Weigh pros and cons of renting and buying before deciding

It is important to be knowledgeable of the advantages and disadvantages of each option when considering buying or renting a house or apartment.

Having a better understanding of what costs and risks come along with renting or owning can lead to a more well-informed, cost-efficient decision.

More often than not, renting tends to be an easier choice for most students because it is a quicker process and there are no maintenance costs involved.

Also, the fact that most landlords tend to issue a standard one-year lease agreement usually attracts students who are not seeking long-term housing.

Denairo Cook, 23, a senior business student from Orlando said, “I chose to rent because I am only going to be here temporarily.”

In most cases, landlords will not be held responsible for theft or damage to personal property while living on their property.

This can be a deterrent for prospective tenants.

Therefore, it is up to the tenant to either purchase renter’s insurance, have their belongings placed under someone else’s homeowner’s insurance or simply hope their personal property remains intact throughout the duration of their lease.

Jerrell Lowery of State Farm Insurance Company said a renter’s insurance policy will cover all the renter’s personal belongings.

Many students know little more about what it takes to buy a home or rent an apartment other than the fact that good credit is essential.

“I know the basics about buying a house. You have to have good credit. A lot of college students have bad credit or no credit. Even as renters, you have to have a guarantor,” Cook said.

One of the basic things students should know when deciding to purchase a house is financing, said Beth Allen, a local real estate agent of buyer’s consultant.

Banks decide who is qualified to receive bank financing. Getting qualified depends on credit and debt-to-income ratio.

Pam Keller, mortgage broker for Envision Credit Union, said the buyer’s debt should not exceed more than 44 percent of their income.

If you are approved for financing, then you must be prepared to pay a down payment. The more money you put down, the less expensive your mortgage rate will be.

It is best to get a fixed mortgage rate because that will lock in the mortgage rate for as long as the owner has the mortgage, which could be anywhere from 15 to 30 years.

After accepting the mortgage rate, there is a closing cost fee. Keller explained that closing costs consist of approval and recording fees and a fee for surveying the property.

Once the house has been purchased the owner is responsible for paying property taxes and homeowner’s insurance, Keller said.

They can vary depending on aspects such as the amount it would cost to replace the house, the age of the house and the material used to build the house.

A huge factor in choosing to rent housing rather than purchase it is the monthly payments.

Martha Freedmen, 20, a junior allied health science student from Jacksonville, said, “I would buy a house in Tallahassee, but I can’t afford it. I can’t afford the mortgage, lights and utility bills.”

Because of Florida’s high cost of living, apartment complexes in Tallahassee can sometimes be too expensive for students. An apartment in Eagle’s Landing Apartments can cost anywhere from $729 to $939.

When it comes to finding housing for school, many students have joined in the trend of purchasing a house as opposed to renting.

By purchasing a home, students are investing in their own property rather than giving money away to a landlord and not seeing any benefit in the end.

When the student graduates, he or she then has the opportunity to sell the house and recuperate all, if not more, than they initially invested.

Or they can take on the role of a landlord and rent their property out to another tenant. This allows the homeowner to draw in additional income after they graduate.

Duplexes are typically a wise purchase because the owner can live in one unit while renting the other one out.

No matter the housing decision, it is important to be aware of all the pros and cons in order to make the right decision.