Buying/Building A Home vs Renting

Home ownership may the “Great Aussie Dream” but taking the plunge is still a big decision to make.  There are perks and downfalls to both renting and buying – looking at the pros and cons can help you make your decision.

Renting

Pros

  • Flexibility: the freedom to move around on reasonably short notice. This can be handy if you’re likely to relocate for work or you’re itching to take a big overseas trip
  • No maintenance costs: if the oven packs it in or a pipe bursts in the bathroom, the landlord pays to fix it – not you.
  • Location: it may be possible to rent in an area where you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy

Cons

  • Paying someone else’s mortgage: you fork out hundreds of dollars each week and you leave with nothing to show for it.  In some areas rent can be just as high as mortgage repayments
  • You can’t personalise it: You get no choice over what colour the walls are painted; you can’t put picture hooks in the walls… you’re living in someone else’s place.
  • Disinterested landlords: not all are great at fixing things that are broken
  • Eviction: even if you’re a great tenant, you can be evicted at the end of the lease if the landlord wants the place back, or if they sell to someone who wants to be an owner-occupier

Buying/Building

Pros

  • Paying off your own property: each mortgage payment takes you closer to outright owning your place
  • Investment: you may be able to rent the home out and have the tenants help pay the mortgage
  • Asset: Once you have some equity you can borrow against the house to invest
  • Stability: you can put down roots and plan your future, knowing you can’t be evicted from your own home
  • Personal: it’s your choice to paint/decorate/renovate as you please

Cons

  • Deposit: It can be hard work scraping together a deposit to get a foot into the market
  • Maintenance: all the upkeep and repairs come at your own expense. This is a factor for all owners, but to minimise trouble, ensure you have a good building inspection before buying a home, to pick up potential problems.  Building a brand new home can also provide peace of mind knowing everything is new and unlikely to fail anytime soon.
  • Extra expenses: owners have to pay rates, and body corporate fees for units or apartments
  • Changing circumstances: if for some reason you need to move away, it’s not always easy to sell your house on short notice.  You do have the option of renting it out, but you need to do your figures to make sure it’s a viable option for you.