Renting vs. Buying in Hawaii & Honolulu

Nationally, buying a home is typically more affordable than renting—that is, you get more for your money when you buy. Of course, there are numerous other benefits that come with buying a home, like pride of ownership and long-term equity. But what about in a notoriously high-cost area like Honolulu? Is it more beneficial to rent or to buy?

Here’s the lowdown on renting vs. buying in Hawaii.

The Pros and Cons of Renting vs. Buying in Hawaii

There are pros and cons to both renting and buying, and depending on your specific situation, one may be better for you. We’re not here to talk you into one or the other; we just want to give you the facts.

Buying is a Long-Term Investment

costs of renting vs. buying in hawaiiBuying a home is a terrific long-term investment. That doesn’t mean you have to stay the full 30 years of the typical American mortgage, but if you plan on staying 5 years or longer, the benefits of buying will typically outweigh those of renting.

Renting is Definitely More Flexible

packing a rental homeNeed to be mobile? Buying might not be the option for those who aren’t planning on staying put for a few years. If you need to be able to pack up and move at a moment’s notice, renting definitely has buying beat.

Buying Builds Equity

building home equity when buying a homeWhen renting a home, you’ll always be paying a landlord. When you buy a home, you aren’t simply lining someone else’s pocket—you’re building equity on your own investment. And with each payment you make, you’re getting a little closer to your last!

Bonus: Home ownership has some pretty great tax breaks and benefits, too.

Renting Can Be Cheaper

finding an affordable rental home when choosing between renting and buyingCompared month-to-month, the costs of buying and renting can be similar. But what about if the toilet leaks or a branch falls through the roof? Or even just the costs of regular maintenance, like having HVAC systems serviced or even mowing the lawn? These little costs can add up… but as a renter, you probably won’t be paying them.

Buying Offers Stability

calculating stability of payments for renting vs. buying a home in hawaiiWant to know what you’ll be paying in housing costs five years from now? Hint: it’s going to be about the same as you’re paying right now. Mortgage payments are a very stable, predictable cost, a benefit definitely not seen my renters.

Renting Can Change on a Whim

moving out of a rental house because the landlord is sellingIt’s not uncommon for rent prices to rise every time you sign a new lease to meet increased costs of living and real estate market prices. Add that up over, say, 5 years and you may be paying significantly more than you are now. There’s really no way of knowing. And what if your landlord decides to sell the home you’re currently living in or doesn’t want to rent it any more?

You’re the Boss When You Buy

making decisions about a home when you own itWant to paint your walls lime green or tear out that ugly carpet? Go for it! Want to add a kitchen island or retile the bathroom floor? No one’s going to stop you. When you buy, you don’t answer to any landlord and the home is yours to do with what you will.

There’s Very Little Responsibility When Renting

renting vs. buying in hawaii maintenance expensesOne of the biggest perks to renting is that there’s almost no responsibility. If something breaks or stops working, if there’s damage due to weather, if your roof is getting worn out, or even if your HOA decides to make some changes, it’s not your responsibility to make any changes. The money, time, and labor should be provided by your landlord.

Bonus: No responsibility typically means big financial savings.

Ready to Find Your Home in Honolulu?

Whether you’re renting or buying a home, we’re here to help you find it! Contact RE/MAX Honolulu today to learn more about O’ahu, explore its beautiful cities and neighborhoods, and to find your perfect place to call home.

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