To buy or to rent: the pros and cons of both

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 In Canada, General

For some people, home ownership represents the pinnacle of independence—a point of pride. For others, it’s an unnecessary financial burden that ties them down and limits their freedom.

Any way you look at it, there are both advantages and disadvantages to both owning and renting.

Let’s break it down.

Sub: Pros and cons of home ownership

Home ownership is a long-term financial commitment. Depending on your situation, that can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Pros

  • Homes usually increase in value over time, building equity and increasing your overall net worth.
  • Fixed rate mortgages mean consistency in monthly payments.
  • You have the freedom to do what you want with your property and home.
  • Home ownership usually brings a sense of pride and stronger ties to your community.
  • Depending on your interest rate, mortgage payments can be comparable—and sometimes more affordable—than rental payments.

Cons

  • You need a large down payment and additional money for a home inspection, closing costs, legal fees and moving costs.
  • Any and all repairs, upgrades, landscaping and maintenance come out of your pocket.
  • Additional monthly or annual costs include utility payments, house insurance, and property taxes.
  • If your situation suddenly changes (work or family) and you need to move, the process of putting your home up for sale is typically not quick or easy.
  • Monthly mortgage payments are usually higher than an average rent payment.
  • The value of your house could decrease in the short-term, and if your situation changes and you need to move, you could lose money on your investment.
  • What you can afford may limit your options for where you can buy and you may not end up living where you’d like.

Sub: Pros and cons of renting

Renting offers several choices and flexibility for style of living and is ideal for people who want to make short-term living commitments.

Pros

  • No down payment – a damage deposit worth one month’s rent is usually all that is required.
  • Monthly rent payments are usually lower than mortgages and often include some utilities.
  • You don’t have to pay property taxes.
  • If you have a job that requires you to move regularly, renting is a better option that owning, since short-term home ownership can lead to a loss of equity.
  • The property owner/landlord is responsible for the cost and work related to repairs and maintenance—not you.
  • Month-to-month expenses are typically more predictable, which is better for living on a budget.
  • You may be able to afford living in your neighbourhood of choice, one that you may not afford if you were planning to buy.

Cons

  • Your rent usually goes up annually, as opposed to a fixed rate mortgage.
  • Some people see it as throwing your money away because you’re not investing in your net worth or your future.
  • The space is not truly yours – you’re borrowing it from someone else and you don’t have the freedom to do what you want with it.
  • You must follow the rules set out in your lease agreement.
  • Some monthly rental payments can cost more than a monthly mortgage payment.
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