Rent vs. Buy Calculator

Debating on whether to rent or buy your next home? Use this calculator to compare the net costs of renting vs. buying (including opportunity cost, tax breaks, and more) to help decide what’s the right move for you.

Rent vs. Buy Calculator

Debating on whether to rent or buy your next home? Use this calculator to compare the net costs of renting vs. buying (including opportunity cost, tax breaks, and more) to help decide what’s the right move for you.
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ZIP Code

Target Monthly Rent

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Target Home Price

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Available Down Payment

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Served in the U.S. military

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Rent vs. Buy Calculator Methodology

Our rent vs. buy calculator methodology compares the total cost of renting with the total cost of buying by looking at much more than a rent check or mortgage payment.

To calculate the cost of renting, we start with the monthly rent and add renter's insurance and a refundable security deposit.

To calculate the cost of buying, we start with the purchase price and calculate the initial down payment and buyer closing costs; the monthly mortgage payment and other recurring costs like maintenance, property taxes, and insurance; income tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes; and the final mortgage payment, sales proceeds, and seller closing costs. These costs depend on numerous assumptions, like your mortgage rate, your income tax rate, how long you stay in a home, and local home price appreciation: we provide baseline assumptions that we encourage you to tailor to your personal situation.

Finally, we use a net present value (NPV) calculation to compare the total costs over time of renting versus buying, and to account for opportunity cost of money.

We regularly publish our Rent versus Buy report for the U.S. and the 100 largest metros on the Trulia Trends blog.

Should I Rent or Buy? More Things to Consider

A rent vs. buy calculator can tally up the total costs of renting and buying. But for most people, there’s more to it than that. Here’s a look at other factors to consider when deciding between renting vs. buying.
  • Down Payment

    Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles of buying. Regardless of whether buying is a better decision, if you don’t have a down payment, it may just not be possible.

  • Predictability

    With renting, you have little control over how much your rent payments will increase. Homeownership, on the other hand, offers the predictability of a steady monthly payment.

  • Savings

    Buying a home is a major financial move that comes with a ton of upfront costs. If you’d be completely draining your savings in order to buy, perhaps renting is the better call for now.

  • Maintenance

    As a homeowner, you never know when you’ll have to replace a roof or fix a leaky drain. If you’d rather have a landlord deal with all the extra maintenance, perhaps you’d prefer renting.

  • Freedom

    Renters have a level of freedom that homeowners don’t. Sure, renting requires a lease. But if you are unable to sell your home, you may be unable to pack up and move to, say, Tahiti.

  • Ownership

    Once you pay off a mortgage, the place is yours. But rent payments will never stop. Plus, you can’t really put a dollar amount on the sense of satisfaction you may get from owning.

  • Location

    When asking “Should I rent or buy?” be sure to consider where you want to live. In some areas, renting can allow you to live in a neighborhood where may not be able to afford to buy.

  • Customization

    If you dream of making bigger changes to your home than just a fresh coat of paint, you may prefer buying. Just make sure to budget for home remodeling in your home search.

  • When You’ll Move

    This can vary by market, but as a general rule of thumb, the longer you’ll live in home, the more sense it will make to buy because your upfront costs are spread out over time.

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Disclaimer:This calculator is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It relies on assumptions and information provided by you regarding your goals, expectations and financial situation. All figures are hypothetical and may not be accurate indicators of historical or current performance. This calculator does not take into account individual circumstances and should not be relied upon in any way as the sole source of information.