Buying vs. Renting
To buy or to rent? That is the question.
Luckily, in Baltimore, you have options for both. To make the choice that is right for you, we suggest answering the following.
What are your preferences and lifestyle?
Is painting a wall, mowing a lawn, or installing a faucet your idea of a good time? Or would you rather leave home maintenance to someone else? Are you in town most of the year? Or does work have you travelling six out of twelve months? Have you found your perfect neighborhood and can’t wait to say, “I do!” Or does “dating around” with different parts of town seem more appealing? Homeownership offers stability, an opportunity to be more responsible, and a creative outlet for those who want ultimate control over their surroundings. But if sampling different neighborhoods sounds more exciting than settling down, you won’t be home often, or you never want to hire a plumber (or change a lightbulb for that matter), go ahead and rent! Different choices are appropriate for different seasons of your life. Many people move in and out of homeownership as their lifestyle changes over time.
How long do you plan to stay in your home?
If you plan to stay in Baltimore, or your home, for less than five years, renting is likely the best choice for you. Homeownership is a commitment and an investment that provides returns over the long term (not the short term). Also, most homeownership assistance programs require buyers to stay in their homes for at least five years or face a payback penalty.
What is your financial situation?
For most people, buying a home means obtaining a mortgage loan. While today’s mortgages do not require the 20 percent down payments of decades past, you will need some savings or other source of funds for your down payment and closing costs. Qualifying for a mortgage will also require that you have a reliable source of income and an established credit history. If you are between jobs or working to build your credit, it’s likely best to stick with renting while your financial situation improves. Most would-be buyers can prepare themselves for a successful mortgage application in six months to one year from the date they decide to become a homeowner. Many people with good credit, stable income and at least $1,000 of savings can afford to purchase a home in Baltimore immediately using the City’s homeownership assistance programs.
Learn More About Renting in Baltimore
- Save your recommendations for later.
- Get access to our Financial Incentives Tool.
- Connect with a Live Baltimore staff member for a one-on-one consultation.
- Get a free I ♥ City Life bumper sticker.