Renting Vs Buying: Flying The Nest

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Collaborative Post | Well, I am officially one week away from turning 26, and I need to start looking seriously at my living conditions. I love my family, but I’m weighing up renting vs buying, and the idea of my own place is appealing. But where do we even begin to look? Like how do you know where to start?

I’ve talked throughout the years about my dream home. We’ve discussed ways and means of making your house your own through decorating. But one aspect of “adulting” we’re never really taught is how to purchase your own home. And what if you’re like me, looking at living alone and not sure if you’re better off renting instead of buying? So many questions, and I really wasn’t sure where to begin.

The life of a so-called adult. That’s my tagline. So this so-called adult is taking you on a journey today as she weighs up renting vs buying! Buckle up, and come on a journey of discovery with me, as we look at renting versus buying in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. I know you might find it a bit odd, especially if you live in another part of the UK, but stick with me. I mean, it can’t be all that different, can it?

Woman in red shirt holding out a key above a house. It is unclear from the image whether the recipient is renting vs buying the property.

Renting Vs Buying Your Own Home

Many of us, throughout the pandemic, have been extremely grateful to have been able to live with parents or family. But I’m sure we all had times when we just needed our own space. As I’ve said numerous times, I love my parents. I’ve been extremely grateful to be living with them when I returned from living in Scotland. But that week they were in Edinburgh and I got to float around the house on my own? Bliss. No other word could describe it. Helped, of course, by the fact I had meals out and the comforts that Mum and Dad have in the house. But as I say, it made me start to consider moving out (again). Which of course leads to the age old question of renting vs buying. Paying rent monthly, or paying your mortgage repayments, and all the other things to wrap your head around.

Hands holding a tablet reading Rent and Buy, with Buy circled in red.

Why I’m Considering Renting

Renting a house in Lisburn (where I’m based for work, family and social life) isn’t the cheapest. As always, you need to look at private rentals or renting through a letting agent. Thankfully, I have experience of both, and neither was a negative experience.

Red button on keyboard reading Rent, surrounded by $100 bills

Maintenance and Repairs

The main benefit of renting over buying your own home is being completely free of the responsibilities when it comes to repairs and maintenance. Our bathroom door lock broke in our 2nd/3rd year flat in Glasgow, and the landlord was there within 48 hours to fix it for us. It was so much easier than one of us having to go out and do it ourselves!

Plumber in kitchen for renting vs buying - maintenance pros and cons

Relocating

Need to move to a bigger place, or your circumstances have changed and you need to move quickly? Relocating is so much easier when you’re renting. Give your notice and you can be out without too much hassle. Like when I moved out of the flat I lived in on my own before returning to Northern Ireland. I quit my job in a bank (horrible working experience), and moved home 10 days before Christmas. I let the letting agency know I had found a new job in another city, and within a 5 minute conversation we had arranged me moving out and handing back the keys. No waiting for sales to finalise or any of the hassle associated with relocating from your own home. Renting means you can move without penalty each time your contract ends. However, it also means you could have to move suddenly if your landlord decides to sell the property.

It’s Currently Cheaper to Rent!

According to a recent report, renters are approximately £71 a month better off than first-time buyers. This means that for the first time in nearly seven years, renters are paying less each month than first-time buyers. Leaving you with an average of £71 more in your bank to spend on food, drink, travel, books, whatever you fancy! Before the pandemic, a buyer with a 10% deposit would have saved £123 each month, but the swing means renters are now £251 better off.

couple sitting cuddling on floor of property. Unclear whether implication of renting vs buying

Why I’m Considering Buying

Okay, yes you need a deposit for buying a house. Plus the money to pay for all those pesky fees they like to hide from us. But there are a lot of benefits to buying your own home instead of renting.

Building Equity

Buying and owning your own home, you’ll have a chance to build equity. The longer you own your home, the more equity you have, and the more money you’re likely to make when you sell it. Equity can also allow you to borrow money for big expenses and build wealth that benefits you later in life.

Customising and Decorating The Way You Want

Buying a home means it’s yours. Want a black bedroom and a florescent pink bathroom? Go for it! You can paint it, renovate it, and redesign the space to your liking without having to follow a landlords’ rules. This pride of ownership is a big advantage for those looking to settle down. And to be honest, it’s what would draw me in. I spent a lot of time and money redecorating my bedroom during lockdown, and have plenty of paint leftover for when I eventually move into my own place.

Painting a wooden panelled door pillar-box red.

Stability

You won’t be at the mercy of a landlord who may decide to sell the home once your contract is up (see above). You have the freedom to decide how long you want to stay in the home, and ultimately if or when you want to sell. There’s no rent increasing at the end of each year, and you can safely stay for as many years as you choose.

Renting Vs Buying: My Decision

I think, when I put out the pros and cons of renting vs buying, I have to say I would prefer to buy my own home. I’m done with sharing space with others, and I don’t want to have to pack up at the end of my contract. Plus, not going to lie, the chance to decorate exactly how I want and own a pet really outweigh every other bonus. But how would you even go about being a first-time buyer?

First up, you need to carefully think about if a mortgage is right for you and if you can afford it. And that’s after you’ve saved a deposit of some sort. While 95% mortgages have been making a comeback in recent months, interest rates have always got significantly cheaper if you’ve got at least a 10% deposit.

Buying a house involves other upfront expenses, not just the mortgage repayment. Remember to factor this in when thinking about buying a home.

Notebook reading Renting vs Buying pros and cons

How much can I borrow on a mortgage?

If you feel you are able to commit to a monthly mortgage, then your next step is to find out what amount of mortgage you are able to borrow. Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert has loads of advice for anyone looking to buy a home, regardless of whether or not you’re a first time buyer. Find out how much mortgage you could borrow, and this will help calculate if you can afford a mortgage. Use this calculator to see how much each deal could cost you per month.

Red button on keyboard reading Mortgage, surrounded by $100 bills

If you have a deposit or guarantor, this will also help with your mortgage application. A deposit can come from your savings or a gift from a relative. A guarantor has to agree to cover any mortgage payments you miss, however their home as well as yours will be at risk if you do not keep up repayments. So remember this if you are asking someone to be your guarantor, and remember to check they are in a financial situation to be able to do so. Otherwise it might not just be yourself without a roof over your head.

couple lying on floor of a new property surrounded by moving boxes.

So overall…

Overall, I’m still not personally in a position to buy my own house. And while I can compare renting vs buying my own home, I think it would take winning or finding a large amount of money on the street to be able to do it any time soon. As I said before, I love my parents dearly, and really we can live together fine in the meantime. Using the UK Mortgage Calculator while writing this post helped me see that I need to tighten the belt quite a bit if I really want to buy a home in the Lisburn area! How about you, have you bought your own home recently? Or what are your thoughts on renting vs buying? Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re thinking of purchasing sizable property land for yourself and your family, I have just the post for you to browse first. Alternatively, you may prefer to just redecorate and improve your home.

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