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Figuring out what's best for you is mostly about the money, but your lifestyle is also a key factor.
When it comes to deciding if you should rent or buy your next home, you might think it’s a financial decision. And for the most part, you’re right. But the responsibilities or timing of home ownership might not be right for you. First, let’s dig into the numbers:
Follow the money
Whether renting or buying is more cost effective depends on your housing market. It’s good to know what you’re facing financially in your housing marketplace, so check out median home values and rent in your area.
Doing the math
There are four basic steps to determine renting vs. buying:
Or you can use Zillow’s rent vs. buy calculator to crunch the numbers for you.
Armed with those calculations, you’ll want to understand how long it would take for buying to be a better financial move than renting. That tipping point is called the breakeven horizon. It’s the length of time you must remain in the home for the accumulating costs of renting to exceed those of buying.
A case for renting
To rent or buy isn’t just a financial decision, it’s also a lifestyle choice. Raising a family in a multi-unit building encourages socialization and may help your children learn to share.
With a rental, you are free from many of the worries and costs involved with maintaining your home. And you’re able to move on quickly (within the terms of your lease) if a job opportunity comes up in another city.
You don’t get the tax benefits of home ownership, but the money you might spend for a down payment, mortgage, renovations and taxes could be invested in other ventures.
If you think you want to buy eventually, renting in your preferred neighborhood gives you the freedom to explore an area before making a long-term commitment to home ownership.
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