Renting vs. buying: which is the path to your dream home?

Owning a home is the quintessential American dream. And while it may seem like a no-brainer to take the plunge into home ownership once it’s financially feasible, the decision to buy versus rent warrants careful consideration. 

Renting: It offers flexibility and lower initial costs, as maintenance is typically covered and leases provide an easy exit strategy. A 2023 analysis from Realtor.com also revealed that renting is cheaper than owning in 45 of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Yet dealing with landlords can present challenges, such as unexpected rent increases or property sales. 

Buying: Homeownership builds equity and pride, with the added freedom to personalize one’s space. However, it also entails repair costs and mortgage risks, as the economy may suddenly shift—CNN reported that 7.5 million homeowners ended up with “underwater” mortgages in 2008. Despite all this, homeowners may benefit from tax advantages.


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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