There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the ‘Should I buy or should I rent?’ question.
In reality it depends on what you want to do, what you expect your home to be and its role in all the other areas and aspects of your life.
The current state of the property market – and, as a result, prices – is a huge factor, too, particularly given the fact that prices can plummet as well as spiral, a fact which many tens of thousands in Northern Ireland can confirm in the wake of 2008 and the negative equity crisis that followed. The repercussions of that are on-going, of course - the road to recovery will be a long one.
Finally, and perhaps most pertinently and importantly, is the matter of what is realistic for you in terms of what you NEED in tandem with what you are ABLE TO AFFORD. To that end, are you thinking in terms of the next 12 months or the next 20 years?
So, let’s go through those points step by step.
Firstly, what do you want your home to be?
Is it as straightforward as a mere roof over your head for the foreseeable future, or do you regard it as being your castle - a good, enjoyable, safe, affordable 'home' in the true sense of the word. In other words, the place where you feel you belong and, because of that, love to be?
Or is it, first and foremost, an investment from which you hope to make money? And if it is the latter, in the interim do you see yourself treating that property as your family home and actually living in it for some time to come? Or might you be happy to move on as soon as there is some profit available?
Your attitude as to what a home is or should be will go a long way towards determining how you feel about owning or renting it. If you see a home as being nothing much more than the place to which you go after work and wherein you sleep, that does not suggest any great level of attachment to it on your part. In those circumstances, renting might make more sense at this stage.
Things, however, can change. You would not be the first fun-loving single guy or girl to have changed direction, decided to settle down and begun to view the world through very much more mature and serious eyes!
Note, too, that there is no shortage of owners who never spend a minute of their time in properties they have bought. That’s because they buy a home in which they see investment potential and rental income rather than with a view to ever living at that address themselves.
Note, too, that our fixation with home ownership is not one shared by everyone. Go to continental Europe and you will discover a much higher percentage of people who prefer to rent rather than tie themselves to a long-term mortgage commitment.
Secondly, what role do you see your home playing in the rest of your life? That’s a crucial question and the answer to it is that it depends on what stage you have reached and what hopes and plans you have regarding what happens next.
What is your marital/relationship status right now? Do you have children? If so, at what stage are they education-wise? Pre-school? Nursery? Primary? Secondry?
For those with children, proximity to school is a big consideration. Living somewhere which is going to entail a long haul to and from their seat of learning Monday to Friday – and Saturday, too, if they participate in sport - is hardly ideal. That one is pretty obvious.
If you do not have children at this point, but hope to start a family at some future date, it is vital that you factor this into your thinking, especially if there is a particular school you would like your offspring to attend.
Of course, location is all-important in each of the other areas of your life, too. How close to work would you be living if you were to buy or rent this property? Shops? Churches? Relatives and friends? Favourite sports club(s)?
Thirdly, what is the state of the property market in Belfast? And, indeed, in the rest of Northern Ireland? Is this an opportune moment to be buying? Or selling, come to that?
And if you plan to buy, how ready for that are you? Do you want or need to do so quickly, or can you wait to see how things unfold a little further down the line? Big questions, as the timing could end up saving – or costing – you a lot of money.
Which takes us to the fourth and final point of what EXACTLY you want or need to do NOW.
Do you have to sell a home first in order to buy? Is bridging finance an option or a non-starter? Have you consulted your lender regarding a future mortgage, or sought expert advice about re-negotiating the terms of your existing loan? All things to be included in your thinking.
Or, if you are renting, have you made yourself known to a reputable, results-endorsed estate agency whose track record confirms their standing as experts committed to top-quality customer service and noted for their attention to detail? Their standing is boosted if they are able to add a portfolio of first-class rental properties plus unrivalled back-up and support.
If all of those ingredients are present you have the perfect answer to any property-related problem, whether you are renting, buying or selling property in Belfast.
Aria major in all three - renting, buying or selling – as well as offering bespoke advice and assistance en route to matching the right people with the right property in the right location at the right price.
Whether it is a short-term rental for just a few days or weeks , the long-term purchase of a property which is to be your family’s home or indeed anything else in between, Aria pride themselves on providing more than others by way of service and expertise.
Every customer enjoys that level of support; there are no gradations and no class distinctions based on the amount of money involved. If you’re renting a one-bedroom flat, a two-bedroom terrace house or a top of the range detached home, they undertake to treat you the same.
We opened with the question ‘Should I buy or should I rent?’
It varies from person to person, couple to couple or family to family depending on what you/they need, what you/they want and how much you/they are able to afford.
The answer, however, is the same, whether you rent or buy. For honest advice, genuine help and unmatched attention to detail designed to make renting or buying a stress-free process, contact Aria.