Switching your status from tenant to owner can bring its own challenges. So before you decide whether homeownership is your next step, take a glance at this list of some pros and cons below.
Pro: You can customize anything
Paint the walls. Tear out the carpet. Install a trash compactor. When you own a property, you don’t have to wait for a management company to decide when, and how, a unit will be remodeled.
Con: You pay for the upgrades
If the dishwasher breaks down in your rental, you can simply call maintenance to get the issue fixed, often within a day. When you own a home, not only do you have the headache of finding a reliable repairman available at a convenient time, but you also have to cover the cost of all repairs (and heaven forbid, replacements).
Pro: You can finally have a yard
When you upgrade from renting to owning a home, chances are you’ll be able to find a patch of grass to call your own. Think of the all the barbeques and birthdays you’ll finally have room to host! Your dog will also be grateful for the extra space to roam.
Con: You’re in charge of yard work
This one may be a matter of perspective. Some people enjoy working outside and keeping their lawn looking greener than their neighbors. Others tire easily of the mowing, weeding and fertilizing needed as just the basic steps of lawn care. You can always hire someone to help, but that’s an added cost you didn’t have while renting.
Pro: You establish roots
You needn’t worry about your rent going up next year (depending on your mortgage). If you plan to stay put for a while, you’ll build long-term relationships with your neighbors and can feel free to finally unpack that box from high school you’ve been carting around. Go ahead and grow a garden of perennials – you’ll still be around the next time they bloom.
Con: You lack mobility
When renting, it’s easy to make a change when the lease is up or even, in dire circumstances, break a lease if you have to relocate right away. If you suddenly need to relocate as a homeowner, you’ll remain responsible for the monthly mortgage until your home sells. In hot markets this isn’t a problem, but it’s not unheard of for homes to remain on the market for months until their owners have to consider a credit-damaging short-sale.
Pro: You build equity
When you sign your rent check each month you’re handing off money you will never see again. In comparison, as a homeowner your check is going toward paying down the overall price of the home. Ideally, when it’s time to move on you’ll be able to sell your home for at least as much as you paid for it.
Con: You’re at the whim of unpredictable markets
Ideally you’ll be able to sell your home for the same price you bought it for, if not more. Unfortunately, the housing market can be volatile. Some homeowners end up underwater on their home, owing more on their original loan that the property is worth.
The bottom line? When you’re ready, there are many great benefits to home ownership, but it’s not a decision to be made lightly. A RE/MAX agent can use his or her knowledge of the market and your personal situation to help you decide your next move.