Why buying might not be for you
Many people believe that owning your own home is smarter financially better - but this may not be correct for all people. In fact, owning may not even be an option for everyone.
Owning your home means you're in charge of all the maintenance and repair. This means, unless you are a handy person, you'll have to pay someone to take care of these things for you. And if you are a handy person, you'll still have to purchase the materials required for these repairs.
You'll also have to budget for property tax, and in some locations, sewer, water and garbage pick up. Insurance is the big one in the budget, both for the actual home and for liabilities that may come up - that's right, you now need to worry about the mailman tripping on your property and suing you!
The one factor that surprises a lot of people is the amount of time owning a home will use up compared to just renting. There is yard work to do - landscaping takes a lot of time. Repairs also take time, either in doing them yourself or in waiting for contractors to do the work. Time spent re-mortgaging is an ownership problem as well.
Now for some people, owning gives them pride and purpose, as along with being a great way of building equity. But for others, renting is better suited to their lifestyle and financial goals. Renting frees up time to either earn more money or better enjoy their non-working hours.
On a more personal side, check out your potential neighborhood. There is no point moving into an area that you don't like. Is there a corner store that you'd actually shop at? Are there local restaurants or coffee shops that you would frequent? If you'll end up spending all of your free time leaving your neighborhood, you'd be better off renting in an area you'd hang out in.
So if you've now decided renting is for you, what do you need to know? First, you'll need to know the rules - check with your local rental board to find out what they are in your area. Make sure that both you and your potential landlord are on the same page as to what is expected, when the rent is due, who will be doing repairs, who will be mowing the lawn or shoveling the walkway, and what kind of notice will be expected from either side to end your rental arrangement.
By Dave Adam