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Buy Vs. Rent

Is it Better to Buy or Rent in San Francisco?

It’s no secret that San Francisco real estate is a pricey commodity. The question, however, is this: is it better to buy or rent your home given these competitive conditions?

We’re a community that is constantly in flux, with property owners going in and out of the city for temporary residence – and sometimes longer-term stays out of the area. This presents a particular question for these people: is it better to keep a property that you own or rent a property in accordance with your needs?

Many homeowners decide that they want to actually move on to a home that is larger, more conveniently located, or both. This can sometimes be the birth of a landlord: they keep their current home and make a profit while moving on to a larger, more currently appealing option. However, others may see renting their own primary home, rather than becoming landlords, as the way to go since they don’t want to have to worry about upkeep and maintenance on not one but two residences.

If you’re considering renting versus owning in San Francisco, here are a few things you might want to think about before making a commitment in either direction:

  • There are many free rent versus buy calculators online that you can use to plug in your own financial figures. This will give you a more precise idea of what is most fiscally feasible for your individual situation.
  • If you plan to stay in your home for less than five years, it may be better to rent given that a longer residential term equates to fees being spread out over a longer time period, making this decision a better one in that case.
  • What is your tax picture? Given that property taxes and mortgage costs are significant – but at the same time deductible – depending on your financial picture this can certainly impact your decision as to whether you want to buy or rent. As The New York Times puts it: “The higher your marginal tax rate is, the bigger the
  • How much are you prepared to spend on maintenance and fees related to homeownership? If you’re a renter and your toilet overflows, you call your landlord. When you own, you are your own landlord, meaning you’d better get out that plunger. This is entirely your call.
  • If you choose to rent, know that that is not necessarily fee-free. At first you may pay an extra fee if you are renting through a management firm or broker, as well as a security deposit. That said, these costs are fairly negligible as opposed to the startup (and maintenance) costs of homeownership.

Still trying to decide between renting and buying in the San Francisco Bay Area? I’m happy to help you come to a decision that’s right for the needs of you and your loved ones. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!