Rent or Buy?
Good question. There are a couple ways to think about this.
Financial: Compare what you're paying in rent with what you'd have as a mortgage payment. But that's just one part of it. You also get to factor in the taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. Honestly, it's going to look like it'll cost more than renting an apartment.
But...that's not really the true comparison. If you're coming from an apartment in Barre and, say, buying a house in Barre, you're comparing apples and oranges.
Plus, once you buy your house, you'll likely be able to start itemizing deductions on your income taxes. Oh yeah, I'm talking about deducting your interest and property taxes. I'm talking about lowering your tax bill (but talk to your tax professional to be sure).
Prices and interest rates are low right now, and, as the principal is paid down on your mortgage, eventually you'll own the house free and clear. That's huge.
Emotional: Don't discount emotions. If you're thinking of buying a house in Montpelier, think of what it'll mean for you to know that you can stay there as long as you want. To know that you can do whatever you want to the rooms, the walls, the floors, the yard, and the kitchen. Don't like the way that one of the rooms feels? No problem--it's your house, you can fix it.
Think of what it'll mean to not have to deal with a landlord, to be the boss. Sure, it's more responsibility, but you're the one who gets to choose how things get done.
I've made enough "real estate is like love" references that I think my wife is starting to look at me kind of funny. But here's another one. Just like there being no perfect time to get married (or civilly united), or no perfect time to start a family, there's no perfect time to buy a house. Just like with relationships, sometimes it just feels right, and you go for it.
Ray Mikus, Broker