Deciding Between Renting or Buying a House

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One of the most important decisions anyone has to make relates to finding comfortable shelter. It is important because shelter is a basic human need and it comprises a substantial proportion of a person’s expenses.

In seeking shelter, there are several options that one has available to him/her. Here I’m focussing on the options of renting or buying. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages which I am going to discuss in this post.

Renting

Advantages

  1. It is flexible as movement is relatively easy. For example if you’re in a house for rent in Accra you can move out easily when you get a job in Kumasi.
  1. Your capital is not locked in one investment for long. You may pay some rent advance, but you would not be required to make the kind of substantial down payments that people seeking to buy houses have to do.

Disadvantages

  1. It requires a constant source of income. A day will never come when you won’t be required to pay rent. So you need to always be earning income to meet the rent. This becomes more difficult upon retirement.
  1. There’s a lack of freedom if you have a landlord/landlady with a disagreeable disposition.

Buying

Advantages

  1. Payments end at some point. When you no longer make as much income as you used to you can still have a place to sleep in.
  1. No landlord/landlady to grapple with.
  1. The house is an asset you can sell at some point. Perhaps on Ghana’s biggest online marketplace.

Disadvantages

  1. There’s a lack of flexibility. Moving to other areas is difficult. You may need to find a new buyer or refinance the mortgage (take a loan to clear the current mortgage).
  1. Your capital is locked up in the house. If the market value of your house goes down you could quickly be left with your mortgage being worth more than the value of your house.
  1. Property rates and insurance payments. (Although the cost of that is probably included in the rent charged to renters.)
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Jerome Kuseh

Accountant | Economist-in-Training | Financial Analyst
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