Everyone dreams of making it on their own. When you live with your parents, you’re excited for college; when you’re in college, you’re excited to get out of the tiny dorms and into a full apartment; and when you get an apartment, you’re excited to get your own house. I know this firsthand. To this day, there is still debate on whether renting or buying is the smarter choice.
Truth be told, each one has their pros and cons. Renting is the easier way to go. It’s cheaper for one thing. The amount you’ll pay every month in rent is much smaller than what you’ll pay on a mortgage. This is understandable given that you are getting a lot more room with a house, but still, from a fiscal perspective, renting is the way to go.
It’s also pretty low maintenance. You don’t have a lawn to worry about and if something breaks, you can just call the landlord. You don’t have that option when owning a house. If something breaks, it’s up to you to either fix it or hire someone to do it.
If you are young or just starting out, an apartment is the superior choice as well. There are a lot less rooms to furnish, which saves you quite a bit of expense. House hunting is also a fairly complicated process, so it’s good to have a sort of transition step in between moving out and buying a house.
There is something alluring about owning a home though. I rent and I like the idea of buying a house one day. For one thing, I have a lot of stuff and a house would give me the room to store it all. Even better, houses have shelves built into certain rooms, whereas with apartments you have to buy and assemble all of the shelves yourself. If you’re a book/movie collector like I am, built in shelves are your best friend.
I also like the idea of having more than one or two rooms to work in. First off, turning the basement into a man cave seems like it would be very enjoyable. I would also have the option of giving myself an office and a library as opposed to cramming everything into one room. You get more flexibility.
Houses also allow you more freedom for customization. You can design the house anyway you want to. With an apartment, you’re limited to what you have, whereas with a house, you can build or convert. One of the first things I’m doing when I buy a house is installing a fire pole from the second to the first floor, because that’s awesome. I tried to talk my parents into doing that back when I lived with them. Even when I pointed out that it would add greatly to the resale value, they didn’t see the appeal.
A lot of people look at buying a house as an investment. I can see this to a degree, but sometimes people go too far with it. People become concerned with the resale value when they have no intention of moving and freak out because their house is upside-down (not literally, it’s a figure of speech meaning you owe more than the house is worth).
Some people buy houses knowing that they will sell it later. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but once I move into a house, I wouldn’t mind settling there. People spend decades paying off a mortgage and moving constantly just means you hit the reset button over and over again.
In fact, one of the major selling points of owning a home is the fact that eventually, that monthly payment goes away. You don’t have that privilege with an apartment. Some say that renting is essentially flushing your money down the toilet since the place is never really yours. I wouldn’t go that far, however, knowing that one of your monthly payments will eventually go away forever is a huge incentive to buy a house.
On the other hand, owning a house is a pretty big responsibility. All that extra space is great when you have stuff to put in it, but you also have to keep all of them clean. As I mentioned before, apartments are easier to furnish than houses because you really only have one or two bedrooms along with a living room area. Even furnishing that can be pretty pricey so going through six or seven rooms and doing the same thing is no friend to your bank account.
In addition to that, you also have to worry about homeowner’s insurance as well as all the tax complications that come with a mortgage. Sure, it means you get money back, but the process is less stressful if you just rent.
It’s an expensive endeavor so if you are going to buy a house, make sure you can afford it. So many people run into problems because they buy more house than they need or can afford and while I understand the desire to own a home, you don’t want to botch the attempt and hurt yourself financially.
Each one has their pros and cons. A lot of people are perfectly happy renting an apartment. They just want a place to hang their hat and an apartment allows them to do that. I can understand that, and apartment life is great in it’s own way. It’s low maintenance and comfortable. Still, for me, the house does hold a certain charm that apartments just don’t have.