I’m always interested in the whole buy vs. rent debate, and I think that the answer to “which is best” depends on the situation. So here’s my story of why I (along with my ex-husband) bought a condo at age 21.
We were newly married, and had started out by renting a 1 bedroom apartment near the local university. We had a short lease, and when it was up they raised the rent. If I remember right, our rent was originally $365 per month, and they wanted to raise it to something like $395. Thirty bucks may not seem like much (especially now) but it was huge to us, especially considering that our grocery budget for a week was $10. So we pretty much needed to move.
I started combing through the newspapers looking for somewhere to live, and quickly realized that we could BUY a 2 bedroom condo for less than we were paying in rent. Including association fees. It was a no-brainer to me: twice as much room for about $30 bucks less a month than our ORIGINAL rent. Hm, time to buy.
Of course, there were people with concerns. This was in the late 1980’s when real estate had hit a downturn, and people worried that we wouldn’t be able to sell a condo if we needed to. What actually happened though was that we got a great deal (it was HUD) and lived in it for over 7 years. And it more than doubled in value during that time period. The association fees did increase, but not nearly what our rent would have over the same time period. And that’s the story of how I became a homeowner at age 21.