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When to Make the Jump from Renting to Buying

For many Millennials - especially those in a big city - apartment living or staying in a rental home is the norm. One recent survey found that 18% of Millennials want to rent forever.

Homeownership used to be a major part of the American dream. But for this and future generations, it might seem like an impossible dream. Renting is often easier and less of a financial burden on a generation that has had to endure everything from hefty student loans to a sluggish economy.

But, there are more benefits to homeownership than you might realize.

If you've been considering transitioning into owning your own home, understanding some of those benefits and weighing out the pros and cons will make your decision easier. So, should you make that jump from renting to buying? If so, when?

The Pros of Homeownership
If you've been renting for any length of time, you're probably well aware of the benefits, including things like not having to take care of your own maintenance, and not having to commit to one place on a long-term basis.

But, there are also some cons to renting that might have you thinking about homeownership, in the first place. Your payments will never stop. Rental rates consistently go up. There are no tax benefits. Plus, most rental properties and apartments have plenty of rules and regulations you have to follow.

While owning a home is more responsibility and a greater commitment, the benefits might make you think twice when you compare them to the drawbacks of renting. Some of the biggest pros of homeownership include:

  • Stability

  • Sense of control

  • Social and community benefits

  • Customization

Owning your home can actually be beneficial to your physical and mental health. If you have specific needs, you can use your home to support them. That might include increased accessibility if you have mobility issues or a quiet place you can go to de-stress and meditate each day.

Homeownership is even beneficial when it comes to raising kids. Studies have shown that children of homeowners tend to have more positive outcomes in life than those of renters. Millennials are typically having kids later in life, so if you're thinking about starting a family it could be the perfect time to finally buy a house.

Knowing the Right Time to Buy

Speaking of the perfect time, how can you be sure when it will strike?

Maybe you're not planning on growing your family, but you've been considering a change. It's certainly not the right time to buy if you aren't fully prepared for it. Consider things like your monthly costs, your credit score, and how homeownership will change your overall lifestyle. The last thing you want is to buy a home and immediately realize it's a burden.

One of the best things you can do is to trust your instincts. When you're in an indecisive transition mode, knowing what to look for in a house can make the buying process easier. It can even help you determine whether it's the right move for you. Consider things like:

  • The size of the house

  • Number of floors

  • Whether you want something spacious or cozy

  • Utilities and appliances

  • Outside features and landscaping

  • Whether you'll need extra storage or a finished basement

If you start looking at homes online or in person, it should become clear fairly quickly whether it's the right time to make a jump.

Homeownership isn't for everyone. But, if you've been renting for a long time and you're considering a change, don't count it out just because it's intimidated you in the past. By weighing out the pros and cons of renting and buying and thinking about what you want for your future, you can feel confident in your decision on where to live - no matter what it is.