Buying vs. Renting

By Carlos Portocarrero

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The other day I ran into this article on The Atlantic’s website with tons of opinions from people about the whole buying vs. renting debate.Interesting opinions on how people feel about buying or renting.

Right now the most outspoken voices are the ones in favor of renting. And that makes sense: the real-estate market has gone through a tremendous fall. Millions of people are paying a mortgage on properties that are worth less (on paper) than the value they’re writing checks for.

And that’s not a good feeling.

That’s why the article has comments like this:

A house is nothing but a huge time and money suck


One of the undercurrents to these types of comments is job security. More and more people believe this doesn’t exist, and without that stability owning a home becomes that much more dangerous.

Making the commitment to own puts you on the spot. And if you lose your job, the effects could be disastrous.

Our Experience

For us, renting a place identical to what we bought would’ve been cheaper. We wouldn’t be paying property taxes or assessments—and buying definitely meant paying a little more.

For a while there, it was a stretch for us: our monthly payments went up from when we rented and we had to alter our spending. Then we had a baby and our budgets had to be altered yet again.

It wasn’t easy to make all these adjustments and it would’ve been a lot easier if we were renting because our payments would be smaller and we’d always have the flexibility of moving if we wanted to manage our biggest bill: our rent.

But I’m glad we didn’t do that.

Would we have taken that extra money and invested it? Probably not—it would’ve gone to a new baby toy, to another night out, to pay for a trip.

As much as I’d like to think I would’ve sent it to a savings account every month to invest, I know that’s not really likely.

But right now each month we pay our mortgage, we’re making an investment. And each month we HAVE to invest because we HAVE to pay the bill.

We FORCED ourselves to invest our money because we turned it into a bill. I know people do this by setting up a bill via ING or something but it’s not the same when you HAVE to than when you just tell yourself you have to.

Maybe I’m just rationalizing because I own and there’s no easy way out, and that’s probably part of it, but I’m glad we played it the way we did. One other positive: having gone through the home buying process once will be a huge help when we do it on a bigger scale (hopefully) in the future.

When we sell, we probably won’t make any money when you look at the process from beginning to end. But if we get that money back that we invested, we’ll be able to use it for our next purchase and then stretching ourselves out will have paid off.

Any other buyers out there feel this way?

Image by Steve Snodgrass

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