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Purchasing property can be one of the most difficult decisions for any person. It is a decision that can, and most likely will, have major ramifications throughout the course of your life. Because of this importance, it isn’t a decision to be made lightly. It requires a great deal of thought and careful planning. Should you purchase a home or should you simply rent?

At first, it may seem as though this is a very simply question, but dig deeper and you will find that it is incredibly complex. As someone who has spent several years working in the real estate industry, I figured that I would offer some insight into the matter and highlight a few pros and cons for each side.

Buying Pro: More Freedom

If you’re the type of person who loves to customize your belongings, then you will probably want to go for buying. While it’s true that you can still customize your rented property on a superficial level, if you wanted to make any deeper changes to the structure of the dwelling, you would not be able to. This means tearing down walls, building additions to the home and any renovations of any kind would most likely be prohibited in your rental. If you want to truly make your home your own, you will want to own.

Buying Con: Upfront Cost

The major downside of purchasing a home is the upfront cost. When looking to own a home, you will more than likely be required to provide a down payment upfront, and this cost can be quite expensive. If you are unable to afford such a hefty payment, you may want to consider renting.

Renting Pro: Ease of Movability

For all of you nomadic types, you may want to consider renting a property, particularly an apartment. If you know that your occupation requires you to move around quickly and frequently, then renting is probably your best option. The lack of an investment usually allows you to simply up and go when the time calls.

Renting Con: No Equity

Owning property is a fantastic investment seeing as how it can build equity, which can lead to great wealth if done properly. This is one of renting’s largest cons. When owning a property, you can invest time, money and resources into it to make it better and improve its value so that, when and if you decide to sell it, you can make a handsome profit. When renting, you do not own any property, other than what you purchase for furnishing, so you can not increase your personal wealth. If you’re looking for a long-time investment, renting is not your best option.

Owning versus renting. This has been a great debate for as long as we can remember. Ultimately, what it comes down to is your personal preference, needs and limits. Take a long, hard while to think about your decision, as it will deeply impact your future.