Renting an Apartment Versus Buying a Condo

If you are looking for a new place to live, the thought may have crossed your mind to explore options in area condominiums and apartments. Condo living, even in a high-rise community, offers residents a number of advantages one doesn’t necessarily associate with home ownership. If you have considered renting as opposed to buying, however, your options may either expand or become limited. Friends and family might wonder, too, why you would consider paying so much in rent when the money could be used toward paying off a mortgage and eventually owning a home. Is it better to rent than buy?

Unfortunately, there really isn’t a cut and dry answer to the question. Some economists have suggested that renting may be more beneficial in a down economy, while buying a condo helps you achieve equity and represents an investment for the future. If you are still on the fence about what to do for your next residence, here are a few points to consider:

1) Buying a condo may give you more leverage. If you are renting in a complex, whether apartments or condominiums, you might be allowed to attend resident meetings, but you may not necessarily have a right to vote on certain things. Those rights would belong to your landlord.

2) Renting may prevent you from making physical changes to your living space. As a condo owner, you may be held to a covenant that prohibits you from making specific cosmetic changes to your home (usually on the outside), but you can still paint your walls and hammer in a nail if you want to. As a renter, however, you may not even get to do that. You will be held to the wishes of your landlord.

3) Buying a condo can give you more opportunities. If you do know you’re going to move at least once more, you may be more inclined to rent for now so there’s little fuss. However, buying for short term isn’t always a bad idea, especially if there is the potential for turning your property into an income generator. Depending upon the rules of your community, you can rent out your condo and use the money to help pay fees and mortgage.

Whatever you decide, you may want to consult with a mortgage lender to see if you are able to afford a condo or home in your desired location. Even if you do choose to rent instead of buy, you will have a better understanding of your options.

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