HELP! Should I buy or Rent ?

Asked by Natberry, 11203 Wed May 5, 2010

I'm planning on moving to State College, PA to begin my PhD and the idea of paying rent makes me sick! I won't be making tons of money while there but I'm expecting to be there for at least 4 years. I was considering buying a townhouse or Condo and when I graduate & begin working I can rent it to people that are moving to the area. I'd prefer a townhouse or condo for many reasons one being: I don't want to shovel snow or cut grass while I'm working on this degree.

This will be my first home and I will most likely be bringing my mother along with me. I currently work in NJ and I make about 45k per year, have I saved that amount....NO I haven't. I know I've missed out on the 8K tax credit but I'd like to take advantage of the low interests rates if I can. I plan to move in August and I just need some honest advice about the situation. Is renting the better option since I'll be living off of my stipend (less that 17k) and student loans?


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Robert Denner, Both Buyer And Seller, State College, PA
Sat Jun 15, 2013
We consider the same thing when we were relocating to State College. Our problem was we had 3 dogs so our options for renting were very limited. We decided to buy and now I am so glad we did.
1 vote
Chris Turley, Agent, State College, PA
Fri Jun 27, 2014
Hi Natberry,
This is one of the million dollar questions. Rent vs. buy?? Many factors should be taken into consideration when determining whether you should rent or buy; ie; how long you might stay in an area, your ability to get a mortgage, etc., your monies available for down payment and closing costs, etc. Having said that I would be happy to do some simple calculations for you to determine your estimated buying power. It is, however, most important that if you feel buying is your best option that you get pre-approved by a reliable Mortgage Professional. Hope this helped, Chrfis
0 votes
Sally Bulavko, Agent, State College, PA
Wed Aug 14, 2013
That is ultimately a decision that only you can make. That said, it is just such a great time to buy right now with interest rates that are so low. Plus, as I am sure you have noticed by now, it is not uncommon for the cost of a rental in our area to exceed what you could expect to pay for a property that you own!

Home prices just outside of State College tend to be much lower than those inside. I suggest that you work with a REALTOR who can help show you around the different areas so that you can find a property that suits your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Camp Hill, PA
Sat Jun 15, 2013
You answered your own question with rent making you sick, as it should. If you do buy a town home make sure that you are allowed to rent in the future. Some HOA's will not allow you to rent. Find a competent Realtor in your area and have him find you the home you love and make the investment if you are comfortable and able to. Best of luck in your search and your PHD.
0 votes
Matt Cover, Agent, State College, PA
Wed Nov 7, 2012
Considering our rental rates in State College(Have you checked Craig's list?), current interest rates and the historically stable Real Estate environment here, you would have to really look at purchasing comparing to renting. I base this on the fact that a house payment for a 2 bedroom town home or condo would be similiar to rent(or less) in most cases. Prior to going any further, the final answer comes down to what you do have to put toward the purchase and what type of financing you qualify for. There are some loans that require little to no downpayment, I'd be happy to refer a local lender if you'd like more information. Good luck!
0 votes
sarah144, Home Buyer, State College, PA
Fri May 20, 2011
I am in the same situation and wanted to see what you decided and what you would recommend! I am having a hard time finding a rental and it seems silly to throw away money to rent. I would love to hear what you decided and how it went! Thanks! :)
0 votes
Karen Krupa, Agent, State College, PA
Thu Oct 28, 2010
With today's interest rates so low, I think it is in your best interest to buy, eventhough you only plan to be here for 4 years. Rents are high here and I would be happy to show you the money you would save by buying a home, if you have the funds to do it.

You can contact me at for additional information
0 votes
Linda White, , Huntingdon, PA
Thu May 6, 2010
Investing in real estate in State College is a great idea because we have a very stable economy here, largely due to the presence of PSU and the jobs it creates. Of course you understand the concept of loosing money when renting and gaining equity if you purchase property. The bigger question may be your financing. First of all, will you be able to obtain a mortgage based on you income-to-debt ratio. Second, will you comfortable with the monthly payment, which will be based on the purchase price, less any downpayment you might have. May I suggest you contact a local lender? Here are a few names...Jeff Shoemaker at Wells Fargo,; Theresa Cummins at Mortgage Source,; Libby Gretzler at Jersey Shore State Bank,
As an agent, I represent many first-time homebuyers. I would be pleased to assist you with anything further. Please feel free to contact me at LindaWhitePa or cellular 814-571-0804. Once you determine your price range, I can email you some suggested townhome/condo possibilities. When you arrive in State College, I would gladly meet with you and serve as your buyer agent.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed May 5, 2010
A decision only you can make based on your wants, needs and lifestyle--It’s all about costs and lifestyle. Costs—financing v. moving-in, mortgage v. rent, repairs v. upkeep. Lifestyle—stability v. mobility, predictability v. flexibility, equity v. freedom from debt. It used to be all about equity. Now, there are other variables to consider in the balancing of the buy/rent equation--again a decison only you can make.
0 votes
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