One of the greatest joys for any real estate agent is seeing first homebuyers step into their new property and take in the realisation that it belongs to them. But we’re also pragmatists and recognise that, while home-ownership is one of the best investments you can make – especially now with record low interest rates – buying into real estate is not for everyone. So it always pays to weigh up the pros and cons.
Undoubtedly, the greatest downside to renting is the lack of control you have over your own living space. From putting up a picture hook to the stress of a six-monthly rental inspection, and the ever-present threat of the owner deciding to sell up, renting a house or apartment is a balance between flexibility and uncertainty. There’s also the regular feeling that, when it’s time to pay the rent each month, your money would be better off going to your investment not someone else’s.
If however, you enjoy the freedom of being able to change locations fairly easily, and you don’t want to tie the bulk of your savings to one asset (or any investment assets at all) then renting is most likely the better option for you – especially if you develop a good relationship with your property manager and landlord.
On the other side, owning one’s own home has always been, and will no doubt continue to be, the Great Australian Dream for most people. And while it comes with the responsibilities of mortgage payments, council rates and potential maintenance costs, nothing can quite match the satisfaction of looking at the blank canvas of your first home and knowing that it is yours to shape as you wish. There’s also the reassurance that with property, you can be confident that it will continue to appreciate over the long term; providing you with a nest egg for the future and a potential springboard for subsequent investments.
There is no doubting that the initial outlay and early mortgage repayments may curb your day-to-day spending and flexibility for a while, but with every payment, you’re increasing your equity in a sound investment, and every extra dollar you spend on it – whether it’s for new plants in the garden or a complete kitchen make-over – it’s money that’s going towards improving your asset.