Realtors have benefited from a new variety of homebuyer in today's market: the young, single professional. It used to be that most single men and women resigned themselves to a somewhat transient, short-term renters' lifestyle until Mr. or Ms. Right came along. That's not the case anymore. With more and more people delaying marriage until their careers have assumed the direction they wish to take -- and due to the fact that a greater percentage of young people are financially independent and quite successful -- single professionals are changing from renters to buyers.
At the same time, however, many renters are content to stay that way. Although buyers will talk your ears off about the advantages of permanency and ownership, diehard renters enjoy the freedom their lifestyles provide. From hassle-free maintenance to the record number of luxury amenities present in new properties, many renters are perfectly content to stay that way.
However, the majority of people, whether single or married, will at some point ask themselves, "Am I ready to buy?" Buying one's first home is a major step for anyone. Is there a "perfect" time in one's life to make that transition? What are the advantages and disadvantages associated with renting and buying? Each one has its pros and cons. The following list can help you consider the inherent hassles and positives of both.
- Don't gain equity; nor do they lose it. Regardless of what improvements renters make to their homes -- and regardless of any outside influences that would cause the property value to increase -- renters will never gain equity.
- Don't have to put down as much money up front.
- Reap no tax advantages. Any and all tax breaks and other tax-associated advantages are enjoyed by landlords.
- Enjoy the assurance of fixed costs that won't fluctuate during the term of a lease. The lease is a contract -- an insurance policy, so to speak.
- Often cannot personalize their homes as they see fit. This includes such modifications as painting walls (some landlords will allow renters to paint their walls only if they paint them white again before they vacate their homes).
- Can merely pack up and leave upon the expiration of their leases. They don't face the hassle of finding a buyer and waiting until a sale takes place.
- Face much less work in maintaining their homes, inside and out. In many multifamily properties, they enjoy the convenience of a full-time maintenance staff to handle appliance repairs and other minor repairs.
- Often gain equity. However, they can also lose it. Their equity can also remain static.
- Must go through the process of selling their homes and finding a buyer, either with a Realtor's help or not, if they elect to move out of their homes.
- Must put down a greater amount of money (a substantial downpayment) than a renter, who merely pays a security deposit and first/last month's rent.
- Are subject to variable costs in the absence of documentation that keeps costs fixed.
- Must either perform maintenance/repairs on their own or using the services of a professional whom they hire and pay themselves. Buyers are fully responsible for any and all repairs. (Note: One exception would be some planned or gated communities, in which residents pay a maintenance fee for the convenience of having yardwork and general maintenance performed by a full-time staff of servicepeople.)
- Are free to paint, redecorate and remodel their homes as often as they wish.
- Enjoy the tax breaks and other tax advantages associated with homeownership.
- Build equity regardless of whether the value of their homes increases over time.
- Eventually own their homes and are free of a monthly mortgage payment.
This direct comparison clearly shows that neither buying nor renting is the "perfect" choice. Depending upon your lifestyle -- including such factors as the stability of your career, how often you travel for business and whether or not you plan to reside in your current hometown for a long period of time -- either choice has plenty of valid advantages. The multifamily housing market has exploded nationwide during the last decade, offering renters more advantages and more amenities and more flexibility in housing styles than ever before. And yet, the dream of homeownership is firmly implanted in the minds of most Americans. It's a worthwhile and significant achievement to be sure. Thanks to the success of the multifamily housing industry, however, renters no longer have to resign themselves to cookie-cutter accommodations until the dream of homeownership is within their reach -- that is, if they ever choose to reach for it.
By: Dan The Roommate. Need help? Contact him at 800-487-8050