About the author:

Terry I. Weberman, The Kabinet CPA

Terry is a Certified Public Accountant in the New York Metro area with experience working with businesses and individuals across all backgrounds. He writes articles for the Kabinet blog and is here to help you on your home ownership and/or investing journey. Ask Terry a question by sending an email to info@kabinet.com and put “Terry CPA” in the subject line. This is a complimentary service as part of Kabinet’s commitment to you!

Renting vs. buying a home is a common problem most first-time homebuyers face when deciding on their living situation. 

Many people find themselves asking the question “should I rent an apartment or buy a house?” On the one hand, renting is ideal for young professionals and is typically a more affordable option. But on the flip side, buying a home is a great way to generate wealth through real estate and build equity in an asset that tends to appreciate over time.

This article discusses the pros and cons of renting an apartment and buying a house and how to decide which one makes more sense for you.

Why rent an apartment?

Renting an apartment is an attractive option for many reasons. It allows you to relocate quickly for life events like having a child, getting married, or accepting a new job. Homeowners who need to relocate need to sell their homes first and use the funds from the sale to purchase another home, which can take months or longer.

Housing costs don’t fluctuate

Additionally, renters know what their housing costs are each month and they don’t change during the lease term. Renting is the best way to have a predictable monthly payment that isn’t subject to property taxes or homeowners insurance like homeowners must deal with.

Renting is usually cheaper

Renting an apartment is also cheaper than buying a home in 2022. Home values are up and interest rates are climbing to over 7 percent–making the cost of buying a house too much for many Americans who return to the rental market. 

Renting comes with amenities

Renting an apartment also comes with amenities complimentary to those living in the community. Some apartments offer free coffee, rooftop decks, fitness centers, or swimming pools that residents and their guests can take advantage of. Renters don’t need to worry about maintaining the landscaping or taking out the trash each week since the property management company or landlord handles these services.

Cons of renting

While renting may be a good option for some people, there are some disadvantages that come with renting that make buying seem like a better option.

Rent increases

One of the most significant disadvantages of renting is that your rent typically increases after each term. On average, rent in the United States increases by about 5 percent per year. Renters should also be aware that their rent can increase without prior notice subject to the terms of their lease agreement. 

You may have to make quick decisions if the landlord sells the property

Large commercial buildings and apartments are constantly being bought and sold by investors. Landlords can sell their property and you’ll be forced to deal with a new property management company immediately. If the new company decides to raise rents, this may leave you stuck and scrambling to find a place to live.

You’re not building equity 

One of the most popular arguments against renting an apartment is that you’re not building equity in an asset that tends to appreciate over time. Those that decide to buy a home pay off their house each month and receive equity in return.

Pros of buying a house

Buying a home is said to be the American Dream. You can settle down, raise a family, and build wealth from homeownership. There are also plenty of real estate investing strategies you can use to own multiple properties and scale your real estate business. Below are some additional benefits of buying a house.

Customization

Purchasing a home means you can customize it however you’d like. You can use custom paint colors, renovate the kitchen, or install a new bathroom. Those that rent typically can’t make major alterations to their living space and have less freedom when it comes to customizations.

Equity

Building equity in a home is one of the best ways to increase your net worth and use real estate to generate wealth. Having equity in a home also makes it easier to do a cash-out refinance or take out a home equity line of credit to finance additional real estate purchases.

Cons of buying a house

While owning a home is one of the best decisions you can make to get started as a real estate investor, there are some downsides to consider before you put an offer in on your next home.

Property taxes

Property taxes are the taxes you pay to the state to live on their property each year. These taxes often go up over time and may raise your monthly mortgage payment.

Homeowners associations

Another downside to owning a home is that many communities are governed by a homeowners association (or HOA) that sets rules for residents and collects yearly dues. HOAs may limit customization options on your home and enforce neighborhood rules.

Final thoughts

Buying vs. renting is a difficult decision. Renting tends to be better for younger people while owning a home is ideal for families and those looking to get involved with real estate investing in the future.

So, should you rent an apartment or buy a house? The answer depends on your current living situation and your goals for the future. Do you want to generate passive income through real estate investing, or would you rather be able to pack up and go anywhere at a moment’s notice? Either way, buying and renting have their own advantages and disadvantages you should consider before making a decision.

Note

Terry, The Kabinet CPA, has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information within this article was correct at time of publication. He does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from accident, negligence, or any other cause. Speak to your advisor to make sure you qualify for such benefits or opportunities. Do not rely solely on this abbreviated article, it is for informational purposes only.