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Over the past five years, the average rent for all Tri-Cities apartment rose by 30%, from $785 to $1,022. (That’s according to data from the Washington Center for Real Estate Research.) Mortgage rates, on the other hand, have gone down and have hit record lows more than once this year.

That means there’s a great opportunity right now for renters to make a move into homeownership.

While the best timeline to buy a home is different for everyone, the question remains: Should I continue renting or is it time for me to buy? The answer depends on your current situation and your future plans, so here are some thoughts to help you decide if you’re ready to own a home of your own.

1. Rent Will Continue to Increase

This is one of the top reasons why renters decide to move because in most cases, rent will continue increasing each year. As noted above, our local rents have been rising for years and are now averaging a little more than $1,000 across all units. When you own a home, you’ll lock in your monthly payment for the life of your loan, creating consistency and predictability in your payments.

tricities rent 2015to2020

2. Freedom to Customize

This is an important point for many people who want to be able to paint, renovate, and make home upgrades. In many cases, landlords determine all of these selections and prefer you do not alter them as a renter. When you own your own home, you have the freedom to decorate and personalize to heart’s content!

3. Privacy

Living in an apartment complex with anywhere from a handful of neighbors to perhaps hundreds of neighbors doesn’t offer much in the way of privacy. You’ll share walls with fellow apartment dwellers. You’ll share parking spaces. You might share laundry facilities, play spaces, a swimming pool, and other common areas. And when you rent, your landlord has access to your space in case of an emergency.

Given today’s health concerns around the pandemic, all of that may be a growing priority for you. If you own your home, however, you don’t share your space with others and can have as much privacy as you want.

4. Flexibility for Relocation

If you’re renting, it may be easier to move quickly should you have a job transfer or simply decide it’s time for a change. When you’re a homeowner and need to sell your house, this might take a little more time.

That said, this may no longer be the case. Homes in the Tri-Cities are selling at an incredibly fast pace — the median days on market was 7 in our most recent monthly housing update. So you may have more flexibility than you think.

5. Building Equity

This is a really important consideration. When you pay rent, your landlord earns the equity the property gains. If you own your home, the benefits of your investment go directly toward your net worth. This is savings you’ll be able to use in the future for things like sending children to college, starting a new business, buying a bigger home, or simply downsizing to save for retirement.

6. Tax Advantages

When you own your home, there are additional advantages that work in your favor as well. You can deduct things like your property taxes and mortgage interest. (Always make sure you check with your accountant to see which tax-deductible benefits apply to your situation) When you rent, however, the tax benefits are directed to your landlord.

Bottom Line

It’s up to you to decide if you’d prefer to rent or buy, and it’s different for every person. If you have questions about making the transition, get in touch with us below. We promise to help you make the decision that’s right for you, even if that means staying in your apartment.

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Cari McGee

Hi, I'm Cari McGee. 👋 I've lived in the Tri-Cities since 1994 and I've been a licensed Realtor® since 2004. That's a lot of local knowledge and real estate experience that I put into every article you read on my website! We've helped more than 560 families buy or sell property in the Tri-Cities. In 2023, our community voted us the bronze winner for Best Real Estate Team in the Tri-Cities Best voting. Learn more about me by clicking the link right above. And if you have any questions, get in touch anytime!

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