The drive to buy a home has reached levels not seen for many years. After the housing crisis a few years ago, buying a home was seen as a not-so-safe choice -- home prices were low, but incomes were unsteady and getting mortgages was a lot more difficult. That situation has eased up quite a bit, so many people who feel they can afford a mortgage payment are now looking at buying again. However, this is not the right move for some of them, and you might also be one of those people who should not step into the world of home ownership just yet. Sometimes renting is much, much better, and here's how to tell whether you are one of those who will get a better quality of life by continuing to rent.
Adding up the Total Costs of Both
It's easy to compare a mortgage to a rent payment, but that's not all that goes into home ownership and renting in terms of money. Renters might have additional parking fees, utility costs that aren't paid by apartment management, and transportation costs. Homeowners may have all those, plus home repair costs, HOA fees, and more. Add up all of the costs you could expect to pay in each situation; for occasional costs, add up what you might encounter within a few years and then find a monthly average. If the renting cost is still a lot cheaper than the ownership cost, stick with renting, and put that extra money toward debt or retirement.
Permanence vs. Impermanence
Buying a home means you're going to stay in one place for a long time. If you have plans to move around or think your job will have you transferring soon, for example, you need to continue to rent. You could take a chance and buy, and then rent that house out should you move to another town, but that's a level of administration that not a lot of people want to deal with, especially because, if the old house doesn't rent out quickly, you're stuck with payments on two places.
Housing bubbles form in different places at different times. Maybe the main housing bubble from a few years ago is gone, but your specific city might be having its own little housing bubble right now. If you truly feel like the prices in your area are too much, and you truly feel they're going to fall at some point, don't buy. Continue to rent because a lot of times, instinct can be right on the money.
There are some great rentals out there. Start contacting apartment complexes and management companies to see what they offer and what amenities come with the rentals.