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Should you buy or rent a home?

As with many major decisions, whether to rent or buy your home is not a question with a simple answer. Cost is only one of the considerations that will shape your decision. It depends on where you live and how long you plan to live there. You may decide to rent while working to boost your credit score or saving money for a down payment.

There are reasons to rent and reasons to buy, each as unique as your situation. If you are in the process of weighing the pros and cons of renting or buying a home, these benefits may help you decide.

Benefits of renting

  • Mobility – Renters can move when and where they want – once the lease is up.
  • Credit rating – On-time rental payments will help you establish a solid credit history and qualify for a mortgage.
  • Unpredictable employment – If you are considering a job change or are unsure about income in the short term, renting provides more flexibility.
  • No maintenance – If a pipe leaks or a window needs replacing, the landlord is responsible
  • Utilities – Some rental properties will pay for water, sewer, garbage and other utilities.
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Benefits of renting

  • Flexibility – No landlord means no approval necessary on upgrades, new paint, you name it.
  • Appreciation – Home values do fluctuate, but on average the value of homes in the U.S. has increased every year for more than 70 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Stable payment – If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, you know your house payment will remain steady for up to 30 years.
  • Tax advantages – In most circumstances, homeowners can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes at tax time. And when you sell, profits up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples) are tax-free.
  • Satisfaction – There's a reason homeownership is symbolic of achieving the American dream. An accomplishment worth striving for is the feeling that comes with truly being "home."