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Renting vs. Buying – A Question Everyone is Asking

By Caroline Harvey

In today’s crazy real estate market it is, without a doubt, tougher for first-time buyers to hop into the market and purchase their first home.

Some would suggest to keep renting until the market cools to prevent paying inflated prices.  Others would say to take your savings and invest in real estate now because the market will continue to grow and become hotter and hotter in the coming years.

First-time buyers, like all buyers have a wish list. This will almost always include a typical detached home with an attached garage, in a lovely family neighborhood similar to what they grew up in – somewhere they can raise a family and live for 20 years.  These types of properties are hard to attain on your first purchase, and in today’s market especially, concessions will likely have to be made.

It is never a bad idea to invest in real estate as opposed to renting, it just means that it might look a little bit different than before.

In my experience, a great suggestion is to invest in the ever-growing urban condo market, a nice townhouse or a smaller home that requires some cosmetic updating.  This doesn’t have to be a forever home, but it will help get your foot in the door in terms of real estate ownership.   If, in a few years, you feel it’s time to move to a bigger home, you can use the equity from your payments and market increases on your first home, towards a down payment on a new second home. You can then choose to sell or hold onto your first home for an investment property.

As a renter in today’s market, here are a few things that might tip the scales towards home ownership:

  1. Your home belongs to you – The security of owning means you can make changes and improvements without having to ask a landlords permission. You won’t have to worry about moving if a member of the owner’s family decides they want to move in or when a landlord wants to sell.
  1. A mortgage isn’t forever, rent never stops – Sure, 25 or 30 years might seem like a long time, but once your mortgage is paid off you can use your money for other projects, investments, retirement etc.
  2. Home equity means long term financial benefits – A home increases in value over time, and can help you establish assets and a family estate.
  1. You can leverage your first home – A starter home can bring you one step closer to the house of your dreams. Accessing equity can lead to big things whether it’s a bigger house or financing a project you’ve always dreamed of doing.
  2. It’s like having a forced savings plan – Rent is simply an expense, nothing more. Allocating that money towards a mortgage adds value with each payment.

 

Caroline Harvey is a real estate agent in Kitchener.  If you are interested in buying or selling a home, or would like more information about her services, please visit her website.

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