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House shopping: rent vs. buy?

Weigh the pros and cons to determine which is best for you.

Should you rent or buy? That's the big question you need to ask yourself before you go house shopping. The answer to that question depends on your priorities. Do you want to build equity or do you need to be able to relocate easily? To find out more about the benefits of owning a home versus the benefits of renting, check out our infographic. It'll help you decide.
House: Rent vs Buy graphic


Weigh the pros and cons to determine which is best for you.

There are benefits to owning your home or renting it -- so the decision really comes down to you. What to you want out of your home? Use this list to spot your priorities.


Builds equity.

Increase amount of ownership or time.

May be able to borrow accumulated equity.

Ability to customize.

Change the look, feel and layout without permission.

Annual tax benefits.

Can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on itemized tax returns.


Higher maintenance costs.

All maintenance is the homeowner's responsibility.

Maintenance may cost up to 3 percent of a home's value per year.

Home's value may fluctuate with the economy.

Insurance needed: Homeowner's insurance.

May cover: Cost to repair or replace home in event of total loss, in addition to the value of items in the home.

May not cover: Home-business ventures, flood damage or personal property with high replacement value (separate policies required).


Offers flexibility.

Maybe be able to move with little notice, depending on your landlord and lease.

Can be less expensive.

Initial payment and monthly rent can be lower than a down payment and mortgage, depending on the area.

Landlords may cover some or all utilities.

No maintenance hassles.

Landlords are usually responsible for routine maintenance and structural repairs at no extra cost to the tenant.


Subject to restrictions.

Pets may not be allowed.

Painting and customizing may not be permitted.

Rent increases.

Unlike fixed mortgage payments, rent may increase.

Insurance needed: Renter's insurance.

May cover: Replacement value of personal items in addition to legal liability.

May not cover: Home-business ventures or ownership and use of motor vehicles on property. 

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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