Should I stop renting and buy a home?

Should I stop renting and buy a home?

Buying a home is often seen as a rite of passage – an important step into adulthood and responsibility. But at a time when lack of affordability is barring many wannabe homeowners from making the leap, buying may no longer be the inevitable next step it once was. So apart from the financial side of it, how do you know when it's time to stop renting and start looking for a place to buy?

1. You’re looking for stability. You've been booted out by landlords who want to sell/renovate/move in themselves – or you think that’s something that could happen. When you buy your home, you don’t have to worry about leaving before you want to: it’s yours until you decide you want to sell.

Read more: Rent or buy?

2. You want to invest your money. If you're tired of paying someone else's mortgage and want to invest in something that’ll make you some cash in the long term, ownership can do that. You have to be prepared to stick around for a few years, though. Property values in the GTA have historically increased pretty substantially over time, you just have to be willing to ride out the lows and downturns for 5 to 10 years to see that appreciation happen.

Read more: Condo vs. house – how do I decide?

3. You're planning to stay put for a while. One thing homeownership doesn't give you is a ton of flexibility. If you're ready to live in the same location for a while, it's great. But if you're considering a transfer to Hong Kong or thinking a move to Berlin might be in your near future, buying may not be the right choice for right now.

Read more: How do I figure out if an area is right for me?

person fixing kitchen sink

4. You don't mind doing a little maintenance. When you buy a property, you become the “landlord” who has to fix the sink, replace the floors and pay the furnace repair guy. If you're not handy (or willing to pay someone else to be handy for you), homeownership could be a challenge.

5. You've got a steady income. Apart from having enough saved for a down payment (a definite stumbling block for a lot of people), you'll need to factor in the ongoing costs of owning a home, too, like taxes, repairs, and other expenses renters don’t have to worry about.

Read more: The costs of owning a condo

What if I want to keep renting and never buy a place?

Live your best life as a renter! Nobody is saying that owning a home is something you have to do. Being a lifetime renter isn't a moral failing or an indication of poor financial health: it's a sign of the times, and for people looking for flexibility and simplicity, often a deliberate choice. Just take a look at New York, London and Paris: they’re all cities where being a renter is the norm for all but the very wealthy.

Trying to decide if it's time to buy? Talk to a agent to get some insight into whether owning or renting is the right move for you – they will be happy to help you find the right place, whether it’s a purchase or a rental.

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