Monday, August 19, 2013

Part 1: Rent vs. Buy

Anyone who has purchased a home or even considered purchasing a home has had "The Big Debate". Should we keep renting? Or is now the best time to buy a house? There are SO many different variables that affect this decision. Not only do you have to be ready financially, you need to know where you would like to buy and then be able to find a home in that area that fits your needs and budget.

We first really began to have this debate once we knew Lance was offered the job. We knew it was still more of a buyers market and that it was a good time to buy, overall. When we started apartment hunting in Davis County, we started out looking only at places that offered month to month rent. That way, we could move down there, take a few months to get familiar with the area, make sure we'd want to live there, and then have the option of buying a house if we wanted to.

After a full day of checking out month to month places, we were extremely discouraged. Our options were VERY limited. They were all either really small, gross, in a scary neighborhood, way out of our budget, or all of the above. I knew that housing was cheap in Logan, but I was still surprised at how drastic the difference was. It looked like our rent would be doubling for half of the space we were used to. So not only would we be paying more rent, but we were likely going to have to rent a storage unit to hold most of our stuff. (And the size we need is about $100/month).

Coming back to Logan after that day of looking, I changed my entire perspective. I decided that we didn't need month-to-month and that we would be willing to sign a lease if it meant we got a better place for a better price. That night, I stumbled across an add for an apartment in Kaysville. I called on it and set an appointment up to look at it the next day. Not only was it a reasonable price, but it was closer to Centerville than other places we had been looking at, and it was large enough to hold all of our stuff and eliminate the need for a storage unit. Even though Lance had never seen it, I signed the lease then and there. And they even had a month-to-month option...for $50 per month more. But I opted for cheaper rent and decided to just go for the year lease.

So we moved to our current apartment in Kaysville. And while it has been difficult only having two bedrooms, we have enjoyed our place for the most part. But then I met two of our neighbors. One had just purchased a home and was moving out shortly, and the other was in the process of looking for a home. In talking to them, I learned that the housing market was starting to rise and had been for the past few months. Already, interest rates were jumping and home prices were starting to go up. That got me thinking again and debating whether to even start to look for a home or not.

The thought wouldn't leave my mind for days. So I made an appointment for a lender that was recommended to us by some friends I highly trust. I figured we would see generally what we were approved for, find out that there wasn't really anything we would want in that price range, and call it good. We were both shocked and pleasantly surprised when we were approved for way more than we thought we would be. But then suddenly buying a house seemed like it actually could be a decent option.

Even though we now knew we could get into a home, we still weren't sure if it was the best decision for us. We have made a lot of pro/con lists in the past few weeks. Here were a few:

Reasons to keep renting:
  • Cheaper rent
  • When something breaks, we don't have to fix it
  • We had already unpacked everything and didn't want to move again
  • Location - the apartment is in a great area and is closer to Centerville
  • We could lose our deposit and possibly pay double rent
  • Unsure if we really wanted to stay in this area long term
  • We would keep our savings account for emergencies
  • Would have a little more financial freedom to have some fun and not have to be so frugal

Reasons to buy a home:
  • Prices are low now, but likely to rise soon enabling us to build some equity
  • House payment wouldn't be much more than rent.
  • We had heard that our landlord had been raising everyone's rent and there was a decent chance our rent would go up after a year anyways.
  • If we didn't buy now, we may miss out on good interest rate and low home prices and might not be able to afford for many more years.
  • Much more space
  • Have a yard to play in
  • Be able to settle down and finally establish some roots
  • Have the freedom to paint and decorate however we want
There are definitely some good and bad for each option. Because there was such a great possibility of rent increasing after a year anyways, we decided that we should look for a house and at least see what our options were. We committed not to settle and buy a home just to buy a home. We would be patient and wait for something we liked at the right price. And if we couldn't find something, then we would simply continue renting instead.
So with that we contacted a realtor recommended by the Bunn's (the same friends who suggested our lendor). and began our search for our first home.

*Coming Soon- Part 2: The Search

1 comment:

  1. We were so lucky to be able to buy when we bought and pay 1/3 of what we payed in rent. Congrats on buying a house!