I recently moved across the country and was faced with the problem of where to live. I had visited the city I was moving to once before, but I didn’t really know the area. Before the cross country drive I had been renting a 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom house with a roommate for about $1200 a month. This was a reasonable price, and looking back, if I would have stayed there longer, I probably should have bought a house there and tried to rent it later.
I believe a large part of my problem was that I wanted to rush into buying a house. There is so much more you have to look at than just the cost of the house and interest on the mortgage. There is also the upkeep on the house as well as HOA or condo fees, PMI (if you put down less than 20%), and major repairs. Initially, I really wasn’t looking at any of that.
Apartments also offer the benefit of additional amenities. If I were buying a place, I would only get the house or if it was a condo maybe a pool and workout facility. At the apartment complex I’m at I have a resort size pool, huge gym, tennis courts, a dog walking area, complimentary WiFi around the complex, and free workout classes. I don’t have to worry about additional fees for normal repairs. If something breaks, it will quickly get fixed by the complex.
I’m also able to pay everything to the apartment directly, including utilities. I have auto-pay so if I’m gone I don’t have to worry and can simply double check the account went through on the second of the month. The only additional “house related” expense I have is internet. Since I live alone, I got the cheapest plan at $40 a month. So far it’s worked great!
I look forward to the day that I can buy my own house, but I’ll need to know the market better and have at least 20% down. To pay PMI every month to me is like throwing money away. I live in a studio apartment, so the money I’m saving in a small space will go towards the down payment I hope to soon have.
Do you rent or did you buy?