Wed, 27 Mar 2013 13:50:33 GMT — The decision to buy or rent a car is pretty easy - if you're going to use a car daily, it's way cheaper to buy.But when it comes to houses, the question's more complicated.Renting means less upfront money, less maintenance, and more flexibility: you can leave when you want.But buying means owning something - one day you'll own it outright - no payments. In the meantime, you might be able to deduct the interest and property taxes. And it's yours: fix it up the way you want it.Most important deciding factor? Time. If you're not staying put for at least 5 years, don't buy: the commission you'll pay to an agent when you sell could make it a money-loser. And what about your free time? Owners spend more of it on their homes than renters do.Next factor: Money. Compare monthly rents with monthly payments. But don't forget taxes, insurance and maintenance: owning will almost always cost more. Will you get enough appreciation to offset the additional cost?There are calculators that might help, but they require you to input things you can't know: like how much appreciation you'll get, or how much rents will go up.Final factor? The subjective: pride of ownership, independence and the ability to call your own shots. More important to some people than others.
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