Rent or Buy: Which is best?

Latest update: 08 June, 2022

Getting your foot on the property ladder is sold as the dream for all young adults. However, as house prices rise, moving into your first home continues to be a significant challenge.

Even if first-time buyers are fortunate enough to be in a position to afford to buy, does that mean you should? The debate has many pros and cons on both sides of the argument; this handy guide will help you decide whether to rent or buy.

Buying

Purchasing your own home is a means to an end. Once your mortgage repayments have concluded, you own the property outright.

Advantages of buying

There are many benefits to home ownership, including:

  • Making monthly payments means that slightly more of your property becomes yours, boosting your level of equity and not your landlord’s bank account!

  • With each of your monthly mortgage repayments made on time, you improve your credit score.

  • Depending on the property and area, your monthly mortgage payments could be cheaper than paying rent on a similar property.

  • To buy a house is a long-term investment. If property prices rise, you will have increased your profit when the time comes to sell the house.

Disadvantages of buying

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, however. Cons of buying include:

  • Buying your own home is expensive. One of the highest upfront costs you’ll need is a large deposit down payment which can be anything between 5 and 20% of the property price.

  • There are many extra costs involved with purchasing a house. For example, you will need to pay legal fees, mortgage fees, survey fees, stamp duty, etc.

  • Once you’re on the property, you’ll be fully responsible for all maintenance costs. Although buildings insurance will cover some damages outside your control, most things, such as a leaky roof or broken boiler, will be your responsibility.

  • Buying a house is a long-term commitment. You must make sure you can afford your monthly mortgage payment, council tax, and other bills.

  • While there is an excellent opportunity to make a profit on your house, you may be left with negative equity if the housing market becomes unpredictable.

Renting

For many, renting a home is seen as ‘money down the drain.’ However, that’s not necessarily the case. 

Advantages of Renting

Renting allows you more flexibility and is a great short-term option. Some benefits include:

  • Getting yourself into a rental property is a quick process, particularly if you’re smart and get all of your documents ready to be checked in advance.

  • There are far fewer unexpected costs when renting. You’ll know what your monthly rent is, what bills you have to pay, and that’s it. All property maintenance will be your landlord’s responsibility to fix.

  • In the short term, renting can be cheaper than buying, and you may be able to afford something better in a nicer area than you expected. If you’re a serial renter, be aware of moving costs.

  • Tenancy agreements usually last for a year or two, so rather than being locked into a long mortgage term as you would with owning a home, you have the flexibility to adapt to changes in your life and move around as necessary.

Disadvantages of Renting

Of course, as with buying, renting comes with plenty of potential pitfalls as well, including:

  • Your month’s rent goes straight into your landlord’s pocket and your own mortgage repayments rather than to your own.

  • Whatever your landlord decides, you have to abide by it. If they decide on home improvements, you can do little about it, not to your taste.

  • At the end of a tenancy agreement, rent increases are expected. 

  • You need to seek your landlord’s permission before you can redecorate or make renovations to the property. 

  • Every time you move to a new property, you’ll have to find a deposit again. Although your old landlord will rarely keep all of the deposit from your previous rental, the likelihood is that you’ll have had to pay for some minor repairs or to clean.

Rent or Buy - Which is best?

Ultimately, deciding whether to buy a home or go down the rental route comes down to where you are in life, your priorities, and affordability.

While getting a mortgage can help with financial planning and sticking to a budget, the approach is not without risks. However, the chances are it will be a good investment.

For some, though, flexibility is critical, and for them, it may well be better to rent.

Are you looking for a place to rent? Search among 78,327 available rentals
Search now