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Apartment vs. House: When to Make the Homebuying Decision

Posted by South Dakota Housing Authority on Jun 16, 2016 9:58:25 AM

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If you’ve been renting for years, when do you know if it’s the right time to buy? There are a lot of factors that go into this decision, whether it’s investing in your future, the satisfaction of ownership or just getting more room to spread out. 

So what factors should go into the decision-making process?

What can you afford?

Make sure the timing is right to buy and that you’ve got your finances and your budget in solid, working order. Make a list of your current expenses, in addition to estimates of house-related expenses like utilities, insurance and taxes – do this before the search begins and you’ve gotten your heart set on a particular house. Include the average amount you spend on essential incidentals, as well as what you spend on your regular bills and loan payments.

Are you staying put?

So what about your current city? Is it a location that you see yourself living in for an extended period of time? Perhaps even the next five years? If this isn’t the case, it’s probably not time to settle into a property investment. It doesn’t stop there – is your current living situation likely to change in the near future? Major life changes, such as having children or moving in with someone will affect the type of home you search out due to room counts and space. Keep these potential life events in mind before you start the process.

What other costs will you incur?

There are pros and cons with renting and owning, and that includes the unique costs that each brings with it. For example, apartment rentals will include a security deposit that you have to pay upfront to secure the space, in addition to the first or sometimes last month’s rent. And buying a house will likely include maintenance costs and renovation expenses, depending on the property you purchase. Which of these expenses will affect your buying (or renting) decision?


The expenses of owning a house can seem overwhelming at first, but the long-term investment can be a big positive in your everyday life. Just make sure that when you feel the urge to transition to owning versus renting, the timing is right.

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Topics: Renting, Homeownership