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Rent vs Buy

price/rent ratio - where find it for Boston
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October 20 2011 - Back Bay
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Profile picture for FatNoah
Jim,

I rented in the Boston area for about 10 years before buying a house.  Hamp has it right when he says that the best you'll be able to get is one or more peoples view of the relative costs.  Many factors go into figuring out costs for owning a house that many "calculators" don't take into account.

For me, the biggest unknown is maintenance.   I bought a house that required no major work, but still had to replace a disposal, fix a toilet that ran up a $900 water bill, replace a water heat, paint the exterior etc.  Many of the maintenance/improvement costs will entirely depend on your standards for upkeep and desire for home improvement.

Another additional cost incurred by the move was addition of a second car to the family since Melrose to Watertown Square is tough on the T. Also, in the 'burbs you drive a lot more, so we went from driving about 8,000 miles/year in one car to about 40,000 miles/year in two with associated maintenance, fuel, tolls, car payments, etc. etc. etc.

There are a number of resources to help you compare lease costs with mortgage/tax/insurance over a number of years, but the other costs can be significant as well and those are hard to quantify and likely specific to your situation.

As for how it all worked out for me, we're currently in the planning stages of jettisoning the house and moving back to the city.  ;)  My advice to you is to buy a house/condo if it enables the lifestyle you want, not just because it may make financial sense (or not).

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October 28 2011
Jim-

Good Evening.

Perhaps the first step is to narrow down where you want to live, then have an agent run the numbers for said area. Of course you will also want to get pre-qualified for a home in that area.

Have a BEAUTIFUL night.

-Shawn
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October 26 2011
I always advise my clients to first talk with a lender.  This way you will know exactly where you stand as a buyer.  Your lender will be able to compare your monthly expenses between buying vs renting as well as how renting vs. buying will affect your tax write-offs.  In real estate the more information you know the better you can make a decision.  Its all a learning process.  There is no obligation by you when you meet with a lender.  Its just a starting point and they will be able to tell you exactly where you stand and what you will be paying monthly when renting vs buying.
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October 26 2011
A local lender can work up a rent/own worksheet for you in your local area. A lot of it will depend on what price range you qualify for and what you want your payments to be. If you give the lender your current rental payment they can tell you how much home you can buy keeping your payment the same. Don't forget that you will want to include your taxes and insurance in that "guesstimate" as well.
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October 26 2011
I don't believe you will "find" "it" anywhere. You may find several different people's estimates of "it". You may have to deduce "it" from other available data. 'It" changes every time a lease is signed, or a house sells, so 'it" is a moving target. Determining "It" makes deciding whether to rent or buy somewhat challenging. 'It" could be contained in the Case Schiller reports for the Boston area. The best estimate of 'It" could have to come from a member of the Boston MLS. A good appraiser may have the best grasp of "it". Google "it"!
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October 20 2011
 
Related Questions
Rent vs Buy
Profile picture for FatNoah
Latest answer by FatNoah
October 28 2011 | 5 answers
  • Asked by Jim Lieb
  • In Rentals
  • October 20 2011
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