A common dilemma new homeowners deal with is whether to buy or rent their new homes. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Renting doesn’t give you the freedoms that come with buying a home, while buying involves a greater commitment than renting does. But the truth is, if you can afford to, you should almost always buy, as the benefits of buying a home outweigh the benefits of renting a home.

Why Buy

• Perhaps the biggest benefit of owning your own home is just that. You own your own home!
• You’ll have the freedom to decorate it however you would like and do with it whatever you wish. Paint the walls a bright magenta or a neon green, and turn the guest bedroom into a media room. When the property is yours, the decisions are also yours.
• There are usually more rules to follow when renting a home. Buying lets you take care of the maintenance without having to answer to a landlord.
• By buying a home, you’re making an investment. And, with any luck, that investment will be profitable for you in the long run.

There are some circumstances, however, when renting is better than buying.

When to Rent
• If your credit is bad and it would be difficult to get a loan
• If your rent costs considerably less than it would cost to own a home
• If you are planning on moving in the next few years
• If your job is unstable or if you are likely to be relocated
• If you can’t manage the maintenance and upkeep of a home

First things first. Figure out what you can afford to pay, and know that this includes more than just a down payment and mortgage costs. Think about things like property taxes, utilities and HOA fees. After you’ve done your research, then you’ll be ready to make an informed decision.