Renting vs. Buying a House in Tampa Bay

Deciding whether buying a house in Tampa Bay or renting is right for you can be a tough decision. It’s also a decision that shouldn’t be made on a purely financial basis either, though that’s certainly an important part of it. Buying a house can be a good investment, but whether that’s true or not varies from market to market. In some places, then, renting may be the better option. Each choice has its own individual pros and cons. So here are some things to consider when choosing between renting or buying a house in Tampa Bay.

Recurring Costs of Buying a House

Obviously, buying a house in {market_city] has a lot more upfront costs than renting, so let’s examine them from the point of view of recurring costs. Those for buying a house include:

MORTGAGE PAYMENTS

These – principal plus interest – you’ll have to pay for the next 15 or 30 years. And the amount of the payment over the life of the loan depends on whether you have a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate mortgage.

PROPERTY TAXES

An annual expense, your property taxes serve to fund schools, infrastructure, and other necessary services. The problem is that they’ll go up every time the county assessor decides your property is worth more money.

INSURANCE

If you have a mortgage, you must carry homeowner’s insurance to protect your lender. In 2014, the average annual cost for homeowner’s insurance was $1,132.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI)

If you were unable to pay 20% down, then you’ll have to pay for PMI, again to protect your lender. Average monthly payments run around $50 to $200.

MAINTENANCE

Homes require a lot of upkeep and maintenance, and on average your annual maintenance expense will be about 1% of your home’s total value.

Recurring Costs of Renting

The recurring costs of renting are usually less than those for buying a house in Tampa Bay. They include:

MONTHLY RENT

This is a given, but monthly rents can vary widely from area to area depending on a host of factors.

PET RENT

For many rental properties, you’ll have to pay monthly pet rent if you want to have pets. Typically, it runs about $10 to $40 a month depending on the kind of pet and the base rent.

RENTER’S INSURANCE

This isn’t a requirement, but it’s a good idea if you have anything of any value. And besides, it costs only about $15 per month.

LAUNDRY

If you rent an apartment, you’ll have to pay to do laundry, either using coin-operated machines or by way of a monthly laundry fee.

Pros of Buying a House

With those financial considerations out of the way, it’s time to consider the pros of buying a house in [market city], including:

EQUITY

Over time as you make your monthly mortgage payments, you will pay more and more on the principal, the actual amount of money borrowed. This is much like a savings account in that you can borrow against it if you need to when you reach a certain amount.

TAX BENEFITS

Owning your home affords several tax benefits and deductions, including homestead exemption and deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes.

POTENTIAL FOR RENTAL INCOME

Every home is an investment property because you can always rent out part or all of it. It can, then, become a source of income while you’rebuilding equity.

CREATIVE FREEDOM

As the owner of your home, you have the freedom to decorate it or change it in almost any way you want.

Pros of Renting

Renting has certain significant pros as well, and these include:

NO MAINTENANCE/REPAIRS

When you rent, the landlord is responsible for all maintenance and repairs, and you don’t have to invest any effort or money in these.

RELOCATING EASE

Since you’re not tied to a mortgage, only a lease, renting makes it much easier to move. And you can usually break a lease by paying an extra fee or by subletting your apartment.

SAFETY FROM MARKET WHIMS

As a renter, you don’t have to worry about fluctuations in the real estate market, about whether the property is appreciating or depreciating.

LESS STRINGENT CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

You can usually rent with less-than-stellar credit even when you might not be able to get a mortgage to buy a house with that same credit.

So, renting or buying a house in Tampa Bay, which one is right for you? Maybe you should talk to the real estate professionals before you decide because a lot more remains to be considered.

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