Rent or Buy? 6 Factors to Help Decide What’s Best for You

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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.

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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About The Author
Cari McGee

My husband and I came to the Tri-Cities in 1994, and we thought it would be a temporary stop on our way to larger cities. He was a television sports anchor at the time, and we planned to go wherever the "next step up" took us. Twenty-plus years later, we're still here and we've loved every minute of it! We have two children now, and we've found the Tri-Cities area is a wonderful place to raise a family. It's a great place to do outdoorsy things -- I like to hike Badger Mountain or run along the river path. I also love reading ... by a cozy fire in the winter or a beautiful picture window in the summer (with the A/C on!). I've been a licensed Realtor since 2004. I earned my managing broker's license in 2016, which means I can run my own brokerage, or create a team of real estate agents and supervise them, which is exactly what I did when I formed the Cari McGee Real Estate Team in 2018! We have administrative and marketing personnel, as well as additional agents to serve you. I became a director of the Tri-Cities Association of Realtors Board of Directors in 2016, became Secretary/Treasurer of the organization, and was elected to Vice President in 2019. Want to talk about real estate? Click here to schedule a meeting with me!

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