How to decide whether to rent or buy a home - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

To rent, or to buy?

It seems that every day more and more of us are waking up from the "American dream" of owning our own home.

According to numbers from the feds, the percentage of Americans who own a home dropped to 65.9 percent last year - the lowest it's been since early 1998.

And according to the people at Morgan Stanley, once you pull mortgage delinquencies out of the mix, the home ownership rate drops to just 59.2 percent.

They blame falling home prices, limited mortgage credit and better rental options for the change in where we live.

So how do you decide if it's better for you to rent or buy?

Nathan Bachrach says to "look at your credit report first. If it's a mess and your score is much below 700, you're going to have a hard time getting a good interest rate. You're probably better off renting while you build your credit back up."

He also recommends that you think long and hard about how long you think you'll actually be in that house.  Anything less than five years and there's a good chance you'll lose money after you factor in your closing costs and all the fees.

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