Ask the Readers: Do You Rent or Own Your Home?

By Ashley Jacobs on 31 July 2012 (Updated 7 August 2012) 172 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Amanda, Peg, and Raina for winning this week's contest!

There is always a debate on whether or not it is better to rent or own your home. Home ownership gives you the freedom to decorate as you please and gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you have a home but the negatives of property taxes and having to take care of your own maintenance can be a bummer. Renting means you have a landlord to take care of maintenance issues but it doesn't give you the same freedoms to decorate and make the place your own as owning a home does.

Do you rent or own your home? If you rent, what are the pros and cons of renting? If you own, what are the pros and cons of owning your own home?

Tell us if you rent or own your home and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, August 6th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 6th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Gabe Rodriguez

I rent. Event though I tried to get my girlfriend to rent an appartment, we ended up renting a house; which I suppose is ok, its a place to sleep but I think it is better to rent for these reasons:

-If somthing breaks, the landlord fixes it. I don't know about you but I don't have $500.00 sitting in my bank (though I should) for a new water heater.

-Landlord pays property tax.

-Most appartments come painted white. Which is fine in that it will save you from buying paint, but also it acts like a blank canvis to decorate how you want!

-With an appartment there is no grass to cut! Especially in the scorching heat of the summer cutting grass is one of my least favorite chores.

-Almost all apartments have either central or an air conditioner. Currently, the house we are renting doesn't have central installed, so we have an AC in the living room and the bead room.

Guest's picture
Shari Scott

Own (with the bank)

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Margaret

I RENT MY HOME... Looking to purchase in the near future.

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Lisa Cole

We rent & I love it! We pay $800/mo., way cheaper than most mortgage payments. It's only gone up once in the 5 years we've lived here. We have a nice 3 bedroom colonial in an equally nice neighborhood. If we have any problems with the house, we call up our maintenance man & he takes care of it.

Guest's picture

Neither, I live with my parents at the moment! Times are hard!

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Liked you on FB!

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Becca

We own.
Reasons we got out of renting?
-Tired of putting money in someone else's pocket
-Tired of sharing a wall with obnoxious neighbors and all of their problems
-Tired of not being able to decorate the way that we wanted
-Couldn't have a pet
Reasons we love owning?
-Building equity and tax advantages
-Having a yard or at least an easement between us and the neighbor
-Being able to decorate and do what you want to the inside and outside of your place
-The ability to have a furry friend

Sure, you are responsible for your own maintenance. But for us, the advantages far outweighed the risks.

Guest's picture
lori

we live in an affordable city in central canada. We bought out home almost 18 years ago and the mortgage was a 15 year one, so it's been paid off for a couple of years. Even though I would like to move to a better house someday, I am glad to have the security of this home, it's fine--not a new home, not a fancy show home. We have three kids, now young adults and it's been a good home to raise the kids in... so we aren't going anywhere. I don't think my husband would ever want to start paying a mortgage again, so we will make do with our accomplishment of our paid for home.

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DeeDee

We own our home, I wish property taxes were not so high.

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Pamela

I own my condo. Well, technically the bank owns it until it's paid off but you know what I mean. :)

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Julie

We own our home.

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I own my home on a family compound.

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kristina

We own and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We can grow anything we want and landscape the way we want and have animals.

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Christie

We own our home, and it is just great for us. I am so thankful that the value was high when we built it, so that now as the value has gone down, we are not underwater on our mortgage. We may have lost value on paper, but it is priceless to us. Watching our children grow up here has been such a blessing.

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Christie

Commented and liked on Facebook as well! :)

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Dayla

After 5 years of renting, my husband and I just bought our first home. Rent was getting to the point that if we moved to a 2 bedroom apt. (we are expecting our first child), we would basically be paying the same amount we would for a mortgage. it just made sense to us to have something that is ours and that we can build some equity on...someday! as far as mantaince goes, even though we have a single family, stand alone home, we belong to an HOA and won't have to take care of the grass, lawn, or snow...a big deal in WI.

ps-it took 5 years for us to come up with a good downpayment....with rising rent prices, we knew it would only get harder to save.

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Nicholas

I currently rent a condo but would love to own. The only benefit of renting for me is that you don't have to worry about the major maintenance/upkeep costs. The one thing I absolutely hate about renting is that you can pretty much touch your neighbors without leaving your own place.

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Nicholas

I have wisebread liked on facebook.

