Finances & Money

6 Times When Renting Is Better Than Buying

renting vs buying, renting a home, renting is better than buying a house
Sometimes dreams are bigger than budgets. Whether it’s houses, vacations, special parties, fashionable styles or home improvements, costs add up quickly.

But here’s a twist: Try renting. You get what you need for a fraction of the purchase price. Your rental is often higher quality than what you can afford to buy outright, too. You’re the only one who has to know it’s not yours.

Here are six times when renting will probably be better than buying:

Housing

Should you rent or purchase a home? This dilemma isn’t new, and the best answer depends on your individual circumstances.

When renting, you pay the monthly fee and utilities. However, homeowners face a wide variety of costs such as mortgages, property taxes, property insurance, homeowners’ association fees and maintenance costs.

One perk to buying a home in the past is that people counted on their houses to appreciate, but a house is not an automatically successful investment anymore. When neighborhoods fade or municipalities cut services, home values drop.

In addition, if you’re in a career where you want or need mobility, a house becomes a weight around your neck. Many retirees also find they don’t want the hassle of ownership.

RV

When you’re traveling long distances, renting an RV has distinct advantages like cost and convenience. Even with rental fees, insurance and gas tank fill-ups, you save money on airline tickets and hotel rooms. You’ll even save money on food — skip restaurants and fix snacks and meals in the mini RV kitchen.

RV travel means you have a bathroom handy at all times as well. Trekking with kids is easier because, no matter where you go, their entertainment, food and nap spots are right there with you.

You could also buy an RV. If you rent one, though, you’ll likely have more money to spend on your vacation — and you won’t have the hassle of trying to figure out where to store it when you get back.

Bridal Gowns

It’s common for the groom to rent a tux for his nuptials. Now brides are getting into the act by renting wedding dresses.

A bride often discovers that the dress of her dreams takes too big a bite out of the wedding budget. A gown from a popular designer can easily cost upwards of $12,000. Alteration and cleaning fees up the price even more — and less than 10 percent of brides allot more than $2,500 for the total dress cost.

Go for a rental and get a designer dress for under $500, everything included. Bridesmaid dresses are available for rent, as well.

Though you won’t have a wedding dress as a keepsake, gowns often just hang in closets after the big day — and saving a dress for a yet-to-be-born daughter to wear at her wedding is risky. Styles change and personal tastes are different.

Other Specialty and Day-to-Day Clothing

A wedding dress is not the only article of clothing that has made its way to the rental market. Fancy dresses for formal occasions are available, too.

A woman doesn’t have to overspend on an outfit she’ll wear only once. Rent your dress instead, and some rental shops even provide matching shoes and bags. While some stores include insurance in the price, others charge a small additional fee.

Web-based stores also offer daytime clothing for both women and men. Often, stylists choose outfits based on customer preference surveys. Clothes are usually rented by the month.

Maternity wear selections are available online, as well. Major savings here: Women don’t have to continually buy new clothing as their pregnancies advance.

Jewelry

The fashion world is just filled with rental opportunities. Rent high-end jewelry online or in person for parties, weddings or other special events. Leases are typically for a week or month.

You can rent jewelry with lower sticker prices for occasions that don’t require a high level of bling, such as job interviews. If you’re someone who simply loves jewelry and craves new pieces, rental could be an affordable alternative.

Tools

When you have household DIY projects, tool rental might be the way to go. Some jobs require equipment you’ll never use again. Instead of paying for a tool and then having it collect dust on the shelf, rental gives you relatively low-cost temporary access.

There’s no shame in renting tools. Professional construction companies of all sizes do it, because heavy equipment is so expensive. If a specialized machine like when you rent a scissor lift and is seldom used, renting is a logical and affordable option.

When you consider renting tools or equipment, calculate how often you’ll use it. If it’s frequent enough that rental fees over the next one or two years will equal the purchase price, it’s probably cheaper in the long run to buy.

However, if the equipment is costly or you’re pretty sure this is a one-time usage, renting makes sense. You also don’t have to worry about finding storage space.

Useful tools to rent include a reciprocating saw for demolition work and a concrete or mortar mixer for porches and walkways.

There’s also the high-quality tile saw that simplifies laying marble or thick tile, but will you be doing that project regularly? Similarly, building a deck or fence is likely not something you’ll do often, so renting a post-hole digger makes the work both less exhausting and less expensive when you’re trying to complete that task.

You can rent virtually anything these days it seems. While in some cases buying may be better than renting, there are many situations where renting can be much less of a hassle — and much more budget-friendly.

About the author

James

4 Comments

  • I love going to the beach and staying beach front, but I’d never buy a beach front house. Not even if I won one of the big lotteries. Between the cost, the insurance and the risk of having everything washed out to sea by the next hurricane, it makes way more sense to rent by the week (or in the unlikely case of the big lottery win, even for a couple of months). And that holds true for most vacation houses: renting is easier and allows you to change up where you vacation.

  • I totally agree with you on all of these points. I have a lot of experience renting tools for construction projects I have to deal with, and I can promise that renting is a huge help. Especially when it comes to heavy equipment, there’s no better way to get the work done quickly and (relatively) on the cheap. Thanks for the tips!

  • I think it really depends. For example the wedding dress – some women want to purchase a gown because they want to have a dress that they can hand down to their daughter some day. For tools, some you do need again for projects others you don’t – so you just need to be smart about which ones to rent and which ones to buy. As for a home, it really has to do with how long you plan on staying in an area and if you can afford it. Sometimes renting a home costs more than owning one. Thanks for sharing!

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