NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — For the last three years, my husband and I have been renting a house. But I would rather buy than throw my money away on rent. Still, even though we have about $120,000 in savings, great credit and no debt, my husband is reluctant. The job he’s had the past two years took 15 months to find, and it pays a lot less than his previous job. He’s afraid buying now isn’t a good idea because of the shaky economy. What do you think: Should we buy or continue renting? — Jean J.
First things first, I want to dispel the belief that you are throwing money away on rent.
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This is a self-serving notion real estate agents often spout that not only isn’t true, but isn’t a basis for making a rational decision when it comes to buying versus renting. Read more
More home owners who are unable to sell their home or afford to drop the price any more are opting to rent out their homes until the market improves. But some “accidental landlords” are now having regrets.
The number of formerly owned-occupied homes turned into rentals has soared in recent years, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. In 2009, nearly 25 percent of single-family detached rentals had been owner-occupied two years earlier.
But while home owners are turning their homes into rentals to generate cash flow, many say it’s not enough. They say the cash flow being generated from the property is hardly enough to cover expenses, and in some cases, they’re even losing money. Accidental landlords also say the role is time-consuming and can be stressful, as they have to worry about everything from finding tenants to handling any repairs.
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A soft real estate market that is ripe with all the conditions that should entice people to purchase a home still has some renters asking, “Why own my own home?”
With home prices dropping, minimal interest rates and the cost of rental properties on the rise, now may be the time for renters to seriously consider buying a house, according to HouseSavvy, a premier real estate and relocation organization headquartered in Massachusetts.
When the housing bubble burst in 2006, the cost of buying a house was considerably higher than renting that same house in most areas. Today, the opposite is true in many states, particularly those hit hardest in the housing crash—namely Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada and right behind them, Illinois, New York and New Jersey.