So about three weeks ago I was browsing realtor.ca to see what the housing market looked like in my area when something caught my eye. A house around the corner from me was listed for almost two times the price that we paid for ours a few years ago. Now, it had been renovated more recently and had a few improvements added, but it was about the same size and age as ours. There was an open house, so my husband and I went over to snoop around. There weren’t really that many differences between the two.
At first we were just idly curious. After all, even if values had gone up, we still had to live in the area, so selling our house and immediately sinking the profit into another would just end up costing all the closing and moving costs. But then we had a crazy idea. What if we don’t buy another house?
The own vs rent argument has been going on forever, and there are so many factors involved that it’s hard at first to figure out what is best. After all, when renting our monthly costs would go down, but we’d never reach that magical stage when the house was paid off and we were living for free. But when you factor in property taxes, utilities, and upkeep, do you ever really live for free?
Excel to the rescue! I taught myself a few new formulas and built an awesome spreadsheet that looked at what we would gain from taking the money we’d earn from investing the house sale money, minus rent expenses, and compared it to the long term expenses of home ownership. In almost all scenarios, renting put us ahead financially. This went against everything I’d ever believed in, so I asked two different (smart and trustworthy) people to double check the math. It still said that renting was the way to go, even if the value of our house hadn’t risen nearly as much as that neighbour’s selling price made me think.
So, that’s probably what we’re going to do. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we are looking at rentals in the area and are hoping to be out of the house in a couple months so that we can list it in the early spring market. We somehow need to find time to paint and fix a few cosmetic issues in the meantime, but if everything goes according to plan, our ten year countdown might become a nine year count down.