If you ask almost every American what their plans are for the future, they will probably tell you they would like to own a home someday. After all, having your own house is the American Dream. But is it really a financial reality for everyone? Probably not. In many cases, it can be much more economical to rent an apartment or a house instead of purchasing one.
One reason not to is the money. When you purchase a house, you will have to qualify for a loan and pay a down payment. The best interest rates are typically offered to those who can put down 20 percent of the cost of the house. Unless you come into a lot of money or save for many many years, you're going to have to get a loan to buy your house. That means your credit will have to be in a good place. If it's not, you'll be facing very high interest rates if a bank is even willing to loan to you.
Often, the cost of renting an apartment or home is much cheaper than paying a monthly mortgage payment. There are also tons of miscellaneous expenses that come with owning a home. This can include anything from yard grooming to unexpected repairs. If you rent, many of these extra costs are taken care of by the owner. When you're living in an apartment, you can just call up maintenance to fix a broken faucet. If you own your home, that expense will have to come out of your own pocket.
Another factor to consider when buying a home is employment. Are you purchasing your house in a place with plenty of job options? To make buying worthwhile, you want to make sure you'll be living there for at least five to ten years. If your current job is stable and probably won't be going away anytime soon, then buying a home might make more financial sense for you. This could also work if your area has plenty of opportunities in your field. But if your career has you traveling a lot or moving around from state to state every couple of years, renting is probably a better option.
The worst reason to buy a house is because everyone else is doing it. Don't use your friends or family as a barometer for your financial health. If you can't afford to buy a house, don't do it. Take stock of your financial situation and make a decision that is best for you.