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Micilyn

I rent.......having been a homeowner and landlord, I find that the pros of home ownership depend on your age, family size, and financial situation. At this time in my life, renting has more benefits than ownership. I do not worry about costs or regular and unexpected maintenance, nor do I need to worry about investing into a long term financial obligation with little market return forecasted in the future. The costs of ownership during this decade will bring little to no benefit due to market fluctuations, costs of materials to maintain and improve property, minimum tax benefit, and current personal downsizing of time and financial obligations. BUT, it is the time to watch for changes that could create a bonus for future ownership and benefits for future retirement. Everyone has a different situation, and I personally decide by evaluating the pros and cons on a annual basis.

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Toffeemama

We own our home. It was a foreclosure, and needed a LOT of work, but after four years, at least all the rooms are useable! We definitely couldn't go into it looking to have something "nice", but someday when we're ready to get a home that we actually like, at least we'll definitely make money on this home.

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Toffeemama

By the way, I also "liked" the article on facebook.

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Happy Love

We own. We consider owning the home outright to be one leg of our future retirement platform (we should have it payed off in about 20 years), and we're thrilled that we can do whatever we want to this old house.

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Susan D.

I rent. It's cheaper and less stressful for me to do so, .

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Sarah

I own my home.
Some pros are:
-that it feels like an investment, rather than money you will never get back.
-I can have any pets I want and decorate how I see fit and answer only to myself when I inevitably ruin a carpet with spilled whatever.
-I just don't like having a landlord. I feel like they are watching me and judging how I keep house or whatever.
-certainly more private compared to renting an apartment. (renting a house is same)

Cons:
-I have to pay for every darn thing that breaks! Or figure out how to fix it myself. Ugh!
-It's a heck of a lot harder if you decide you want to leave when you own a place.
-i often miss apartment life where you don't have to groom the lawn.
- Seriously! The paying for things that breaks, should be on here twice! The roof, siding, plumbing, carpets. Bah!

Guest's picture
Wardo

Rent! City living at a cheap price until I finish graduate school...

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Kyle

As of right now I just moved into a rental but costs are flying upwards really fast here in the Northwest.....if you can get approved for a home loan it might make sense to start looking, but my girlfriend is a Realtor and says that inventory is really low right now so it really is hard to find something you want.

Guest's picture
Green

I do both. My rental income from the old city subsidizes the rent in the new city that I had to relocate to for work.

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Andy

We currently rent. We do so for many reasons :
- We have a huge amount of student loans and don't want to add on any expenses
- We do not have a huge amount in savings for a down payment and in case a major house improvement is needed
- We are unsure about our location and if we will move within the next few years
- Enjoy not having to do yardwork.

We don't like :
- noisy upstairs neighbors
- being able to do whatever we want to for painting or fixing stuff up

We enjoy our situation and would not change it currently.

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Katrina

I'm a renter dreaming of being an owner...mainly because in the current rental market I know people that own that are paying a lower mortgage than I am in rent!

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Guest

We own - 2 homes right now.

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Patrick

We own. The added stability, contributions to net worth, tax deductions and option to ramp up payments to decrease total interest paid over the life of the mortgage are all benefits of ownership. Home maintenance is a chore, but there are managed communities if it becomes too much of a burden.

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Jesort415

I rent and it suits us for now! We pay in rent what our neighbors pay in just property taxes. Our landlord is great and lets us paint and change fixtures. When he was checking out the place to buy it, him and his realtor said they loved our unit the best. We treat the place likes ours and our LL appreciates that so much he has yet to raise our rent in 2 years. We do wanna buy but we don't feel mature enough right now for the responsibility.

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Lynda

rent. we don't have to worry about a lot of the utilities but we are not free to do with the house as we please.

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Lynda

i like wisebread on facebook

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Selene M.

We own our home. Benefits are tax deduction, and having our house as our own.

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Selene M.

I like you on Facebook as Selene Montgomery

Guest's picture

We just moved into a house, which we currently rent, but we're hoping to to set up a rent-to-own contract soon. :)

A pro of renting, are that we don't have to worry if something goes wrong with the home -- we know our landlord is honorable, and will fix it. A pro of owning, will be the satisfaction of having something on your own. :)

Guest's picture
Mel

I own. My theory on home ownership is it has be like having a kid: the reasons you want to should be completely irrational. There is no guarantee on a "return on investment." I own because I wanted to become a part of the community. I felt at home in this neighborhood. I like to decorate and remodel and I have a lot of pets. People I know say they want to buy a house so they don't "throw money away on rent." Instead you get to throw money away on interest, maintenance, and unexpected catastrophes. I wouldn't go back to renting because I prefer to be able to knock down a wall or repaint the living room at my leisure, or to take in another pet without having to call someone for permission. I have watched my urban neighborhood stabilizing and I would like to believe I was part of that positive change.

