How to Figure Out If You Should Buy or Rent Your Home, According to a Financial Expert

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We’ve all heard the same old story about how millennials will *never* own homes due to oat milk lattes and avocado toast stealing all their savings.

But if you feel you're on solid financial ground, the real question that continues to pop up for women everywhere—or at least at our recent Wellness Collective event in San Francisco—is how do you even know when you’re ready to buy, or should stick to renting?

“If you’re just crushing it financially, don’t wait on your life to buy a house,” recommends Natalie Schnuck, managing director at First Republic Bank. Translation: Don't wait on a relationship or a new career if you feel secure in your financial situation and you’re ready for that step—just go for it.

And if you are ready to take the leap and claim some bricks, Schnuck suggests doing the research. Figure out your price range, the distance from your work, and the schools that are in the area if you plan on adding (or currently have) tiny members in your family. As for the financial part of the home-owning equation, you’ll need 25 percent of your home’s value ready for a down payment, according to Schnuck.

To the rest of you who aren’t ready to buy a home, guess what? You’re not doing anything wrong. “Rent gives you flexibility—it’s okay to rent,” Schnuck says. “You’re not throwing money away, you’re saving stress and saving money.” You can have your apartment and your latte, too.

Lastly, Schnuck recommends only spending 35 percent of your take home pay (after taxes) on your rent. If you live in an expensive city and definitely are above that percentage, don't beat yourself up—just try and consider other ways to balance your bottom line and look at your finances honestly. “Own your financial wellness, because nobody else will," says Schnuck. "Reality eliminates anxiety.”

Want more advice like this—across the entire wellness spectrum? Join us at our next Wellness Collective event in New York City  for workshops, learnings, and vibes from the experts.

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