Buying vs. Renting in Lethbridge

Posted by James Rea on Monday, February 1st, 2021 at 4:56pm.

Let’s start by getting this out of the way: yes, we do make money from people buying their homes, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to tell you to buy every single time.

Let's start by getting this out of the way: yes, we do make money from people buying homes, but that doesn't mean we're going to tell you to buy every, single time.

In fact, despite the oft-repeated line 'renting is just throwing your money away', buying isn't suited for every family or lifestyle.

So, with that taken care of, let's walk through the reasons you might decide to keep on renting, or start to look for a home of your own.

What does your timeline look like for buying a home

Buying is always about the long game.

Though the housing market consistently trends upwards, growth is slow. It will take a few years for you to recuperate the transaction fees, cost of moving and land title transfers. So, if you're looking at your house as an investment, getting in and out in under a year is not ideal.

House flipping may look fun and profitable on TV, but reality doesn't always line up so seamlessly with the fantasy. Unless you know exactly what you're doing, if you're looking to stay in a place for under two years, we recommend renting over buying.

However, if you're looking to stay in a place for over two years, it's time to look into buying your own home.

The benefits of forced savings

A house is an investment.

While it may not have the returns, it offers a major benefit stocks, bonds and even RRSPs lack – it's a forced investment. Either you pay monthly or you're out on the street.

Some dedicated investors can get a better return by finding an apartment that rents under the average mortgage payment, then consistently dumping those extra savings into high-return investments. However, not everyone has that kind of discipline.

In fact, for plenty of people, all those 'savings' go into lifestyle inflation, like a new car, updated appliances, and eating out at fancier restaurants.

But, by buying a home you're forcing savings, because that mortgage is going to come out of your bank account every month, adding equity to your home and making the growing investment pay off in the long run.

Thinking of buying? The detail you need to know

If you're looking at your home purely as an investment, you need to consider all the variables, including:

  • How much of the down payment you have on hand
  • Interest rates
  • The cost of rent in your area, whether that's Lethbridge, Coaldale, Coalhurst, or other cities in Southern Alberta
  • The cost of maintenance for houses in your price range (older houses often require more maintenance, while newer ones require less)
  • The cost of utilities, for both renting and buying

Ask yourself 'What do I want?'

As much as we like to think we make all decisions rationally, most of our choices are emotional – and that includes purchasing a home.

For many of our clients, the dream is to own a quality home with a private backyard where their families can grow and enjoy their freedom. They want their children (and pets) to have the freedom to run around without worrying about other renters. In short, they want a space of their own.

This freedom is something they're willing to spend their money on. So, if it's going to cost them a little more, that's ok. And, if it nets them more in the long term, that's all gravy.

However, we understand some people prefer to maintain the ability to get up and go with just a few month's notice to their landlord. For them, that's worth paying for.

So, in the final calculation, you have to ask yourself, 'what do I want from my life?' After that, do the calculations, see if it makes sense, and, when in doubt, seek out advice from a trustworthy professional.

The Bearded Realtor approach to finding you the perfect home

Buying can be overwhelming, as you can see above. It often pays to seek advice from someone in the industry – like us! We're a dedicated team of professionals working hard to find you the home of your dreams.

Through our three-pronged approach (Initial Meeting | Planning | Execution), we can help set you up for success in your future home.

Let's have a virtual chat and chat about your desires in your new home.

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