Renters today face the highest monthly charges in history and costs just keep rising month after month. In fact, U.S. renters pay 30 percent of their monthly income on rents while homeowners pay just 15 percent on mortgages. The steep cost of rent makes buying appealing, but many renters don’t have enough disposable income after their rent charges to save for a down payment. So what are renters to do when faced with the choice to keep paying astronomical rents or stretch finances to buy?
We asked personal finance bloggers and mortgage experts to get their insight on determining the best time to rent verses buy.
How did you know you were ready to buy your first home?
We were ready to buy as we had been house viewing for some months and then came upon the perfect house for our family. Because we found “the one,” we had the drive to figure out the funds for a down payment. — Ken Walker of Sun Pacific Mortgage & Real Estate
I knew I was ready to buy a home because emotionally it was all I could think about. I was nesting and wanted a nest of my own. My husband had a steady job and was into his career a few years with a growing income year over year. We had little debt and had saved a small down payment. I felt like we were ready for the financial responsibility and we were not going to be in over our heads. — Michelle Mollura of RPM Mortgage
In hindsight, were you truly ready to buy when you did?
When we bought our house, we only thought we were ready. We were so very unprepared for what homeownership really meant, what it involved by way of finances, and how it would affect us. We would have done so much different if we had it to do over again. We’d make sure we got a home inspection, make sure we held out for a house that was more of a fit for us, and we certainly would have made sure that we knew all the costs that were going into the house and whether we could afford them or not. —Shane of Beating Broke
I definitely wasn’t ready to buy when I bought. I bought a home before I became a student of finance, and I have now turned that property into a rental. I think being ready to buy has just as much to do with being ready to make the commitment, as it does with finances. If you’re sure you want to stay where you’re at, and you’re ready to start caring for/working on your own home, then you’re ready to look at your finances and make the decision. Buying is just as much about emotions as it is finances. There are a thousand reasons to buy and another thousand reasons to rent. There is no right or wrong, but if you’re not emotionally ready, it’s the wrong time to buy. — Kalen Bruce of Money Mini Blog
Which financial factors are preventing you from buying?
I live in New York City where home prices are far higher than anything I can afford to purchase. I also lead a very nomadic lifestyle. I can barely commit to living in the same place for more than a year. The time and monetary investment of homeownership doesn’t really lend itself to my life choices and I’m perfectly okay with that. Homeownership isn’t what my “American Dream” looks like. —Stefanie O’Connell of The Broke and Beautiful Life