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Renting Vs. Buying in Austin, TX

Posted by Brad Pauly on Monday, July 7th, 2014 at 3:53pm.

picture of roof of houseWhen relocating to a new home or city, one of the biggest decisions that people have to make is whether they should rent or buy their property. We hear the same question from people searching for a place to live in Austin, Texas. After all, there are some areas of Austin where it recently became cheaper to rent than to buy--but does that mean it’s always better to rent? The answer isn’t always a clear yes or no. However, there are several elements to keep in mind as you make your decision to pursue either renting or buying in Austin.

How long do you plan to live there?

This is perhaps the most important consideration when deciding whether to rent or buy. Is this a neighborhood you like, or do you see yourself wanting to explore other options over the next few years? If you’re planning to relocate within 3 to 5 years, committing to a mortgage is probably not ideal right now.

If you’re new to the area (or the entire city), you may want to rent for at least a year before deciding to purchase a home. Allow yourself time to develop an informed opinion on the area instead of just jumping in; you don’t want to discover shortly after moving in that you prefer another region of the city.

Obviously, if you’re more established in the Austin area, you will probably have a better idea of whether or not you’d like to stay for the long haul. If you can see yourself living here for a long time, then buying your property is most likely a more practical option.

Do the math: What can you afford?

Would it be more cost-effective for you to rent or buy? Sometimes if you are in the same home for several years, a mortgage can actually even out to be less expensive than renting. There’s always the possibility that rent prices will continue to rise, but if you pursue a fixed-rate mortgage you may have more stability in your monthly budget.

But don’t just look at mortgage prices vs. rent prices. As a homeowner, you need to factor in additional expenses for things like maintenance, taxes, and insurance. Renters can usually defer any repairs or additional costs to their landlord or property manager, but homeowners are responsible for those expenditures themselves.

Do you mind being in charge of maintenance and repairs?

As a homeowner, you will be the one putting in the time and energy towards caring for the house. You’ll be the person calling the electrician, raking the leaves, or replacing appliances. People who rent simply put in a work order to their property management or maintenance crew.

That being said, many homeowners are happy to do this work themselves. Apart from the pride of owning their living space, they prefer being able to address repairs on their own rather than depending on someone else’s schedule to have it fixed. Additionally, owning your property removes the pressure to keep everything exactly the same as the day you moved in. You don’t have to worry about the scuff marks on the floor coming out of your security deposit. You’re also free to remodel or renovate whenever you see fit. If you want to paint the walls a different color or install granite countertops, that’s completely up to you!

Although home and apartment prices in Austin have increased slightly over the past several years due to the city’s growth, prices are still much more affordable than many other metropolitan areas of the U.S. like San Francisco, New York, or Chicago. If you’re wondering whether it would be better for you to buy or rent in Austin, at the end of the day it truly comes down to your individual circumstances and preferences. Your finances, job stability, family size, and housing needs will all determine the most practical option for you. If you want to get some more personalized advice, you are always welcome to contact the Pauly Presley Realty team! We'd love to hear from you.

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