A lot of folks ask me why I think buying a house is better than renting. I have several answers.
- If you are renting, you ARE buying a house. You are just buying it for someone else.
- Stability. Your landlord could serve an eviction notice today if s/he wanted to.
- If we check the numbers, it can actually be cheaper to buy than rent.
- Because you can make a house YOUR home.
That's when I get a funny look, the look where you know the potential buyer wants you to elaborate on that last point. Well ... have you ever wanted to tear down a wall to open up a room? Have you ever wanted to paint your daughter's bedroom bright pink? Can you see adding a door to that bathroom and turning it into a Jack and Jill?
When you own, you don't need to get your landlords permission to modify a house. You will need to do it legally (permits may be required) and correctly (construction codes must be adhered to), but beyond that pretty much the only limit to what you can do INSIDE your home is your imagination.
Keep in mind, whatever you do to a home could affect re-sale value. I am working with buyers right now that want to turn a bonus room into a bedroom. What is needed is a door for privacy and a closet. A little interior framing and doors will do the trick. Once that is done, the buyer has just added a bedroom onto the tax records. The cost of doing this will be MUCH less than the new value of the home.
If you buy a home that has a home owner's association, you could be restricted to what you can do on the outside. For example, the HOA may have a palette of colors that are the ONLY acceptable colors for your new paint job. Some folks like this, some don't. If you don't have a HOA, you could find your home nestled between a lime green house and a purple one. Rules are for some but not everyone.
My best advice is to find a REALTOR® you like and trust to help you with your rent vs. buy decision. S/he can help you through the maze of buying YOUR home. Is it time to find a house you can actually call your home?