In today’s market, renting an apartment or house can be a wise decision in certain circumstances, but typically is not a good long term solution. See Renting vs. Buying: Part 1-Which Is Better? to help determine which may be the better option for you.
Benefits of Renting
- Maintenance is included in the cost of rent. If the stove stops working, you are not responsible for fixing the stove or for purchasing a new one.
- Yard Work is included in the cost of rent. While this is also the case in many condos and townhomes with HOA dues, it is generally not the case with houses.
- Amenities are often abundant in apartment complexes. Gyms, pools, meeting rooms, coffee bars, etc. are usually included in the cost of rent. While some neighborhood communities may also have these, they tend to come at a price.
- Utility Bills tend to be lower in apartments due to the smaller size of each unit.
- Moving is quick and easy. No need to put a home on the market and wait for it to sell. A 30-60 day notice is all that is usually required in order to vacate the property and move elsewhere.
- No Down Payment is required when renting. Though a security deposit, pet deposit, and one or two month’s rent may be required upfront, this cost is usually significantly less than a down payment.
Disadvantages of Renting
- Noise may be an issue in apartment complexes because you often have neighbors on either side of you, above you, and below you.
- Rent Increases often occur annually. Short term leases and month to month leases are generally considerably more expensive than a one year lease. Want to stay for three months after your lease expires? That could be billed at the much higher monthly rate.
- Parking may be a daily struggle. With so many people living in such a small area, a convenient parking spot may be hard to find.
- Rules about what colors you can paint (if any), how you can mount a TV, how you can hang drapes, which pets you can keep (often for a fee), where you can park, when you can pick up packages from the office, etc.
- Equity is not built via rent payments. In other words, at the end of the day, your payments are not helping you own anything that can be sold later.
- Landlords can be hit or miss. An apartment complex or management company can be researched, whereas many individual landlords cannot. They may live out of state, may have hundreds of properties they manage, or may be easy and responsive. It’s hard to know ahead of time.
There are also advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a home. See Renting vs. Buying: Part 3 – Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying