When is renting the right answer?

 Content supplied by Barclays 

We're obsessed here in the UK about owning a home. The property ladder looms over us like Mount Everest in a storm but most of us can't even make it to Base Station, never mind the top.

So why bother? They say buying a house is more stressful than having a child, so why do we put ourselves through it?

In a recent discussion thread we asked Mumsnetters, "If a house is still a home if you don't own it?" Both the homeowners and renters among you were adamant that home is where your family is, whether you choose the decor or a landlord does.

Where the differences emerged was in each group's sense of security, of knowing how long they'd be based at that address. As FreelanceMama says, it's to do with being "anxious that you are not in control of how long you will live there." On the other hand, when you're single-mindedly climbing the property ladder you're "only passing through the houses for three to five years on the way up, so are arguably no more settled than those who rent," says TheUKGrinchlmGluhweinkeller.

And are you actually any more in control as a homeowner when you're subject to the vagaries of interest rates? If you suddenly can't afford your mortgage and need to downsize, "it would actually cost you a lot of money to sell with legal fees, stamp duty etc,", points out RichTeaAreCrap.

In a recent Barclays Mumsnet survey, half of those renting felt they were "stuck" with renting, but in fact renting can be a realistic, low-risk solution in a volatile housing market. For msscph1973, "owning a house felt like a trap… at the end of the day, the bank owned the flat, not me."

Neither is it always correct to assume that running costs are cheaper on a mortgage rather than paying rent. As a homeowner you have to pay buildings insurance, breakdown repair and servicing costs on top of your mortgage, payments which are often unpredictable in timing, but predictably expensive in cost! The stresses are less for renters. "My monthly outgoings are fixed and if anything breaks, I just phone the landlord and he calls the professionals," says misscph1973.

Renting also gives you the flexibility to move when you need to, whether it's for work, a growing family or to try out a new area. You might move somewhere new and realise you're in totally the wrong catchment area for the good schools. If you rent for a while, you can suss out an area and make an informed decision about where you want to be.

Whether renting or buying a home is right for you depends on where you are in your life right now. Some people see owning a property as an investment. And, if you're in a position where you can make that choice, and long-term security is more important to you than flexibility and you feel secure in your income, pouring money into a mortgage instead of rent has the obvious advantage that you own a little bit more of your property with each payment.

At the end of the day, "Home is where my family are - where we sleep, eat and play. It doesn't matter who it belongs to," says Piffpaffpoff. I think we'd all second that. Follow this thread and go to the property section of Family finance, from Barclays for more information about property and savings.

If your family are in the fortunate position of being able to support you in buying a new home, Barclays have built a new solution to help with this, the Family Springboard mortgage.

 

Family finance, from Barclays

For great tips and information about family finances, head to Family finance, from Barclays for property, savings, education, budgeting

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Last updated: 27-Jan-2014 at 3:40 PM