Home. It’s the place where you make memories around the dinner table, celebrate milestones with friends and family and simply kick up your feet at the end of a successful Monday. But to achieve the warm and fuzzy feeling of home, do you actually have to own the dwelling where you reside?
The debate of whether to rent an apartment or buy a home has been going on since the stone ages. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it is certainly not a new dilemma. While the right answer ultimately varies based on your lifestyle, financial situation and the local real estate market, it’s important to thoroughly examine both sides before choosing one or the other.
Reasons to Buy
- Building equity: One of the largest advantages of buying versus renting is your opportunity to build equity. Every cent you put toward your loan’s principal represents a cent of equity – actual ownership of the property.
- Renovation freedom: You’re the owner, and therefore, the boss. Want to paint the walls orange? Go for it! Want to rip out the carpet and install wood floors? Have fun! Want to add a swimming pool to the backyard? Don’t forget your sunscreen! As long as your renovation meets the guidelines of your city’s regulations and/or homeowner’s association (if applicable), you have the freedom to bring your vision of home to life.
- Tax deductions: Who wouldn’t want a bigger tax refund? While there are typically higher upfront costs when first becoming a homeowner, there are variety of special tax benefits you’re eligible for.
- Potential rental opportunity: Owning a piece of property is rarely cheap, but it can be looked at as a long-term investment that can be turned into a source of income if you choose to rent it to others down the road. And with short-term rental trends like Airbnb and VRBO heating up, there’s never been a better time to get in on the action.
Reasons to Rent
- Maintenance: Got a toilet that is plugged? Is there a leak in the roof? No need to make a run to the store or search Google for repair companies near you. As a renter, you have the advantage of submitting a maintenance ticket to your community and having someone else do the work for you. And, you don’t even need to schedule time away from work to meet the maintenance team. It’s a convenience that will leave you with more money in your pocket and free time on your hands.
- Get up & go: Landing that dream job across the country is much more appealing when you don’t have to think about putting your home on the market and waiting until it gets sold. Selling a home not only requires time and effort but can result in a financial loss depending on the current value of homes in the area, while renting comes with more flexible terms and leases counted in months. Best of all, Greystar has over 1,500 communities across the United States, so finding your next home sweet home has never been easier.
- Amenities/Activities: If you’re living in an apartment community, especially a Greystar one, chances are you enjoy regularly scheduled resident activities and some pretty cool amenities – from swimming pools and workout facilities to game rooms and business centers. Unless you’re buying into a community that includes the same benefits — which usually result in homeowner association fees — you’ll miss having these luxuries at your fingertips and the opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
- Credit requirements: Getting your credit approved to become a renter is much easier than getting approved to become a homebuyer. Mortgage lenders are notorious for their steep credit standards, and even small changes to your credit score can have a huge influence on your mortgage/interest rates.
- Go green: Is living an eco-friendly lifestyle important to you? Many Greystar apartments make going green easy with recycling and energy/water saving programs so you can help the environment without the constant work, money and maintenance of doing it on your own.
- Package acceptance: There’s nothing worse than being away from home and not knowing if your package was delivered. Many Greystar communities offer package acceptance, so you don’t have to wait in line at the post office or wonder which neighbor your package might have been given to.
While both sides can be argued based on your lifestyle (and even calculated with the help of this handy home-buying calculating tool from The New York Times), at the end of the day, only you can decide where you’ll call home.