Renting vs. Owning

Many persons will agree that having your own space gives you a sense of independence like no other. Whether one wants to move out of mommy and daddy’s house or get rid of pesky roommates, living on your own can give you the peace of mind of being able to do whatever you’d like without having to worry about a co-habitant’s opinions or concerns.

But out of the two options of renting or owning a home, one has to know which situation is right for them. And this depends on a number of factors.

While buying or owning a home will count towards having a tangible and powerful asset, some will find renting to be a suitable temporary solution.

Lorraine Levy Finlason, director of real estate company Valerie Levy and Associates, said that most of her clients opt to buy properties, but only if they can afford to do so. She explained, “It’s better to buy if you can. Owning is always good, but do not overextend yourself because it could be a negative if you can’t manage to pay the mortgage.”

The director of the nearly 40-year-old company that rents and sells properties islandwide went on to say, “You’re not saving when you’re renting, but sometimes if you get a low rental it might just make sense to stay.”

Renting may be ideal for many other reasons too. It allows for more flexibility and mobility, especially if one has a short-term job or if their job requires them to travel frequently and for long periods. For those situations, it may not be wise to commit to a mortgage.

On the other hand, Kariene Whittley, sales officer at Housing Agency of Jamaica, thinks that one should look into taking out a mortgage if one has assessed their living situation and decided that they need a permanent solution.

She explained that the majority of the agency’s clients who are interested in buying their first home will often complain that they are tired of paying rent and are frustrated with the increasing rent prices. She said, “I don’t think it is better to rent, because if you can afford to pay a rent of $30,000 or $35,000, why not just pay a mortgage of even $40,000?”

Whittley also listed fixed mortgages as another benefit of owning since the payments will remain the same until it is paid off. She said, “Rent can increase at any time and by any amount, so it isn’t even a stable situation for most persons.”

In any instance, both Finlason and Whittley gave similar advice for first-time homeseekers. They said that one needs to check their affordability before even starting the search and then shop around for the best mortgage option. Finlason went further to stress that one also needs to discuss with their bank manager and mortgage finance representative all the closing costs and application/processing fees to avoid unforeseen expenses.

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