Not Always a Waste of Money: When Renting is a Better Choice Than Buying

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When you need to choose between buying property or renting, it's not usually a hard choice to make. Conventional wisdom states that buying is a better option because you're gradually buying your own valuable asset.

Before you start rushing to arrange a mortgage or put an offer down on a home, it might be beneficial to give it a bit more thought. The situation isn't as black and white as you think, and there are some circumstances where a rental property is the better option.

While you're making up your mind, make sure you think carefully if any of these situations apply to you.

You're not sure how long you're staying

It should go without saying that buying a house isn't the best idea if you're likely to move in a year or two, but it's not necessarily wise even if you're staying longer than that.

If there's a fair possibility of having to move within the next ten years, you might want to reconsider buying. With the expense of selling again, plus all of the initial costs of obtaining the property to begin with, you could be seriously out of pocket compared to renting instead.

Make sure you're at least reasonably confident you'll want to remain in one place for a long time before you buy.

You would struggle with extras

Property purchases come with extra costs like taxes, fees and insurance. Although you probably have taken that into account, many people compare mortgage repayments with rent on a simple month-by-month basis.

It's important to remember, however, that there are potentially a lot of extra costs when you buy. You're responsible for all the maintenance and repairs, which isn't usually the case when you rent. Make sure you're able to comfortably afford these; if you can't, rent until you're in a better position or save up a bigger deposit to reduce your mortgage repayments.

Your repayments would be large

It's tempting to make a purchase as soon as you're approved for a mortgage and have enough for a deposit. If you wait a bit longer, however, you can bring your repayments down by paying more at the start. Even with rent to pay, this can be a sensible use of your funds.

Your money could grow faster elsewhere

Apart from the satisfaction that comes with owning property, it's generally seen as a good investment. You might be surprised to learn that it isn't always the best thing you can do with your money.

There are plenty of situations where paying rent and using your spare cash to make investments or build savings pays off far better in the long run than buying a house.