There’s no single answer to the question is it better to rent or buy a home (in Raleigh or anywhere!) in 2021. Your decision needs to be based on many factors related to your personal situation. A home can be a joyful, as well as a super-smart, investment: it provides comfort and stability as well as potentially adding to your nest egg.
Many Raleigh-area residents work towards the American dream of owning a home— it’s part of the national culture. But, purchasing a home is likely to involve a sizeable investment and/or chunk of your income—and the expenses don’t stop there.
Let’s dive into more of the pros and cons of each.
WHY RENT A HOME
The decision to rent can be motivated by a temporary housing need or financial considerations. It has the potential for instability: the landlord can raise the rent when it comes time to renew your lease, or convert the building into a condo, or change your terms. And it’s worth remembering that at the end of all your payments, you own nothing. On the positive side, renting a home gives you flexibility with your finances, and can give you time to scope out a new area.
Let’s look at why else renting might be an alternative:
- No Recurring Maintenance Costs: Keeping a home in great shape takes dedication and frequent investments. The items that require regular maintenance include roofing, kitchens and bathrooms, HVAC units, and landscaping— the landlord bears all these costs on behalf of tenants.
- Savings on Taxes:Property tax is a regular liability that homeowners must meet. The annual rate in the range of 1% can run into thousands of dollars depending on the property’s value. When your rent, the property owner bears the tax expense.
- Lower Insurance Cost:The homeowner’s insurance policy should cover the entire property from fire and burglary, and may run over a thousand dollars, but, a renter need only cover their personal belongings, significantly reducing that expense.
WHY BUY A HOME IN RALEIGH
Buying a home comes with identity, community and pride of ownership; it brings stability to your life. It’s a fundamental investment that many people work towards attaining, great for the future—and can even yield rental income today.
It’s important to remember that it’s an illiquid asset—meaning you may not be able to convert it into cash as quickly you wish. If you don’t want to be tied to one place, are financially unstable, or haven’t settled in life, it might not be the best choice.
Even so, buying a house brings many benefits, including:
- Savings on Rent: Rather than funneling money into someone else’s investment, every dollar you put towards your home—whether that’s mortgage payments, renovations, insurance, repairs or maintenance—supports your investment, and contributes to your
- Growth of Equity: Equity is the value of your property, which can either be the total value or a portion of the mortgage. High equity may allow you to secure funds for home improvement projects. The value of your home can increase because of a growing population, rising income, or a short supply of property. You, therefore, stand a chance to sell it at a profit whenever the property value increases.
- Autonomy & Privacy: One of the biggest changes people celebrate when they move in to a single family home—sometimes quite literally, by throwing a big party!—is being able to do what they want, when they want, with significantly less worry about the neighbors. Certainly you’ll still want to be considerate, and may have HOA rules to follow, but if you want to dance around in your shoes on your hardwood floors or plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, no one’s going to stop you.
- You Can Customize It: When you rent, landlords limit the number of improvements you can make to their property. By contrast, owning a home offers you maximum freedom to live as you like. So paint, remodel the floor, change the roof, and add the landscaping that delights your personal style!
For many of us owning a home is a great joy. But it also requires some sacrifice, as well as a certain amount of financial and time commitment. When making the decision whether to rent or buy a home in Raleigh, making the best decision for you and your family requires weighing the options and getting solid support. To help with your decision, review our top tips for how to approach buying a home in 2021’s fast-moving marketplace. And of course, our team of experienced realtors is happy to help answer your questions—just give us a call!