Will you be renting forever? Three questions that can determine your housing future

Do you dream of owning your home, or are you content to rent?

Reportedly, more households are renting in the U.S. than at any point in the past 50 years. The lingering effects of the housing crisis plus changing attitudes about homeownership have left more people feeling inclined to rent.

Owning a home can provide you with an equitable asset once it’s paid off, but it’s not always the right move for everyone. If you’re weighing your options, here are three questions to ask yourself:

1. What are my lifestyle priorities?
Do you crave stability, or seek new experiences? Millennials in particular are known to move around, preferring to live in different areas before settling down. If you’re not tied to a particular place or occupation, owning a home might not be for you.

On the other hand, if you can see yourself happily living in the same place in, say, 30 years and are disciplined about money, then you’re a good candidate for homeownership.

2. Do I want to start a family?
Most parents want security for their family. When you rent, there’s no guarantee that you’ll occupy your space forever. A surprise eviction from your home can upend your children’s lives, potentially forcing them to change schools if you have to move to a new neighborhood.

On the other hand, renting may be an appealing option for single-income families. If one parent stops working to stay home with the kids, you may trade financial security for quality-time with your children. Crunch the numbers to see what makes the most fiscal sense.

3. What are my career prospects?

Reportedly, it’s becoming more difficult for people earning minimum wage to rent—let alone buy—a home, especially in and around popular cities. If saving for a home on your current salary is particularly difficult even after you reduce your monthly expenses, you may want to make a plan to increase your income by moving up in your industry or switching careers.

And remember, whether you want to buy or rent, it’s a good idea to build your savings account. Even if you don’t use the money to purchase a home, you might need it for an unforeseen personal expense or financial emergency down the road.

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