The big question:
Should I rent or own? What makes the most sense at this point in my life? These are all very frequently asked questions. First, my advice to you if you are considering jumping into the biggest expense of your life. Buy within your means. Stay within your budget and homeownership will be the best choice you have ever made. Next, some pro's and cons of renting vs. owning.
Low commitment. Most rental leases are year-to-year and sometimes even month-to-month. If you find you don't like the area you are living in, moving out is just around the corner.
Maintenance Convenience. When something breaks or is not working properly at your apartment you just call your landlord and they send someone out (hopefully in a timely manner) to fix the problem. Also at the landlords expense.
No sense of home. You don't get a sense that your apartment is really ever yours. You always feel like a guest paying to stay there for another month or year.
No Tax Benefit: When renting a home you don't receive any tax benefits. When owning a home your mortgage is tax deductible at the end of the year.
Home: The word home means something. It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You just don't get the feeling of warm and fuzzy when you say apartment, do you? What does home mean? Home means privacy, ownership, and freedom to do whatever you want.
Building Equity: When owning a home you feel like you are not just waisting your money every month or spinning your wheels in a sense. You are paying down your own mortgage not your landlords!!!
Tax Breaks: You can deduct your mortgage at the end of year.
Home Maintenance: Owning a home is expensive. The days of calling your landlord for a problem are over. If you have a problem you not only have to fix it but you also have to pay for it. This can get fist time homeowners in a real financial bind if unprepared.
Moving: If you find the home you bought was not the home of your dreams, moving can be a bit more difficult vs. renting an apartment. You can either put your home For Sale By Owner and hope for the best or pay a realtor to do the work for you.
Again, your comments and questions are always welcome.