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Buying a Home vs. Renting a Home

Which option makes sense for you?

Are you ready to buy a home? Or should you rent a property? Only you can decide, but being fully informed is the key to making the right choice. Since owning a home is still considered the "American dream", many people simply assume that it's always to their advantage to buy a home.

But it is the right thing for you? As with everything else, whether you rent your home or buy it depends on where you are in your life. So take a few minutes and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I like the city or town where I’m living?
  • Do I think I will move within five years or less?
  • Am I likely to change jobs or careers? If so, could my income go down?
  • Are my family needs likely to change significantly over the next five to seven years?
  • Can I handle the responsibility of a mortgage?
  • Can I handle the repairs and improvements that come with owning a home?

And don’t forget that comparing the cost of renting to the cost of buying is a lot more complicated than just comparing the monthly mortgage payment to the monthly rent payment.

The downside of owning vs. renting:

  • The maintenance costs, including emergency repairs, to keep your home in good condition. Experts recommend you set aside 5 percent of the purchase price to maintenance and repairs when you buy a home.
  • Less control of your money, because you might not be able to sell your house exactly when you want to. Plus you’re legally obligated for the long-term--typically 30 year--to a monthly loan payment.
  • Moving is more difficult and complicated compared to the greater flexibility of a rental lease.
  • There’s no guarantee that your home will be worth more. Fluctuations in the real estate market could decrease its value and make it worth less than you paid for it.

Advantages of owning a home over renting:

  • Your monthly mortgage payments that build equity, increasing your personal wealth. After several years of making payments, you may be able to reinvest your property's growing equity into a larger or better house.
  • Tax advantages, because the interest on your home loan may be deductible.
  • In many cases, a safer, more stable neighborhood.
  • The ability to personalize your home with remodeling and landscaping.

Sign up for a FREE VHDA class on homebuying and learn about the entire homebuying process.

Build a foundation to buy a home.

  • It starts with your credit. Credit is the money you borrow to pay for things like your car, refrigerator or college tuition.
  • Your credit score plays a major role in determining how much money you can borrow and the type of loan offered to you.
  • A good credit score means you have kept your promises and made your payments on time.
  • Get a FREE copy of your credit report by logging on to:
  • Open a bank account to save for your purchase.
  • Use credit carefully - just enough to show you pay your bills on time.
  • Be responsible for your debt, not the debts of others. When you co-sign a loan for a family member or anyone else, you are equally liable for any money owed.

When you are ready, buy smart.

  • Let a real estate professional help you when you decide on a specific house. And remember, it's the seller, not the buyer, who pays the real estate agent.
  • Work with a licensed, professional mortgage lender. Don't sign anything without professional guidance.
  • Be patient and postpone buying a car, major appliance or other large purchase until all the paperwork is signed and approved on your mortgage loan.

Protect your home investment.

  • Save for house repairs and maintenance.
  • Resist opening a lot of credit card accounts.

Contact Us

Homebuyer Department

Toll Free: 800-227-8432
Local: 804-783-6725
Note: In order to protect your privacy, please do not send confidential personal information or sensitive materials through this form. Virginia Housing is not responsible for the security and/or confidentiality of personal information submitted via this form.

Customer Service

Toll Free: 877-VHDA-123
Local: 804-782-1986


Virginia Relay

In Virginia: 711
Toll Free: 800-828-1140


Virginia Housing Fraud, Waste or Abuse Hotline

Phone: 804-915-3146
Website: Reporting Fraud, Waste or Abuse