Renting vs. Buying: Making the Right Decision for Military Families

For military families, the decision between renting and buying a home can be especially challenging due to frequent relocations and unique financial circumstances. Read on to delve into the nuances of renting versus buying, examining the benefits and drawbacks of each option. By understanding the true costs associated with each, military families can make informed decisions that best suit their lifestyles.

Benefits of Renting for Military Families


Military families often face frequent relocations. Renting allows for easy mobility without the commitment of selling a home.

Lower Upfront Costs: 

Renting typically requires a security deposit and possibly the first month’s rent, making it more accessible financially.

Less Responsibility: 

Landlords usually handle maintenance and repairs, reducing stress and unexpected expenses for renters.

No Market Risk: 

Renters are not affected by housing market fluctuations, providing financial stability.

Included Amenities: 

Many rental properties offer amenities like gyms, pools, and communal spaces at no extra cost.

Drawbacks of Renting for Military Families

No Equity Building: 

Rent payments do not contribute to homeownership, meaning no return on investment.

Potential Rent Increases: 

Landlords can raise rent prices, impacting long-term affordability.

Limited Personalization: 

Renters often have restrictions on modifying their living space.

Lease Restrictions: 

Breaking a lease early can result in penalties, which can be problematic with sudden relocations.

Less Stability: 

Renting can mean moving more frequently due to landlord decisions or changing rental markets.

Benefits of Buying for Military Families

Equity Growth: 

Mortgage payments build equity, providing a potential return on investment.


Owning a home offers long-term stability, which can be comforting amidst frequent relocations.


Homeowners have the freedom to renovate and personalize their space.

Potential Tax Benefits: 

Mortgage interest and property taxes may be deductible, reducing taxable income.

Rental Income Opportunity: 

If relocating, homeowners can rent out their property, generating additional income.

Drawbacks of Buying for Military Families

Higher Upfront Costs: 

Buying a home requires a significant down payment, closing costs, and other fees.

Maintenance and Repairs: 

Homeowners are responsible for all upkeep, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Market Risk: 

Property values can fluctuate, affecting the investment potential.

Less Flexibility: 

Selling a home can be challenging and time-consuming, especially with sudden military moves.

Financial Commitment: 

Monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance are long-term commitments.

Tips and Tools for Calculating True Costs

To make an informed decision, military families should consider the following tips and tools:

Use Online Calculators: 

Mortgage and rent calculators can help estimate monthly payments and compare costs.

Factor in Ancillary Expenses: 

Include maintenance, repairs, utilities, and potential rent increases in your budget.

Evaluate Market Conditions: 

Research local housing markets to understand trends and potential investment opportunities.

Consider Long-Term Plans: 

Align your housing decision with your long-term financial and personal goals.

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