Mortgage rates today: Keep renting?

Mortgage rates today remain near all-time lows. But does that mean you should buy a house instead of continuing to rent?

Buying a home may seem exciting and rewarding, but there are number of factors to consider before sitting down at the closing table, such as:

  • Do you plan to stay for four or five years? Experts say if you cannot commit to your next address for this time frame, you may be better off renting. Over shorter periods, the benefits you'll experience through brief homeownership may not outweigh the time and money it can take to buy and sell a home. Also, renting gives you the flexibility to pick up and leave should a new opportunity, such as a job, arise.
  • Can you afford the upkeep? Sure, you earn enough money to pay your mortgage payments, taxes, homeowners insurance and closing costs. But what about all of those additional expenses that typically accompany homeownership? Even though mortgage rates today may be well within your reach, you'll still have to shell out extra cash for things like routine home maintenance (e.g., pest control, lawn care) and minor and major repairs.
  • Which option is less expensive? Mortgage rates today are rather appealing. But crunch the numbers before buying. It may turn out that renting is less expensive than owning a home, especially if you don't plan to stay for the long haul.

Yes, mortgage rates today can make the prospect of buying attractive. But don't take the plunge until you've run the numbers.

Bankrate's "rent vs. buy" calculator can help you discover whether homeownership is right for your family. Answer a simple series of questions to learn which option is most appropriate for you.

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