Renting vs. Buying: What is the Right Choice for You?

Updated July 19, 2018
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When it comes to finding your perfect home, there are plenty of options — least of which is the choice of renting vs. buying. This article explores the benefits of renting or buying real estate to help you decide the best path forward. Let’s get started!


Before starting a house or apartment hunt, consider these three important factors that will inform your decision to rent or buy.

  • Are you financeable?

Overall, you will need strong credit, enough money for a down payment, job security or other steady income, and a history of financial responsibility in order to get a mortgage to buy property.

  • Are you ready to settle down?

When considering renting vs. buying, you’re likely to stay in one place longer as a homeowner. So, if you want to buy a house or apartment, you can expect to settle down for the next 3-5 years of your life. Are you happy with your job? Do you like the city you live in? Are you attached to your social circle? Consider these questions before making the leap into a purchase.

  • How much responsibility do you want?

As a homeowner, you’re going to assume complete responsibility over the property. From unavoidable home maintenance tasks to budgeting for taxes to general upkeep and much more, buying will keep you busy. When you rent, on the other hand, a landlord or property manager takes care of all this for you.

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Reasons to Buy Real Estate

There are plenty of reasons to buy real estate:

  1. Tax deductions. You can deduct mortgage interest as well as your property taxes. As a renter, you won’t receive this benefit. Additionally, if you meet certain requirements, the IRS won’t charge a capital gains tax on the profits made when you sell. You can keep the first $250,000 in profit you make when selling the home if you’re single, or the first $500,000 if married.
  2. Building equity. As an owner, you’re actively investing your money into the ownership of your home, increasing the amount you own with every payment. When you rent, you’re simply losing that money with every payment. Also, you can borrow money against your home’s equity to pay for major purchases, or, when the entire mortgage has been paid down, borrow to fund major purchases like a vacation home or a child’s college education.
  3. Freedom to do what you wish. In an apartment, you’re stuck with what you get. When you own, you can do whatever you want — tear down walls, add a deck in the backyard, paint the front door. It gives you complete creative control to do what you want.
  4. Maintenance choices. If you live in a house, you can decide how to approach maintenance, either doing it yourself or picking your own contractor. If you live in a condominium or homeowners’ association, you may pay a monthly fee to have maintenance work covered by the association’s contractors.

Reasons to Rent Real Estate

There are also upsides to renting real estate:

  1. No long-term commitment. Renting gives you the ability to try out a new neighborhood or city without committing to something long-term. Usually, you’ll sign a year-long lease, giving you the time you need to decide whether or not the area is right for you, without forcing you to stick around if you don’t like it.
  2. Low job security. If you don’t have outstanding job security, that can seriously hamper your attempts to own a home. Renting gives you the chance to save up, and cost less than owning a home should you lose your job unexpectedly.
  3. An option for those with bad credit. As stated earlier, credit score is a huge factor in your ability to borrow from a bank. Creating a history of on-time rental payments can help you build the sort of credit you need to qualify for a mortgage.
  4. No maintenance. When you experience a burst pipe or a broken air conditioner, you don’t head to the hardware store, you simply contact the property manager and he’s required to fix it.

Is Renting or Buying the Right Choice?

Your decision to rent or buy will depend on your personal circumstances and desires. No matter what, renting and buying real estate takes up a major portion of your income, so it deserves careful thought. There are advantages and disadvantages to each path, and you will know your end goals more so than anyone else.

If your lifestyle and financial situation show that renting is a better decision, don’t let generic statements like “you’re wasting money when you rent” or “buying a house is what every adult does” change your mind. Often, it’s simply a better choice and will put you in a better position to buy in the future.

Looking for great rentals in the St. Paul area?

Contact the experts at Apartments in St. Paul! We will help you find an apartment that feels like home. Contact one of our team members today by emailing

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