There are many for the line of thought that renting amounts to the same as throwing your money out the window. Is that really true? Does it always make sense to buy? What are the pros and cons for both? We’ve got you covered!
TRUE OR FALSE
There is a lot of misinformation regarding the debate of renting versus buying. To clarify things and put both on an even playing field, here are some of the most frequent statements people make and whether or not it holds up.
- Renting is a Waste of Your Money | That just isn’t true. While your monthly rent may not be going towards something you can eventually own, it may bring great value in other areas. Things like cash flow, convenience, stress, and so on are as valuable or even more valuable than material assets. We will dive deeper into this below.
- Renting is Cheaper Than Owning a Home | Once upon a time, this may have been true, but with today’s market being what it is, rent can be way more than a mortgage. (For example, an average one-bedroom apartment in Montreal is upwards of $1400/month. A two-bedroom detached home, 20 minutes outside of the downtown core, works out to an $800 mortgage. You will also find it harder to rent a place that ticks all your boxes without it also blowing your budget.
- A Mortgage is Cheaper Than Renting | This statement also has its holes. While the monthly mortgage price may be less than or equal to a rental, it comprises much more than just the mortgage. You need to factor in insurance, utilities, taxes, and more. Look below for the details on this.
- Owning Your Own Home is the Ultimate Goal | While this may have been true in the past decades, we are no longer living in a time of cookie-cutter standards. The ultimate goal looks different for everyone and is of late hyper-focused on quality of life than material gain.
RENTING A HOME
Renting a home can be ideal, depending on your situation. For instance, living in close proximity to your work and social life is ideal. It supports a healthy cash flow if you are living within your means. Here are the top upsides and downsides of renting, as opposed to owning.
- Pros of Renting | The pros of renting are many. Let’s highlight the top three.
- Location is a precious asset when it comes to where you hang your hat. Buying a property, even a condo, in the city is less and less feasible for the average person. Market prices continue to sky-rocket while paygrades barely increase. Renting makes living in the city a possibility.
- Low responsibility is one of the significant pros of renting. When something goes wrong or needs updating, you may experience a slight raise in the rent, but overall that expense – and hassle – is your landlords’ problem.
- Short-term commitment cannot be underestimated, especially amid the pandemic where our employment is no longer as permanent as we once thought. An average lease is one year, less in some provinces. If you need to up and move immediately, it’s much quicker to find someone to sublease your home or transfer the lease to.
- Cons of Renting | Let’s be realistic, there are cons to renting. They are relative to your situation. Something to consider,
- Renting isn’t an investment, whereas owning is. Your rent money goes into someone else’s pocket, and if and when you move, you leave it all behind.
- Less control is a reality when you rent. While you don’t need to cover the costs of repairs or renovations, you also don’t get to decide when or how the work gets done. You may be lucky enough to have a landlord on the ball, but for most renters living with broken or outdated aspects of the apartment, while you wait for the landlord to find the time, money and desire, it is a daily struggle.
- Less room to grow is a definite downside if you plan on having a family or are working from home. While you can renovate and expand a home you own, you just don’t have that option with a rental.
- Financial Tips | Renting is an incredible opportunity to save. The amounts you are saving on insurance, utilities, taxes and so on are massive. There are many ways to save money when it comes to renting. You can also incorporate daily habits that save you money. Whether you save for an emergency fund, vacation, personal savings or a house, take advantage of your situation.
OWNING A HOME
Owning a home is exciting. When chosen carefully, you can choose a perfect house for your present needs and game for what’s to come. Here are the basics when it comes to the pros and cons of owning your own home.
- Pros of Owning | There are many, and they deserve the credit because they are solid. Especially these top three advantages,
- An investment is precisely what you get when you buy a home. Your monthly mortgage and any money you put into maintaining or improving your home go into your pocket, in the sense that when it comes to selling your home when the market is right, you will literally get that money back.
- Full control is a phenomenal aspect of owning. While the burden of cost and time is yours, you have complete creative control when it comes to your home. Fix it when and how you like it. Stack your garbage and recycling bins as you like, landscape the way you want. Bonus – you can paint it whatever colour you want, wallpaper, hang pictures or all three!
- Room to grow is another big deal when it comes to owning a home. You can grow into a home when you decide to expand your family or incorporate a home office or hobby shop. If you need even more space, and in accordance with your city’s by-laws, you can always create an outdoor living space, an office shed or build an addition onto your house.
- Cons of Owning | The pros are great, and all, but the cons are worth careful consideration. For example,
- Side costs are always more than you think. For example, owning a house isn’t just a monthly mortgage. You need to add the taxes (don’t forget the welcome tax), utilities, insurance and so on. If you purchase a home that uses oil for heating and hot water, have you calculated the cost of oil, in addition to hydro, when it comes to utilities? Not to mention that those costs fluctuate month to month.
- Unexpected costs are constant when you own a home. Whether it’s a broken heat pump, washer/dryer or your roof needs redoing, the expenses sneak up on you. Flooding or other acts of god can also drain your accounts. Even with insurance, you will need to pay upfront for some costs while waiting for the insurance to come in. If you own a condo, you might find yourself forced to dish-out money any time the majority of your building has a new idea.
- A heavy commitment is another major con of owning. The average mortgage is based on a 25-year amortization period. You can sell your home if you need to, but the process can be long, and you may have to trade profit for a faster sale.
- Financial Tips | The best financial tip you can focus on when owning your own home is establishing a healthy emergency fund. Even if you need to start small, benchmarking small increments, you need that fallback for when something comes up. Owning a home is a significant debt, and you don’t want to add to that by taking out a line of credit or loading up a credit card when you come across a hard time. You can consider a small, online loan to get you through tough times while building your emergency fund without damaging your credit score.
There simply is no clear winner when it comes to the debate of renting versus owning. What you need to ask yourself is, “What is the best choice for me?”. Avoid the pitfalls of becoming house poor or getting caught up in the lifestyle trap. Don’t be afraid to look and get a feel for the market. At the end of the day, you want a home that suits your physical needs and general style, that doesn’t leave you flat broke and allows you to focus on your interests and the people (two-legged or four) in your life – whether you rent it or own it.
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