The best argument in favor of buying a house or apartment rather than simply renting is that over the years rents rise but a mortgage always falls. Well, almost always. At the time of writing there are said to be around half a million homes in the UK with negative equity, which can cause big problems if the homeowner wants or needs to move.
It always sounds better to own, but renting can have distinct advantages even for less expensive items. Nowadays, computers are if not dirt cheap then considerably less expensive than they used to be, but back in the early 1990s it made sense for small companies to rent rather than buy because of little things like an on-site warranty.
Next to a house, the most expensive piece of property the average person is ever likely to buy is one with four wheels. Owning your own does give you the freedom to come and go as and where you please, but this is a freedom that has a price. If you need to commute by train, do you really need a car to take you to the station and perhaps to shop at the weekend? Might it not make better sense to trade it in for a bicycle or even walk to the station, and use a mini-cab/taxi a couple of times a week?
For longer distances or foreign trips it makes more sense to look for the best car rental deals than to drive your own. There is also car-sharing and car-pooling which are run either commercially, or by private citizens in their own cars. In Europe and the UK generally where the price of petrol (gas) is considerably higher than in the United States, this concept can lead to considerable saving.
[The above article was published originally by Yahoo! Voices, March 10, 2014].
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