Renting a House in Ottawa: Pros and Cons

Finding a new place to live can feel like an exhilarating fresh start! And what better place to rent than renting a house in Ottawa? Your search for an apartment or house may seem very overwhelming at first. For example, you may be wondering whether you should be renting or buying! It's up to each individual or family's needs, but we thought the best way to help you out would be to look at some of the pros and cons of renting in Ottawa. 

Pros

There are many benefits to renting a house or apartment in Ottawa. If you're someone that isn't necessarily rooted in one place and don't desire homeownership's responsibilities, keep reading to find out why renting could be the right choice for you.  

- Less to pay upfront 

● One of the most significant benefits, especially for younger renters, is that your landlord will likely only ask for one month's rent and a security deposit when you sign your lease. Great for those who have less money saved and may live more of a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

● In comparison to buying a home, this is a much smaller financial commitment. It is enabling people, especially young adults, to make a much more practical financial commitment, particularly those stills paying off student debts and loans. 

- Not responsible for repairs or maintenance

● Another part of renting that tends to appeal to people is the renter's lack of responsibility for repairs or maintenance to the home, the beauty of having a landlord. Most times, a simple call to your landlord can be the solution to your problem. They are much handier and equipped to take care of many of the issues that could arise for a homeowner, like leaks or faulty appliances.

● The other fantastic asset to having a landlord is that they will likely take care of the property upkeep! It is not your responsibility to mow the lawn or shovel the driveway. Renting is an ideal situation for many people that wish to spend their free time doing activities other than maintenance chores. 

- Fewer costs for home maintenance, property taxes, and home insurance 

● Since there is no need to worry about doing the maintenance, there is also no need to stress over the cost of maintaining and upkeeping a rental property. Yes, sometimes this is factored into your rent payment. Nonetheless, it's excellent to not cringe at the cost of every little replacement or repair you need to make.

● Also, unlike homeowners, renters do not need to pay property taxes! You also pay less for insurance coverage for theft and damage to personal belongings. 

- Utilities are often covered by your rent

● Landlord dependent, but many rentals factor the cost of utilities into your rent and will have you pay a consistent flat rate every month. Often includes a set monthly rate for water, electricity, natural gas, and TV and internet services. 

● One thing to keep in mind is that the flat rate is beneficial at some points in the year, and other times you may not use nearly as much as the flat rate. For example, in the summer, you may not need to worry about running the air conditioner all the time because the flat rate will cover it. However, in those "in-between" months where you aren't using much heat or air conditioning, you may wonder if you're anywhere close to using as much of that utility fee that you pay. 

- Renting provides flexibility

● The beauty of renting is that it doesn't lock you into any permanent life decisions, like owning a house! Leasing or renting tends to appeal to younger adults where life tends to be more uncertain about jobs, roommates, partners, location, and so on. 

● If anything in your life changes, like losing a job or ending a relationship, you need to give your landlord proper notice when you plan to move out. 

- Buying a home is stressful!

● Again, this is a big life decision! There are apparent stressors related to money and how a home factors into your lifestyle. Is this a financial decision that you can make? Do you have an excellent financial record?

● For most people, there are also stressors related to finding the perfect house, location, neighborhood, etc. No one wants to settle for a home that isn't up to their standards or ideals, especially if this is a more long-term place that they wish to stay!

- Long-term investment

● Once you buy a house, it can take quite a while to build up your home equity! Since you own very little of your home in the beginning stages, it will take longer to build your equity. 

● Another thing to consider is the down payment that you can make on your home. Building equity can take longer if the down payment you've made is less than 20% of the home's price (which is the recommended amount). 

Cons

Although there are many benefits to renting in Ottawa, there are also a few downsides to consider. We recommend that you take a severe look at your long term life goals and consider some reasons as to why buying might be a better option for you.

- Rules and regulations

- It sometimes feels like you have to follow so many rules when you're renting rather than when you own your home. For example, as a tenant, you have to follow the rules about guests, which you can read more about on Surex. You may have more flexibility when you own the home rather than running things by your landlord!

- Again, building equity!

● Although building equity can take some time, why not start now? Many people argue that renting a home is merely throwing away money because you could be spending all of that time and money building equity on a place that you own. 

● Each time you make a mortgage payment, the money you owe decreases while your equity grows. 

- Money, money, money

● Though it may seem cheaper to rent when looking at the first few years, the long term shows that buying a home could be better.

● As the interest portion of your mortgage payment decreases, the interest will be lower than the rent you could be paying! Your mortgage costs are also fixed and predictable, while rent could fluctuate unexpectedly.  

Overall, we can't decide for you! The choice to rent or buy in Ottawa has much more to do with your specific short and long term plans than anything else. 

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