When it comes to finding a place to live, there is a way to have the comfort of a home with the flexibility and ease of no long-term commitments or unpredictable costs. It’s called renting. Renting gives residents amenities they desire such as a pool, 24-hour security or a free on-site gym without the demand of a mortgage.
While home ownership is still considered the American dream for many, is it right for you? Here are some things you should consider when you're deciding between renting and owning.
What will it cost you?
Buying a home usually requires a substantial investment of cash for a down payment, closing costs, and points paid to lenders. There is no long-term commitment when living in an apartment. Communities typically have a 6- or 12-month lease but some offer more – which is excellent flexibility.
Will you be free to quickly relocate?
If your company relocates employees frequently or you're not interested in staying somewhere for more than a year or two, you may want to think twice about buying. What happens if the neighborhood changes, crime increases or you don't get along with your neighbors? The costs you incur to sell a home may outpace any gains in the property's value or selling price.
What will you get for your money?
With a home, you may possibly have a yard, a community pool or other amenities. But you will also be responsible for maintaining the yard, heating and cooling a larger space and perhaps paying homeowner association dues to maintain the pool and other amenities.
What return will you get on your investment?
Most people believe property always appreciates or gains value, but that's not always the case. A change in the neighborhood or the economy can affect the value of your property. Sometimes you'll make money as a result, but you may lose money on your investment if you haven't owned the property for long. You'll also need to consider any additional money that you put into the property for improvements or upkeep while you live there.
How much maintenance do you want to do?
When you own your home, you are responsible for making the repairs or hiring others to make them. Clogged toilet or sink that won’t drain properly? Don’t panic, maintenance is there to fix it. A majority of apartments communities have technicians on-site and will come resolve the issue immediately
How likely is it that your life and your needs will change?
Is your family growing, or do you have children who are getting ready to leave home or go to college? Is divorce or separation a possibility in your near future? Will there be other demands on your income or savings?
What will make you happy?
When you move out on your own – especially into a new city – it may be tough to meet new people. In apartment communities, there are people of all age groups which makes apartment living the ideal place for developing friendships. Social media is a great way to stay current with community events and activities. Ask management if the complex has community social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
How important is “location, location, location?
Whether you prefer to live in the suburbs or dream of moving to a big city, there’s a wide variety of locations to choose from when selecting an apartment. Imagine being able to walk or bike to the office each day.
What are your options in size and comfort level?
If you want to upgrade your apartment home, renting provides that option. With numerous floorplans available, apartments are easily adaptable to your ideal living situation. Also, many communities allow for residents to paint and add décor to the walls. Always check your lease for specific guidelines.
What additional benefits does renting offer?
Roommates are great additions to a lease because they can help lower the cost of living for you. Expenses can be very challenging when living on your own. Making monthly payments provides enough time for you to save the necessary amount for rent. The beauty of apartment living is that a majority of communities reserve a space or two for residents. You work hard at your job during the week. When you’re at home, it’s time to relax and kick up your feet. With an apartment, you don’t need to leave the confines of the community with all the amenities that are offered.