Owning a home is a major step, especially if you’re new to Buffalo, New York. Buffalo is fortunate in that many of its rentals offer a wide range of amenities, providing a much more relaxed experience as you get to know the area. If you’re wondering whether it’s best to rent or buy, consider these often overlooked factors before making what could be a hasty decision.
Is This the Right Time to Buy a House?
Buffalo has an incredibly unique culture, with a vibrant tapestry of neighborhoods. Often, even those who have lived here for some time are amazed at how different each part of the city truly is.
We encourage all of our guests, friends, and family alike to take some time to get to know the area and see which part of town suits them best. For new families, in particular, we advise not jumping into home ownership right away because it takes a decent amount of time to thoroughly plan and scout out the right neighborhood, school districts, and business opportunities essential for the perfect move.
Finance rates for prospective homeowners have also been raised, making it a particularly disadvantageous time to buy. Locking in a great rental price with a long-term lease would go a long way in securing a lower cost of living until you are ready for the next major transition.
How Many Years Should You Rent Before Buying Becomes the Smarter Option?
For such a major part of life, it’s impossible to give a perfect, one-size-fits-all answer to the age-old rent vs. buy question. It even seems like there are just as many people who regret being tied down to a mortgage as those wondering if they have been renting for too long. It’s a highly subjective question, but at least some generalities may be useful in deciding what’s right for you.
If you’re comparing costs, remember that renting is much easier to budget and plan for – there are almost no surprises involved. On the other hand, buying comes with so many collateral costs people don’t fully consider that it might make your head spin:
- Property taxes
- Any and all maintenance repairs
- Insurance policies
- Possible HOA fees
- Greater legal liability
- Yard maintenance
This is just a basic list. Many prospective buyers spend far more money than they originally anticipated after moving in due to a lack of foresight or unexpected surprises.
Regarding the timing, the number of years before transitioning from a rental to a home purchase may not be the best standard compared to other factors. For example, if you are investing money wisely, the money saved on homeownership expenses may enable you to invest more, which could easily pay off in the long run. A highly strategic investment strategy while renting could build up a nest egg you wouldn’t otherwise be able to build with a mortgage hanging over you – and by the time you truly are ready to own, that investment could give you the liquidity necessary to make the experience less stressful.
If you are determined to plan for ownership, a general rule of thumb amongst real estate professionals is that a house tends to become the most economical option if you plan on staying in an area for five years or more – and all the more at ten years. Anything under that, and you’re more likely better off renting.
Do I See My Life Changing Dramatically Any Time Soon?
If so, then flexibility becomes key. Those who may have to move for career opportunities will undoubtedly want to maintain the ease of moving that only a rental can provide. Attempting to look for major career changes in other areas will cause them a lot of stress if they decide to purchase a house without being confident and secure in their current job. It becomes closer to impossible than merely difficult.
School or major relationship changes (e.g., taking care of aging parents or chronically ill family, experiencing a death in the family, etc.) are another major disruption to life that will make it much harder to plan for the work necessary to maintain a mortgage. Except for those with a stable salary each year, most buyers tend to initially overestimate the amount of work they’ll be able to commit to week after week, then come to find out that a more realistic estimate leaves them almost unable to save anything at all.
Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different – and no matter what your lifestyle is like, the only way to know for sure if you are better off with a house or an apartment is to crunch the numbers as much as possible beforehand.
The Pros of Leasing
Generally, leasing is more advantageous when you aren’t totally sure what your next big move in life will be – and that’s perfectly okay, especially compared to trying to force a major move when you aren’t ready. More specifically, consider signing a lease, especially if any of the following applies to you at this stage of life:
- Paying off debt. It’s much easier to budget and plan your finances without having home costs over your head, which are prone to fluctuation. Instead, a rental keeps your monthly living expenses low and consistent, allowing you to pay down your debt much more quickly.
- Time to plan. If you’ve undergone a major life change of almost any kind, it’s most likely that renting will help you keep complexity down in your life while you focus your efforts on finding out what you truly want and need. A lease allows you to build resources, plot your course, and then make a better, more major move in the future when you’re ready.
- Job conditions. Several job-related reasons make signing a lease more advantageous. Many non-salaried jobs are considered “at-will” employment, making it harder to count on them for the long haul – and even those with stable jobs which require a large travel commitment may be best off simply renting.
Ready to Find the Perfect Rental For Your Needs in Buffalo, NY? Call Ellicott Development
No matter your situation, renting is just as viable an option as purchasing a home. Even if you don’t have any great reason to rent and whether you can afford a house or not, renting is preferred by many for its great amenities and lower responsibility.
If you’re new to the area or just looking for a move in Buffalo, New York, contact Ellicott Development today. We have numerous locations across the entire city, and we’re sure you’ll find something you love.
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