Portland is a wonderful city with so many neighborhoods, each possessing its own unique charm. There are the quiet tree-lined streets of Laurelhurst, the always buzzing Northwest District, and oh so many other options for homebuyers and renters to consider. However, for just a moment, let's put location aside and ask some important questions. This will help us better determine if you should buy or rent the place you'll call home!
1. What are the pros and cons of renting?
• No down payment necessary
• No maintenance costs
• Flexibility (month to month or year leases)
• Fewer responsibilities (landscaping, taxes, etc.)
• Impossible to lose equity because the house has lost value
• Easier to qualify as a tenant
• Time to preview a neighborhood before deciding to buy a home there
• Can't gain value over time
• No tax breaks or grants
• More restrictions (noise, use, pets, children, etc.)
• Typically less space for more money
• Rents can be raised and utilities can be charged at different rates
2. What are the pros and cons of buying a home?
• Can gain value over time
• Possible tax breaks and grants
• Fewer restrictions (who occupies the home, how you upgrade the home, pets, etc.)
• Can borrow against the equity
• Stronger sense of community because you are committed to a neighborhood
• On-time payments help build credit
• Pride of Ownership
• More space for the money (hopefully)
• More control over monthly costs
• Ongoing maintenance costs
• Moving may require more planning and time
• Down payment required (typically)
• Late payments significantly hurt credit record
• Must pay property taxes, insurance, etc.
3. Will this be my home or an investment?
A home is a liability because it costs money each month. An investment property is an asset because it makes money each month.
Many people don't want to deal with the headaches of being a landlord and would be happy simply buying a home. However, if your goal is to turn your home into an investment, may I suggest you check out my article "How to buy an investment property in Portland." In this article, I go over "house hacking," the basics of underwriting a property, and how to create a business plan or proforma.
4. How long do I plan to live in Portland?
Lastly, you'll want to determine how long you plan to live in Portland. Typically, if you plan to live somewhere for a short period (less than four years) the upfront costs of buying a home outweigh the benefits. In this situation, renting would be your most cost-efficient option. However, when you plan to live somewhere for more than four years this is when you should bust out the calculator to crunch the numbers.
To quickly determine how many years you would need to live somewhere for it to make financial sense to buy a home, I'd highly recommend checking out this calculator.
As you can see, the right answer depends on your own unique situation. If your number one priority is flexibility, buying a home might not be the right fit for you. However, if you're ready to commit to a city for the long term, purchasing a home could be a great decision.
Some of you might long for both flexibility and home ownership, in this case, I'd recommend you look into duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and houses with ADUs (additional dwelling units). These types of properties are great because they can produce income. If you decided to move, you wouldn't necessarily have to sell if your rent collected is greater than expenses incurred. For more, check out my post on "How to buy an investment property in Portland".
Still have questions?
If you still have questions or need an awesome real estate agent in Portland, please feel free to give me a ring! I'd love to see how I can help you.
Thanks for reading and if you got some value from this blog, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with one other person who you think would enjoy it!
Licensed Oregon Real Estate Broker