Should you buy a home?
The benefits of buying
Your monthly repayments go towards buying your home, not into a landlord's pocket
You fully own your home at the end of the mortgage's term, and can then live rent free
You could make a profit if house prices rise
You can live by your own rules without needing a landlord's permission (e.g. having pets)
You can make changes to the property such as redecorating or landscaping the garden
Renovations and changes you make could increase your home's value
No landlord who could make you move house because they want to sell
Buying can sometimes be cheaper than renting
The drawbacks of buying
Upfront costs like mortgage fees and stamp duty can make it pricier than renting
If you get a joint mortgage and separate, it can be complicated to sell the property
Interest rate rises can increase your monthly payments (unless you get a fixed rate)
You have to pay for repairs, including if something urgent goes wrong like a leak
Moving can take a long time because you have to sell your home first
If your finances become tighter, moving to a cheaper property can take a long time
There are financial consequences if you fall behind on repayments, like getting into debt
If you fell too far behind you could face bankruptcy or your home being repossessed
Should you rent a home?
The benefits of renting
It can be easier to move house quickly when you need to
Finding and renting a home is usually quicker than the process of buying
No risk of losing money if the property's price goes down
Your landlord has to pay for repairs and renovations
It is often cheaper and rental payments rarely change, making it easier to budget
You may be able to rent a bigger home in a nicer area than you could afford to buy
The drawbacks of renting
All of your rent payments go to your landlord, not towards owning a home
If you never buy a house you have to pay rent for your whole life, even after you retire
If your landlord decides to sell or get new tenants, you have to move out
Your landlord can set rules and restrict changes you can make to the property
You have to pay a deposit, and the landlord may keep some or all of it
Your landlord could decide to increase your rent
Improving the property could increase its price, but this only benefits the landlord
Which is cheaper?
It is usually cheaper to rent in the short term because:
The rent you pay could be lower than mortgage repayments would cost
The deposit you pay is usually much less than the initial costs of buying a home
However, mortgage repayments can sometimes come to less than paying rent, depending on the property you choose. Buying a home could cost less in the long term.
You can check whether renting or buying a property will come with cheaper monthly payments using this calculator.
You can use this calculator to work out how many years it will take until buying works out cheaper than renting.
How to decide
If you should rent or buy your home depends on your financial and personal circumstances. Ask yourself these questions to help make up your mind:
Do you have enough for a deposit?
You need to save a deposit to get most mortgages, which is the amount you pay towards the purchase yourself.
It is shown as a percentage of the property's value, and you usually need at least 5%. This would come to £10,000 on a home worth £200,000, and you would also need to save enough to cover the other costs of buying a home.
You can get some mortgages that need no deposit, but you usually need a family member to agree to cover any payments you miss.
If you still cannot afford a deposit, here is how to save up for one.
Do you earn enough to afford a mortgage?
You can only buy a house if your income is enough to:
Afford your repayments while still leaving enough money for living expenses and everything else you spend money on
Make lenders agree you will be able to afford the mortgage
How long will you stay in your next home?
If you will only live in an area for a short period of time or you expect your circumstances to change, renting is usually cheaper and more flexible when you need to move house.
This is because the initial costs of buying a home are much higher than the deposit you pay when you start renting a home. These include mortgage fees, stamp duty, valuation fees and your solicitor's charges.
However, if you intend to live in an area or property for a long time, buying a house can work out cheaper.
Will you live alone or with someone else?
If you will live with a partner or someone else, you may be able to afford to borrow more if you buy a house. Here is how to get a joint mortgage and how they work.
You could buy a house with friends instead of renting. Here are the benefits and risks of buying a home with friends.