The choice between buying a home and renting one is among the biggest financial decisions that many adults make. But the costs of buying are more varied and complicated than for renting, making it hard to tell which is a better deal. To help you answer this question, the New York Times has put together a Rent v. Buy Calculator that takes the most important costs associated with buying a house and computes the equivalent monthly rent. It’s one of the best tools I’ve ever seen for these types of calculations. Some of the factors include:
- Price of home.
- How long do you anticipate staying in the property.
- Mortgage details like interest rate and length of mortgage.
- Closing costs.
- Home maintenance and upkeep.
The calculator keeps a running tally of the most common expenses of owning and renting. It also takes into account something known as opportunity cost — for example, the return you could have earned by investing your money instead of spending it on a down payment. The calculator assumes that the profit you would have made in your investments would be taxed as long-term capital gains and adjusts the bottom line accordingly. The calculator tabulates opportunity costs for all parts of the buying and renting situations. All figures are in current dollars.
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