Renting vs. Buying: What Are the Real Benefits?

by Elizabeth Ekk

Cons to Renting

After showing rental properties I find that most potential renters face the same questions and concerns:

  1. I can’t knock out a wall or change paint colors.
  2. I have a repair and have to wait for the owner to repair it even if it’s inconvenient for my time.
  3. Am I allowed to put a garden box in the backyard?
  4. Only specific dog or cat breeds are unacceptable even if insured.

There’s no doubt about it; renting keeps you from making the home your own. The monthly rent goes to the investor/owner. And it will most likely cost more to rent the home than it would to purchase the same home in today’s market. Some renters have to accept that the following services – such as pest control and lawn service – are not included in the rent and can cause an additional out-of-pocket expense.

Pros to Renting

However, there are pros to renting. Depending on the renter’s current needs, priorities and family structure, renting may be the perfect choice.

  1. You are not responsible for major repairs.
  2. Most leases are only 12 months. For some renters this short-term commitment can bring them peace of mind.
  3. Renters do not have the additional payment of taxes, interest, insurance, and Home Owners Association (HOA) fees.

The process to rent is quicker and requires far less paperwork. There is no loan application to be approved, no 30- to 60-day closing window and no homestead exemption registration. If your credit hinders you from purchasing your own, renting is a great way to have a nice place to call your home.

Cons to Owning

When you own a home there are responsibilities that can only be done by you, the owner.

  1. All repairs, updates and maintenance issues are the owner’s responsibility.
  2. There is a larger initial investment – the down payment.
  3. Less mobility when it comes to relocating.

The home buyer cannot only think of their current needs but also have to consider all possible seasons of life. Will the investment sustain them when single or married, for future children, desired school zones, plus the potential to resell?

Pros to Owning

The best part about owning a home is that it is yours. No more lease renewals. No more rent increases. You are the homeowner.

  1. Most owners find the most wonderful pro to owning a home is that you can change it if you don’t like it. You can get very competitive bids to maximize repair costs, plus have the repairs meet your timeline and budget.
  2. Owning a home may provide you with additional income tax benefits (though it’s important to check with your tax advisor to see how owning would impact your personal situation).
  3. You build equity. Equity gain can help you increase the size of your current home, buy a new home or have more money left over when downsizing.

If you buy when the interest rates are still low, your monthly mortgage payment will be less than renting the exact same home. By owning your home, you can take pride in accomplishing a lifetime milestone in home ownership. It’s an investment into your future. Take advantage of lender programs that can meet your needs and reflect your financial goals.

Elizabeth Ekk is a Realtor and partner at Ekk & Hamilton Realty. For more real-estate related news, visit

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