If you’re wondering how to find houses for rent in your area, you’ll soon find that it’s not as difficult as it once was. Instead of scrutinizing the classifieds or scouting neighborhoods hoping to see “for rent” signs, it’s as easy as typing your location into a website. (If you’re wondering where to look for houses for rent online for the first time, you may want to start with some realty sites, rather than sites like Craigslist, where you need to be more cautious of scammers). But before you rent a house, you also need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Is It Better to Buy, or to Rent?
When is buying a house better than renting? Typically, people talk about buying as something you should look at only as a long-term investment, knowing it will cost you more in the short term. But in many markets across the U.S., it’s actually cheaper to buy a house than to rent one. So if you’re anticipating staying put for a while, buying a house can be both a good long-term investment and a way of bringing down your monthly expenses.
- How Much of a Down Payment Do I Need?
One of the biggest financial considerations that goes into buying a house is what kind of down payment you’ll be able to save for. You’ll need to have at least 20% of the purchase price as a down payment to qualify for a conventional home loan (you can get a loan with less, but you’ll probably have to pay mortgage insurance). You should know that there are programs for low-income families, military families and veterans that make it possible to purchase a house with a much smaller down payment.
- How Do Rent to Own Homes Work?
If you’re not sure you can save for a conventional down payment right now and qualify for a mortgage, then you may want to look into rent to own homes, instead. These allow you to rent the home for a certain amount of time with the option of buying it at the end of that term. You’ll end up paying a bit more per month, but it’s a good option especially if you’re worried about not qualifying for a normal loan.
Do you have any tips on how to find houses for rent in your area, or would you consider buying? Join the discussion in the comments.