Guest's picture
Elena

We own our home (or not really own yet, but paying the mortgage)
Pros: we can fix it and decorate the way we like
we can have as many pets as we like
we have some equity in this house and can sell it if we choose to

Cons: insurance payments and taxes are high

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Elena

I like you on facebook

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steph

we rent but plan to buy soon!

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steph

i like on facebook

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Lisa Under the Redwoods

We oWn and as much as I dislike the continuing maintenance that we have to put into the place I am glad we do. A 70 year old friend rents and recently had to move out of her long time rental because they were gutting her apartment. She is settled now but it was a horrible time for her.

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Guest

We have owned our home for 35 years. In our little city it's the smartest thing to do.

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Tali

We own our home. We upgrade to a slightly larger house in 09 and could comfortably afford a 20% down payment. We currently have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction at tax time. Although our mortgage is very affordable, our property taxes are very high because we don't live near a metropolitan area. Our home is about 20 years old, which means more and more maintenance and repair expenses.

We hate the idea of have such a long term debt so e refinanced in 2010 to take advantage of the low rates and pay an extra payment per year to save on time and money on the loan.

We are currently debating refinancing to a 20 year which would save us almost $100,000 in interest over the term of the loan.

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Joanna

I rent an apartment. I've tried to buy a home before the market tanked, but couldn't find anything that I could afford and that I liked. Thank goodness because I lost my job over three years ago and have been unemployed and underemployed since then. I'm sure I would have lost whatever house I bought.

Pro: Someone else does the maintenance.
Con: I'm waiting for my A/C to be fixed for the 4th time this year. Not good when it's 109 degrees and there's no cool air blowing.

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renee

we love owning our home - I hated renting because I felt like I was throwing money away every month, although I didn't have any other option at that point.

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renee

I like you on facebook!

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Kandace

We own. It's nice because we're totally in control, but it's stressful at times because we're fully responsible. Something breaks? We have to pay for it and fix it or hire someone who can. Regular maintenance- $. Repairs - $. It's always something.

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Kandace

like on facebook- Kandace On-fb

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cwaltz

own.....completely. We bought a small place and are mortgage free

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Raina

I like WiseBread on Facebook.

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Raina

I currently rent an apartment. I plan to buy a house when I have enough cash saved to forgo a mortgage.

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Maritza

We own.

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Lauren

We rent, but my parents own the property, so we have a lot of the decorating benefits and pet benefits of owning, but none of the hassles! We do want to buy eventually, but we just can't afford it right now.

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Pesha

I own a 3-bedroom house that is 84 years old. The only room I don't use very much is my guest room. I do fabric dyeing and have a dye shop set up in the basement.
I am involved in a cohousing group. We are looking at building new and sustainable. It's very exciting and I feel it would offer the best of home ownership and alleviate some of the down sides. Living in an intentional community definitely appeals to me. It won't be heaven - we are making decisions through modified consensus so meetings (which are many) are lively. The great thing about cohousing is that you have wonderful common space to interact with your neighbors AND when you want privacy, you simply close your door and enjoy your own place.

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Jennifer B

I rent, but am saving up for a down payment. Renting is good right now, because I plan to move to a new state within the next year.

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Marcia C.

I own my home but it really "owns me".

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Kathleen S.

We own. (Which really means we have a mortgage.) I'd only rent if I thought we wouldn't stay in one place for very long. We rented our fair share of places in graduate school and immediately after.

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Jennifer

we own our home, and it was the second best decision we made...second only to marrying each other.

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SK

I own but wish I rented.

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katsbynp

Own my home. The pros are I am able to change decor and paint. I am able to get things done on my timetable and not wait for landlords as I once had to wait 6 months to get my airconditioning fixed. There is also tax deductions for owning.

Cons are of course when things break it comes out of your pocket but overall I am happy to own.

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Martin

Rent - sadly. If it was possible to get the loan, I would own and stop paying for someone else's mortgage.

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Alissa A

After many years of renting, I am now an owner!

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Gay France

I will own my home in about 15 years. Refinanced last year for 20 years and I'm diligently making additional payments to have it paid off sooner

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Whiskers

Neither, due to my critical health issues 10 years ago and inability to work anymore, we lost our house and everything we owned and had to move in my moms 2 bedroom home so she could look after me while my wife worked. Now that I am some better, not well though, my wife still works and I have to look after my elderly mom. So she took care of me for those early years of my illness and I can return the favor now.