The primary advantages of renting a house rather than buying it are mobility, reduced maintenance, less need for cash up front and lower overall costs. In most areas of the country, a person who plans to stay in one place less than five years comes out ahead by renting.
Buying a home requires a down payment of 10 to 20 percent, as well as fees for title services and closing costs of a mortgage loan, but renters can usually move in with the deposit of one month's rent. Since landlords usually remain responsible for maintenance, renters have fewer unexpected expenses beyond the rent. Renters also pay lower insurance costs, as they insure only their own property within the home, while buyers must carry insurance on the home itself while the mortgage is in force, and renters do not pay property taxes.
While the rental contract remains in force, the amount of rent is a fixed expense, unlike mortgage payments that can vary with changes in the amount of insurance fees and property taxes required to be held in escrow. Renting is also more flexible in accommodating changes in personal needs. When the lease is up, the renter can renew or move.