As professional Alabama rental managers, we may seem like we are biased when it comes to whether or not people should rent or buy homes. Believe it or not, though, we think people should make whatever decision is best for them. Sometimes, it’s best to buy if you can. Sometimes, it’s best to rent. Figuring out which one fits you best is actually one of the most important decisions you’ll make. There are a lot of factors that play into whether you should rent or buy, and not all of them involve finances. Some involve family. Others involve work. But overall, you should consider a list of variables that will help you determine whether renting or buying is best. Your Work Matters One factor that plays a big role is your work. What you do – and where you have to go to do it – will help shape your real estate decision. If your occupation takes you around the country or world on a regular basis, and requires relocations at a predictable interval – like the military – renting may be better than buying. Having to buy and sell homes so often can get tiring and can also be costly. Plus, you may need to stay mobile for work purposes. Renting helps with that; buying doesn’t. What Does the Market Look Like? Another factor is the market itself. Some markets are less expensive for renting than buying, and vice-versa. If rental rates are up and vacancy is down, renting can cost more. But if area demand is sky-high and it’s a seller’s market, it can be expensive to buy. (Don’t forget about other factors, such as property taxes and maintenance costs.) All of this will play into your finances and how much you can afford. You need to pretend you are considering both options and do a bit of math based on that. Say, you have a home you’d like to purchase and a home you’d like to rent. How much would it cost after a year for each property? Two years? Five years? Which is cheaper? Think about when you should rent or buy and you’ll have a better time making that decision and finding a great place to rent should you decide to go down that path.