Most people see buying a home as a part of the “American Dream”, well for most it’s become a nightmare. Buying a home is pretty much the best way to throw your money away and here’s why. Renters win because they have the flexibility that homeowners do not and after 30 years alone of paying interest to the bank, you’ve lost out on any potential monetary benefit.
You never truly own the home. Even after paying off the mortgage, there’s still property taxes, HOA fees, home insurance and other mandatory costs which make buying a home a veritable money pit. You must consider every single penny that you spend in direct or indirect relation to the home. 5 years ago, real estate investors would only consider the purchase price and subsequent sales price to determine the profit made. Nowadays with reduced and nonexistent equity, investors are looking at every penny to determine whether or not the deal is worth it.
- Renters only rent. No HOA fees, property taxes, home insurance, home repairs or any other cost usually handled by the landlord. The counter argument here is that the landlord rolls all of these fees into the rent. However, consider that while this may be true of some rentals, it is not of all rental. In some cases, doing this drives up the rental rate which makes it unattractive to most renters. Consequently, there are many landlords who eat the cost of extraneous fees as it is better to have someone in the unit than have it empty.
There is no guarantee of a “permanent home” with home ownership. As we’ve seen with the recession, should you lose your job and exhaust all reserve funds, you are out of luck and that home will be sold to the highest bidder.
- Renters can usually rent for as long as the landlord will allow or needs a renter in the home. If a renter loses a home, there’s the option to get a cheaper rental until things get better. When you own a home, even if your financial situation changes, you must continue to pay the mortgage payment as agreed upon during closing.
Buying a home locks you in for as long as you own the home. Think you’ll just sell it? Fat chance. Given that most homeowners who bought their homes in the last 10 years are underwater, good luck. Though it isn’t impossible, the only chance of getting out is to strategically default or sell via short sale if you’re underwater. Both options trash your credit since the originally agreed upon balance isn’t what the bank receives in the end.
- Renters on the other hand are free to go at the end of the lease which can be month to month upwards of 2 years. There’s also the option to break the lease with a fee paid which equates to 2 months or that may be waived if the renter or landlord is able to find someone to replace the renter.
Today’s economic conditions require a 20% down payment. In some areas, this can be as much or more than $100k for a starter home. Once you sink the money into the home, you don’t see it again unless you’re lucky enough to sell at a profit. This is a gamble and unfortunately, many homeowners come out on the losing end.
- Renters only need to put down the 1st month’s rent and security deposit. The latter is returned at the end of the lease term.
Home ownership is no longer an investment. With the recession, this became a daunting reality for many homeowners. Home equity became non-existent which meant kissing good bye the good ole “forced savings” theory. For this reason alone, renters come out on top since the lack of an investment potential makes the argument that buying is more advantageous a moot point.
- Renters in this case, just pay rent with no expectation of long term investment potential.
Homeowners are responsible for the cost of all repairs and upgrades. This is self explanatory. As a homeowner you are responsible for every single repair that comes your way, renters only pay for repairs that are a result of intentional damage or negligence. Otherwise, the landlord pays for everything.
- Renters don’t deal with repairs unless the resulting damage is their fault.
What’s your perspective on renting vs buying? This is an age old debate that’s certainly changed it’s course over the last 3 years. Which side of the fence are you on? Renting or buying?