Buy vs Rent? What's the Tipping Point?

February 24, 2023

Whether you’re dreaming of your first home, a beachside vacation property, or looking forward to downsizing an empty nest, the idea of owning a property is exciting!  And it’s the smart thing to do.  Right?

The answer is maybe.  While it’s easy to see renting as “paying someone else’s mortgage,” this simplistic view discounts the value there can be in renting for the short, or even long, term.  Consider not only the costs but also the overall lifestyle provided by each option.  Depending on your circumstances and life stage, renting may be the “smarter” decision.

Below are some considerations to think through when evaluating renting versus buying a home:

Time Horizon and Experience                                                                                                                    

  • How long will you live in the home?
  • Do you need it now or can it wait?
  • Do you have confidence that you are buying and selling at the right price?

Maintenance and Upkeep

  • Will you have the time and ability to perform minor repairs and maintenance?
  • How important is a carefree lifestyle vs “getting your hands dirty”?
  • What is the value of flexibility in home design (ability to paint, upgrade fixtures, reconfigure layout, etc.)?


  • Purchase
    • Upfront:  Down payment, inspection, appraisal, title, and closing costs.
    • Ongoing:  Homeowner’s Insurance, property taxes, HOA, utilities, home/yard maintenance.
    • Unexpected:  Repairs, appliance replacement, insurance deductibles.
  • Rent
    • Upfront:  Security deposit, first and last month’s rent, application fees, background check.
    • Ongoing:  Utilities, renter’s policy (Tip: Thoroughly read your lease terms for any costs that the landlord can shift to tenants.).
    • Unexpected:  Rent increase at renewal, insurance deductible in catastrophic event, temporary relocation due to accidents or damage.

So, maybe home ownership is the smart thing for you.  Or maybe renting is.  Either way, there is more to consider beyond the perks of being a homeowner.  If you’re still not sure, give us a call.  We are always ready for a chat!