Rent or buy?
Buying a property is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. Is it the right decision for you right now – or would you better off renting?
Mortgage or rent?
Buying your own home is a huge decision. So it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of owning first.
Benefits of owning
- Once you’ve paid off your mortgage, your home will be yours and you won’t have to worry about paying for somewhere to live.
- If your home increases in value, you could use the equity (its market value less the mortgage debt) to help buy a bigger home or fund a comfortable retirement.
- You can spend money improving your home and increasing its value without having to ask a landlord.
- Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy than rent.
Potential downsides of owning
- It’s a big commitment – you need to be sure you can afford what you’re taking on.
- If the value of your home falls, you may be unable to sell if you owe more to your mortgage lender than your home is worth.
- When interest rates rise, your repayments will go up. It’s important you’re prepared for a rise.
- You need to be sure you can afford maintenance costs like fixing a broken boiler or leaky roof.
- If you stretch your budget when you buy you may not have money for meals out, holidays and entertainment.
- You have less flexibility than when renting. For example, selling up and moving is more expensive as you have estate agency and legal fees to pay.
- It may not always be easy to sell your home, depending on what’s happening in the market.
- If you’re living with someone and split up, deciding what to do with the property can be complicated and expensive.
Can you afford to buy?
The first step towards buying a property is working out whether you can afford it.
If you buy a home, you’ll have to pay for:
- Survey cost
- Stamp duty
- Removal costs
- Legal costs such as solicitor’s fees
- Your monthly bills – such as gas, electricity, home phone, etc.
Compare this with the upfront and ongoing costs of renting when deciding whether to rent or buy.
If you can’t afford to buy
If you can’t afford the costs right now, think about setting up a savings plan to help you reach your goal.
Government help to buy a home
If you’re on a low income, a first time buyer, a key worker, or only have small savings for a deposit, there are housing schemes available that can help you buy your own home.