The question of buying or renting comes down to three main criteria for most expats: having the finances to purchase a property overseas, having the time to find the right property, and the length of time in a location. Are you a renter or a buyer?
You’ll always find someone who will say renting is like throwing money down the drain, whereas buying is an investment. That’s probably true if you can afford to buy a house outright – no mortgage – but it’s not such a clear picture if you have a mortgage.
If you thought “No” to any of those three criteria above, perhaps you should consider renting. Here are 10 reasons why…
1. Lower costs
Renters generally pay no or low property taxes, no home owners association/community fees and no property insurance (just contents insurance).
2. Renting is more flexible
If your career has yet to settle down, the last thing you want is the burden of a property hanging round your neck. A rental will allow you to move more freely.
3. Your needs may change in the immediate future
Perhaps you are your partner are thinking of starting a family. If you buy a property as soon as you move and then find you are expecting a child, you’ll either have to cram into the original property (assuming it was ’made for two’), convert the visitor room to the baby’s room or start searching for a bigger place.
4. Less stress, less risk?
I’d say there’s less risk renting, but is there less stress? Again, it depends on your finances. If you’re stretching your budget to its limit, then buying or renting will be stressful, but a mortgage more so because you’ll be locked into it for longer than rent. It’s written all over the internet that buying a home is one of the most stressful life events. But is it really true? Claudia Hammond’s article, ‘Is moving home one of life’s most stressful events?’, serves to de-bunk that myth.
5. Can you get a mortgage at an acceptable rate?
Expats are often offered poorer mortgage options than citizens in the same country; and if you are thinking of buying a second home and being non-resident, you’ll probably find the mortgage options are even worse in many countries.
6. Avoid the mortgage rate lottery
Renters avoid mortgage rate hikes (though your rental will probably go up slightly each year with the rise in the cost of living).
7. Maintenance is not your problem
Generally speaking, you won’t have to pay any maintenance costs (except for possible repairs when you move on). Assuming you have a decent landlord, you should be able to make a call and get things fixed without having to pay for it yourself.
8. Another DIY weekend?
No need to spend ages doing DIY during your precious weekends or holidays. Did the last storm damage some tiles or guttering? Call your landlord to get it fixed!
9. Tax time is easier
If you rent, calculating your taxes is easier than for home owners. Period.
10. Live in a dream property
Renting allows you to stay in properties and locations that you might not be able to afford to buy.
Renting blog posts and resources:
- ‘How to create a moveable garden for expat renters‘.
- Pets and overseas property rentals: do they mix?
- 7 tips for finding the best rental property
- 5 tips to get a rental deposit back
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