Owning your own home is a dream for many and, while there are lots of ways to buy your first home, is owning your own property all it’s cracked up to be?
It’s not something you hear very often, but maybe you’d be better off renting.
Before you cancel your appointment with a mortgage broker though, let’s have a look at a few of the pros and cons of renting or buying your own home, so you can have a think about what’s best for you.
Pros and cons of renting
If you’re a free spirit and love a carefree life, moving on whenever it takes your fancy, then renting is for you. You get the flexibility to live wherever you want and to leave whenever you want.
So, if you fancy a year travelling around the world, it’s no problem if you’re renting. Just give your landlord the required notice, get your deposit back so you can buy a big rucksack and off you go. No more rent to pay for a year, wahoo!
If you have any friends or family who’ve bought their own home, you’ve undoubtedly been on the receiving end of their moans and complaints about delays and how long it’s taking. Buying is a long, complicated and drawn-out experience involving chains, solicitors, estate agents, surveyors and banks, whereas renting involves you handing over a deposit and a month’s rent to a landlord and moving in (okay, there’s a bit more to it than that and you’ll probably need references and stuff but you get the general picture).
Free repairs and maintenance
There’s been a big storm and your roof’s leaking. What do you do? Check your bank account for a few thousand pounds to buy a new roof, realise you have approximately bugger all in your account and stick a bucket under the leak and wait for summer instead?
Not if you’re renting.
If you’re renting, your landlord is responsible for all repairs and maintenance and, by law, they have to carry out essential repairs, so you’ll literally never be without a roof over your head. If the pipes around the home start springing a leak, the landlord may get in touch with professional plumbers for their house repiping services in order to get the property functioning as it should once again.
When you’re renting, your landlord can ask you to leave whenever they like. Okay, they have to give you notice but if they want to sell the house, live in it themselves or whatever the reason is they have to ask you to leave, you’re going to have to pack up and go.
The law is currently changing on pets in rental properties in England but most landlords don’t like animals in their properties and it’s a lot more difficult to find somewhere to rent if you have pets.
Although repairs can be costly if you own your own home, bricks and mortar is still a worthwhile investment. You’ll never get anything back when you’re renting.
Pros and cons of buying
Unless you default on your mortgage payments (don’t do that) and your mortgage lender repossesses your property, you can stay in your home as long as you like.
Owning a property is a good investment. Whether you want to sell up and cash it in at a later date and spend the money travelling the world, or use the money to live in a care home when you’re old and your children can’t be bothered to look after you, or you move in with a partner and rent your property out, owning property will always make you money.
If you buy a leasehold property, there may be restrictions in the lease on having animals in your property, but if you buy a freehold property, you can have as many pets as you can squeeze in there.
You’re tied down
Owning a property is a big commitment. If you’ve got a mortgage, you have to pay it each month or the mortgage company will repossess it (unfair, I know!). You can of course sell it and move somewhere else if you feel like it but, like I said above, buying and selling is not a quick process and not something you can do on a whim.
Owning a property is expensive. A house is a big, old money-pit, even if it’s a small, new house. Local Facebook groups are full of people asking for recommendations for plumbers, electricians and builders because houses constantly need plumbers, electricians and builders and, when you own your own home, you have to pay for these people yourself (again, unfair, I know!)
Yes, there is lots to be said for owning your own home (in fact, in the interests of transparency, I own my own home and wouldn’t swap it for renting – at least, I thought I felt like that until I wrote this article) but there’s a lot of stress that comes with being a home-owner. There’s the buying process in the first place – from worrying about whether you’re doing the right thing, to wondering why it’s taking so flipping long, to worrying about how you’re going to pay for the hole in the roof that’s letting the rain in.
So, in summary, there’s pros and cons to both buying and renting. Whichever you decide to do ultimately depends on your financial circumstances, personal priorities and other considerations you should bear in mind.
About the author
Cathy White is a freelance writer, blogger, editor, proofreader, transcriber and outreach manager, which is a long-winded way of saying she does stuff with words. Originally from London, Cathy now lives by the sea on the south coast.