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 September 14, 2003
House & Home
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Should You Rent or Buy?
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By ServiceMagic

If you are considering buying a house, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether buying a house instead of renting one is the right direction for you. Since owning a home is the "American Dream", many people simply assume that it's always to their advantage to buy a home, and for most, it is. Take a moment to review the following lists to see how your situation fits in.


  • More fixed costs for the term of the lease
  • Not gaining equity, but not losing it either
  • When the lease is up, you can just move
  • There is generally less work in maintaining a home or apartment
  • Smaller amount of "up-front" cash � No matter what happens with the value of the home, you will never gain equity
  • Limited--or no--ability to personalize your living quarters
  • No tax advantage to renting. Your landlord gets any and all tax breaks that are available


  • Variable costs
  • Equity may go up, down, or stay stagnant
  • If you want to move, home generally must be sold
  • Work needs to be done by you--or paid for by you
  • Generally a larger initial investment--the downpayment
  • Over time, the mortgage balance decreases and equity builds, even if the value of the home does not increase
  • The ability to remodel and redecorate the home to match your needs and desires
  • There can be tax advantages attached to home ownership. Consult competant legal and/or accounting advice for details for your situation

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