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Buying vs renting

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

Which suits you best?

There are advantages to both, which is why buying versus renting is still a question which always causes discussions. It comes down to which one suits you best, so let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Pros of buying

Investment

Broadly speaking when you make your monthly mortgage payment, you know there's something waiting for you at the end of the mortgage term. Every month you are paying towards the ownership of your own home.

Privacy

The threat of a last minute flat inspection from your landlord will be a thing of the past. If you choose to have a flatmate, you’re in control of who it is, which means you could be less likely to be thrown together with someone you have nothing in common with.

Fewer restrictions

You can get a pet if you want. You can decorate and furnish it how you please, without anyone else's permission, as long as it’s within the terms and conditions of your loan. Any money spent on renovations or decorating may add to the value of your property.

Cons of buying

More responsibilities

All maintenance and repairs are now your responsibility. Even if you pay general maintenance charges, you still need to account for ad hoc expenses such as a leaky roof.

More commitment

As a homeowner you're probably less likely to pack your bags and move to the other side of the world. You have to think about things like house prices before you decide to sell up and move to another area. Owning a property can also introduce a whole new world of additional costs.

More risk

If the interest rates go up, so may your repayments (see our guide here). Should house prices plummet, your house might be worth less than you bought it for. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Saving for a deposit

Saving for your deposit might require some time and will probably require sacrifices. Our guide to saving for a deposit can offer you more information. Even once you own your home you'll still need savings, just in case your circumstances change.

Pros of renting

No maintenance costs or repairs

If your roof springs a leak, your landlord will have to pay for it, so you have less responsibility.

Less risk

If interest rates go up, your monthly payment won't be immediately affected. If the property market crashes, your rights as a tenant are protected. If you’re renting from a local authority or social housing organisation, any increase will be subject to a maximum set by the government.

One fewer commitment

Fancy a job in Australia? No problem, give your agreed notice period and you're free to go.

Smaller deposit

Getting together a deposit for a mortgage can be a tough task. The deposit on a rented property is likely to be a month or two’s rent.

Cons of renting

You're never going to see that rent again

At least when you're paying your monthly mortgage repayment, you may feel you’re getting something in return. When you're renting you’re not going to end up owning the property in the future.

Less tailor made

If you own the house you can decorate it in a style that suits you. While renting you’re less likely to be able to. If you fancy giving your bedroom a lick of paint, you're probably going to have to wait for the landlord’s permission.

Flatmates

You might be lucky and rent with a friend but if the second bedroom in your flat comes up for rent and the only person who wants it is learning to play the tuba, you may have no say in whether or not they move in.

Your decision

Whether it's best for you to rent or buy is entirely a personal choice. What's better for someone else may not be right for you. It may be you feel you're not ready for the responsibility of owning your own home yet. Some people might not want to even consider spending money on rent that they could have invested in their own property. Calculate how much each will cost, weigh up how they suit your personal circumstances and make a decision based on that.


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