With any major decision in life, there are pros and cons to consider, and the right decision depends on what your particular priorities in life are. Deciding whether or not to buy a house definitely fits that bill.
If you plan on being in the same city for the next several decades, want to customize your home in any way, want to be able to have any pets you want, and don't mind the commitment of a mortgage, owning is probably the best way to go. However, there are some perks that renters enjoy; here's a list of a few of them.
1. Smaller time commitment
One of the biggest perks of renting as opposed to owning a home is the relatively small time commitment involved. The longest lease for an apartment is two years.
In contrast, most mortgages are either 15 or 30-year commitments, making renting an excellent choice for those who anticipate some instability in their lives. Is it possible you could get transferred to another city? Considering a family? Going back to school? These are all good reasons to give yourself the flexibility of a shorter time commitment.
That way, if you need to leave, it's simply a matter of waiting out the rest of your lease. In most cases, even if you need to break a lease, it can be done for a penalty of a month's rent.
The amount of maintenance that goes along with home ownership is one of the least favorite thing about owning for most people. This is especially true if the home you own is more than a few years old.
In an apartment or rented home, the landlord generally takes care of all maintenance issues, eliminating the possibility of massive unforeseen expenses that can come with ownership. It is nice to know that if your home needs maintenance, it won't cost you a dime.
3. Limited financial risk
Aside from the absence of any maintenance expenses, renting your home eliminates other types of risk as well. You are generally protected from massive swings in the mortgage market.
4. One bill to pay
Home ownership has a lot of extra expenses, such as property taxes, homeowner's insurance, and closing costs that don't contribute to paying down the principal. In some locations, these can get very pricey.
5. The freedom to leave
The biggest perk of renting is the freedom to move around. Selling a home right now is extremely difficult in many areas of the country.
In a rental situation, as long as your lease is up, you can go somewhere else for any reason, and not just when you're moving a long distance. Having another baby? Rent a bigger home. Don't like your landlord? Go find a new one. Did you get a higher-paying job? Get a nicer place to live!