Rent or buy: Which is best for you?

By Rachel Cruze

For most people, buying a home is the largest financial decision they will ever make. Whether you pay with cash or take out a mortgage, you’ll probably spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on your living situation over the course of your lifetime.

When it comes to buying a home, the key is knowing when it’s the right time to buy one. Sometimes, you’ll be better off renting for a few years to prepare yourself for the financial reality of a mortgage.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at when it might make more sense to rent.

When you’re fresh out of college

It’s simply not smart to buy a house when you’re just out of school. You have too many unknowns to think about — like where you’ll work, whether you’re in a relationship, and if you really have enough money for a mortgage in the first place. You have so many transitions and life changes after graduation, and the last thing you need is being tied down to a house.

When you’re moving to a new city

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of people who move to a new city and buy a house right away, only to realize later that they would rather live in another part of town. By renting for a year after you move, you can learn about all the different areas of town, and decide which one best fits your needs and budget.

When you’re a newlywed

I always recommend waiting a minimum of one year after you’re married to buy a house. Just like the situations above, newlyweds have so many transitions early on. Job and income situations may change from year to year, so taking on a mortgage probably isn’t a smart idea.

Now, are there exceptions to these situations? Of course! If you’re an older newlywed who has owned a house for a while, then it makes perfect sense for your spouse to move in after you’re married. If you’re already familiar with the town you are moving to, and if you’ve already saved a down payment, there’s nothing wrong with buying a house after your move.

There are always exceptions. The key is to make smart long-term decisions with your hard-earned money. And when you know you’re both emotionally and financially ready to buy a home, it’s important to work with a real estate agent that you can trust. They’ll help you find the best home for you and your budget.

Don’t buy into the perception that renting is a bad idea. You’re not wasting money you could use on a mortgage. Instead, you’re showing patience, discipline, and wise stewardship of your income. Remember, your goal is not just to buy a house — it’s also to make a good investment.

You should never buy a house simply because you can. If you jump into a mortgage before you’re ready, it could be a major financial mistake that might set you back for years!