Should I Buy a Home or Rent, Which is Better?

Should I buy or should I rent? This is a perennial question for those who want to move into a new home. While many people answer this question with broad generalizations, not backed up by actual facts and figures; the best way to determine whether you should buy or rent a home is to compare all the costs, factors and figures involved. Let’s take a detailed look at the question, comparing rental costs, mortgage payments, increases in home values and other factors which determine whether a person who buys a home gets a better deal than someone who just rents.

As an example, let’s compare renting to buying a $250,000 home with 5{ef6a2958fe8e96bc49a2b3c1c7204a1bbdb5dac70ce68e07dc54113a68252ca4} ($12,500) down payment. Purchasing this property in Toronto would require about $6,000 closing costs and an approximate total of $2,000 per month which includes mortgage payments ($1,460), property tax ($150) and maintenance fees ($390). The rent on the same property is about $1,500 per month, therefore it would seem like it is easier to just rent the home instead of purchasing and to invest the $500 extra monthly payment, down payment and the closing costs.

The total investment growth from renting could be approximately $ 7,115 after 5 years. This was calculated by growing the monthly savings from renting ($500.00) plus the down payment of $12,500 and closing costs of $6,000 at a standard after-tax rate of 4{ef6a2958fe8e96bc49a2b3c1c7204a1bbdb5dac70ce68e07dc54113a68252ca4} per annum. Indeed after five years, a person who rents could retain $55,615.

Now what about the position of the person who buys a $250,000 home with 5{ef6a2958fe8e96bc49a2b3c1c7204a1bbdb5dac70ce68e07dc54113a68252ca4} down payment? After deducting the down payment ($12,500) and adding the mortgage insurance ($6,531) to the purchase price, the buyer takes a 25 year mortgage at 5.3{ef6a2958fe8e96bc49a2b3c1c7204a1bbdb5dac70ce68e07dc54113a68252ca4} in the amount of $244,031. What would be his or her situation after selling his home at the end of the five year term? If there was an estimated increase in property value of 5{ef6a2958fe8e96bc49a2b3c1c7204a1bbdb5dac70ce68e07dc54113a68252ca4} per year, after five years the $250,000 home would be worth $319,070.  By subtracting the approximate selling costs ($20,000) and the mortgage balance at the end of the five year term ($216,990), the net amount received after a sale would be $82,080.

In this case, the person who bought and then sold the home after five years would have about $26,465 more than someone who just rented and invested the $500 extra monthly payment, down payment and the closing costs.

This is just an example and the figures presented here are just an estimate. A lot will depend on the trend of the housing market in your area, interest rates on mortgages and the interests earned on investments. Check with the real estate and financial experts in your area and seek professional advice to make a wise decision.

So, if you are not sure whether to buy or rent, do not make the decision only by looking at how much you would pay per month as a homeowner or a tenant. With a help of a qualified professional, calculate all the costs and investment growths and compare your probable position as either a home owner or a renter at the end of a certain time period, then make your choice.