Have you ever wondered why the hell anyone would use a "Rent vs Buy Calculator" to see what kind of value there is in purchasing a home? How do you read them anyway?
The tool is pretty easy to use. You plug in the amount you would spend on a home purchase and what you spend on rent. Then, you can get some ideas on what length of time it may be to rent at that price versus purchase.
On average, people move more frequently now than they used to ... so, it's worth looking in to. If you are planning on living in one spot for just a year or two, renting may make sense ... but even sticking around for three to five years may make it more sensible to consider purchasing.
Remember, there are tax incentives to owning property. While homes can certainly (as we all know) go down in value ... there's also some pretty big upside that you could realize over time.
There is no tool out there that can make decisions for you BUT there's plenty of fun things to kick around that may help you in making a decision.
These calculators are a great starting point ... then looking at your monthly expenses is another.
If you kick some ideas around on a calculator like this and become inspired, I would highly suggest also considering getting pre-qualified for a loan with a reputable lender. There's never an obligation to buy a house, just because you get pre-qualified. That said, it's hard to plan for your future purchase if you don't know what your purchase power is now ... compared to what you'd need it to be (if it's not there) to buy the home you want. It's all about planning and there are a lot of tools out there to help you with that. So, explore and have fun.
Contacting a Realtor® is a great place to start as well. If you are afraid to talk to one because you're not ready now and you think that you'll just end up on a spam campaign until you buy ... give me a call and I'll help you out. I don't think people talk enough about the potential possibilities before making a big move (like purchasing a home) and unlike many, I'm willing to dedicate time to you ... even if you are not quite ready to jump in the game.
In the mean time, you can check out THIS great calculator to start sparking your curiosity.
Happy hunting and I hope we have a chance to shake hands sometime soon!