Relocating for work? Upsizing or downsizing? Desiring a new neighborhood/city? These are all common reasons to move. The question comes down to determining if it’s better to rent or buy. Below are a few questions you should ask yourself before starting your home or apartment search.
1. How long do I want to live here?
Determine how long you’re planning to live in the area. If you’re relocating with a company you’ve been with for many years, this may be considered a long-term move with a reliable organization. However, if you’ve just started a new job with a new company, this may be a shorter relocation period based on your performance or job satisfaction. A common rule of thumb is the three-year test. If the amount of time you’d spend in one area is three years or less, it is often better to rent. If the amount of time is over three years, it is often better to buy. This is not a golden rule that must be followed, but rather a point of reference to consider during your research. In fact, many housing situations are complex and unique in their own way. The best way to determine what is best for you is to meet with a Realtor to discuss your options.
2. How much money do I have to put down?
Consider the amount of money you’re able to allocate to a home down-payment. This is often one of the top reasons individuals chose to rent for a year or two before buying a home. The main difference between the renting and buying is not the monthly payments, but the amount of money initially due, in combination with receiving approval for a home loan. If you don’t have a down payment for your desired home’s value up-front, you may need to rent temporarily until you have the funds necessary to qualify for a loan and purchase a home. Talk to your Realtor about having them help you coordinate a meeting with a trusted loan advisor to learn about available options.
3. How invested am I in this area?
Being invested in an area may influence your decision to buy or rent a home. Do you have a particular school district your children are enrolled in? Or are you involved in a local organization or city council you are actively involved in? Many people prefer to purchase a home in an area they are involved and invested in. If you are relatively new to an area, it may be wise to look into a short-term lease while exploring different areas prior to making your home purchase.
4. How much time do I have to move?
Are you looking to move tomorrow or in the next few months? Finding a place to rent can take a few days, whereas finding a place to buy can take a few weeks or months to close. Buying requires a number of added steps including; drafting offers, negotiating, closing, and fulfilling required inspections/contingencies. If you’re on a time crunch, it may be less stressful to start out with a lease and transition to buying. You may consider a short-term lease for 6 – 9 months, giving you more time to continue your home search.
5. How many people are living with me?
Are you the only one moving? Or do you have a significant other or family members coming with you? Consider the decision from multiple points of view. If you’re a single individual, you may not be interested in the larger square footage that comes with purchasing a home. However, if you have multiple members coming with you, it’s important to consider the needs of each member including square footage and privacy.
Brought to you by:
Austin Solomon, Realtor | Coldwell Banker Action, Schofield, WI