Rent -v- Buy

This past week I advised one client and one consumer to rent rather than buy. Buying just didn’t seem to be the right thing to do for either of these people, for a variety of reasons for each.

The consumer said that she works with a Realtor from time to time and each time she sees this person, she is told to “buy, buy, buy,” “you’re wasting your money renting!” This may be true, but buying is not always “the” solution for everybody. Short-timers, those with uncertain job prospects, those with shaky credit … the reasons not to buy can be as long as the reasons to buy. As professionals, we damage our credibility by giving stock answers without analyzing each individual situation.

Hopefully, these people will remember my sage advice and candor and recommend me to their friends and colleagues. If not, I still feel I’ve done the right thing – that’s enough for me.

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  1. Jim Kimmons February 13, 2006 at 14:20


    As a REALTOR® who is currently renting due to recent life upheavels, I know from whence you come. And I seem to be constantly answering the question “If you’re a realtor, why are you renting?”

    It can have nothing to do with market conditions, it can just be a life condition. And we can only hope that our honesty is appreciated by those we advise to rent.

  2. Jim February 13, 2006 at 14:33

    Jim –

    Thank you for your words and for reading. What you say is very true. The market may or may not be in a bubble – I just think that always advising to “buy, buy, buy” threatens our impartiality with regards to our clients’ best interests.

    Also, I feel that all of this bubble talk has the potential to contribute to our seeing a self-fulfilling prophesy … but that’s another post.