me - if you are relatively secure in an area, owning is the only way to go. It’s not always possible, but if you can see staying in that area for at least 4-5 years, you’ll usually accrue some tidy equity in that time.

I do appreciate the simplicity of just calling the landlord anytime there’s a problem in a rental property, but that also comes with restrictions on what you can do to make it your home. I’m looking forward to getting back into our own house so I can really make it personal!

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@gary.bailey What you said makes perfect sense! As with anything, there are pros and cons. Every person has to look at all sides of the question and decide what works for them. It also depends on the size of your family and your credit rating, because as a few people said they didn’t have great credit so could not get a mortgage.

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@Wanda Haiche, I think like you I’m ready to rent. I’ve owned 3 homes and a rental. I’m thinking of selling my current home in a few years and renting instead. Home upkeep is horrendous, never-ending, and expensive. Let a landlord worry about it…if I can afford a rental. I’m not sure I can get a nice rental comparable to the low mortgage I pay and it’s almost paid off. Of course, that means I will have to share walls, yecch! I’m thinking just keep the rental condo and maybe buy another for additional income.

I think what I didn’t mention in earlier posts about this topic is that for me, my first home purchase was a wise decision. It allowed me to build equity to buy my next home with a good downpayment generated from its sale, and then the next. My very first purchase was a townhouse/condo and it was a HUD home. At the time around 1990, I was working with a guy who suggested it for me as he was a part-time investor and he said it was a good stepping stone to enter the housing arena. He was correct. I never regretted it, but I’m way older now and just tired of the upkeep on a single-family home.

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