Today more US families rent homes than at any other time in the last 50 years, says data from Pew Research Center. It’s true that renting a home is more affordable and convenient in some ways. Yet, buying a home also has some undeniable benefits.
Those, surprisingly, include actual health benefits for children.
If you are struggling with the decision of whether should be buying a home or renting it, consider all pros and cons of each as well as your financial options. Money will often be the main factor in this decision, but some types of loans open up a lot of possibilities today.
Buying a Home: Pros and Cons
The most important advantage of buying a home is that this gets you an extremely valuable asset. This won’t happen fast, but once you’re done with the mortgage, you’ll have a piece of property that will be able to help you out in case of an emergency. Even before you pay off the debt completely, you can benefit from equity.
Another great advantage is that buying a home will help your family get stability. Renting families today have to move fairly often. And it’s a well-known fact that moving house is the third most stressful life experience.
I should know—we've moved 12 times in the 16 years we've been married.
This situation is particularly hard on children. According to a study published in BioMed Central, frequent changes of residence in early childhood is associated with a variety of mental issues. And don’t forget that the stress of the move also affects the physical health of all involved.
My oldest son has moved 7 times and my youngest 5 times 🙁
On the other hand, buying a home isn’t cheap. The overall costs that include down payment, inspections, insurance, etc. will be higher than renting a place. Monthly mortgage payments might also be higher than the average rent in the neighborhood.
We've actually owned 4 of the ‘moves' but the rest were rentals or ‘crashing'.
However, today you can mitigate some of these factors by finding a good loan and cutting monthly payments in different areas.
USDA loans have $0 down payment and so do VA loans, but those are only available to veterans and to specific places in US like in Indiana.
You can search using usda loan map to see if the area you are interested in is eligible. You also get a chance to get a good interest rate, negotiate, and change it in a few years to improve the mortgage terms.
As to cutting costs, focus on reducing monthly utility bills by creating an energy-efficient household. This way, even if your loan payment higher than the average rent, you’ll have lower total monthly bills.
Renting a Home: Pros and Cons
Renting a home is cheaper overall, especially if you aren’t eligible for a zero-down payment loan. You also get to skip on the hard parts of home maintenance since, usually, the landlord will be responsible for it. This also helps save money compared to being a homeowner.
It’s also reasonable to rent a property if your job requires moving. But even in this case, there might be benefits to buying a home somewhere to use as a capital investment for the future.
We kept two of our houses out of state as rental properties 😉
On the downside, renting is stressful. You can't be 100% sure that you’ll be able to stay in the place for long.
When we were young we moved every year to ‘upgrade' the rental.
The landlord can increase rent or simply demand that you move out. And you’ll have no choice but to start looking for a new place, which might not be easy to find.
Renting or Buying a Home: Which Is Better?
While renting a property is the cheaper option overall, even long-term, buying is the best choice for a family. Being the owner of your own home gives you not only freedom but also some measure of security. When you rent a property, you are ultimately dependent on the landlord.