Renting vs. Buying in Seattle: Which is Right for You?

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Seattle is a booming city with a hot real estate market. With its increasingly growing economy and the great lifestyle that it offers, it’s no wonder that so many people have been deciding to move here. But, from choosing the right neighborhood in Seattle to getting a wish list for your new home in order, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the process of moving to Seattle. However, one of the first dilemmas you have to solve is the “renting vs. buying in Seattle dilemma.”

Benefits of renting in Seattle

Lower initial investment 

In most cases, if you decide to rent a home in Seattle, your upfront payment/initial investment will consist of the first and last month’s rent payment and a security deposit. Considering the fairly high rent costs in Seattle, you still shouldn’t expect this to be a small investment. But, when you compare it to the down payment and closing costs of purchasing a home in Seattle, the initial cost of renting starts to look like nothing. This means that if you’re working with a limited budget or don’t have a huge cash reserve yet, renting will benefit you in the short term. It’ll give you time to accrue the money you need to purchase a home later on in your life. 

Reduced maintenance stress

If you’re a renter in Seattle, you can count on the benefit of being relieved of the burden of ongoing maintenance. Whenever something breaks or needs repair in your rental home, you must call your landlord, and it’ll be taken care of. You won’t be financially responsible for home upgrades and repairs like new roofs and windows or upgraded plumbing. The one caveat here is that if you’re delegating the repairs to your landlord, you won’t be in charge of the timeline of the property repair. In other words, if you want a door to stop creaking or opening by itself, you’ll be stuck with the way it is now until the property owner decides they are ready to fix it. 


Becoming a renter in Seattle can provide you with great flexibility. As a renter, you have more freedom to change your living situation quickly. If you find a better housing option or suddenly need to move away for work (or, frankly, any other reason), you can achieve that quickly without a huge investment loss. All you have to do is give your lease termination notice, pack your things up, and move on with your life. 

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Benefits of buying in Seattle

Long-term savings

One of the biggest benefits of homeownership to remember when thinking about the renting vs. buying in Seattle dilemma is that it can offer you long-term savings. It’s all too common for people to focus on the initial savings of renting in Seattle, and forget that, in the long term, buying can save you hundreds of dollars per month. This is because, even with maintenance and property tax costs, if your down payment is strong enough, your set monthly mortgage rate can be much lower than the average monthly rent price in Seattle. When buying a home in Seattle, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage, which essentially locks in your monthly payments for a set amount of time. This can be extremely beneficial in a hot rental market like Seattle, where yearly rent increases are common.

Building equity

Even if the home you find isn’t able to offer you a mortgage payment that is less than the average rent in Seattle, there are still huge financial benefits to buying. The long-term investment of buying a home in such a desired area can have a fantastic payoff. Think of it like this. Whenever you pay rent, you’re investing in someone else’s future. In other words, you’re paying for their investment. However, if you buy a home, you’re building equity within your asset and increasing the value of your property. 

Being solely responsible for ongoing maintenance, repairs, and upgrades can be scary, especially financially. However, there’s still some benefit to that. Not only are you improving your living experience, but you’re also investing all of those finances and work into something you own. Everything you did to improve that property will help you get a higher return and better property value once it’s time to sell. 

Less house-hunting stress

The Seattle rental market is highly competitive. This means that finding the perfect home for the perfect rental price can be extremely hard and stressful. People tend to rush into decisions (usually wrong ones) out of desperation or fear that they won’t find anything else.

Buying a home in Seattle takes all of this stress away. While the market is still fairly competitive, it’s a lot easier to find what you want and negotiate a price that you deem reasonable to pay. Additionally, the simple thought of the fact that buying a home is such a huge investment and that you’ll be stuck staying there for a long time tends to slow people down when it comes to making choices. The lack of the feeling of being rushed into decisions by the highly competitive market gives you the ability to think things through a lot better and helps you make much better choices for your future. 

Long-distance buyers

Buying a home in Seattle also greatly benefits people who are looking to buy from afar. For example, if you live in Florida and you’re looking to buy a home in Seattle, it’ll be a lot easier to handle the stress of long-distance moving from FL to WA and house hunting if you’re not in a constant rush. After you find your perfect home, all that’s left is to team up with moving experts and get yourself settled into your new home. 

Tax benefits

This is something that can be considered a bit of an additional aid to homeowners who buy in Seattle. While on the other hand, it could also be thought of as one of the biggest benefits of owning a home in Seattle. There are several deductions available for homeowners in Seattle. One of the biggest possible benefits is that you might be able to deduct your interest rate (depending on the situation). 

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Signs you should be renting

You don’t plan on settling down in Seattle 

One of the biggest signs that renting is the right solution to the renting vs. buying in Seattle dilemma is that you aren’t planning to settle down here yet. Whether you are just moving for work or education or want to live in Seattle as a transition period, the flexibility renting offers you should be your deciding factor.

You can’t afford a down payment yet

If you live on a lower income and either have to make a down payment lower than 20%, buying a home in Seattle wouldn’t be such a wise financial decision. The investment could have you losing money in the end. Remember that having a lower income doesn’t necessarily imply that you won’t be able to afford to buy a home. You may still be able to. But you’ll have to budget a lot more carefully.

Your income can’t handle surprise expenses 

The process of buying a home can be pretty unpredictable. If you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, your income might not be able to support surprise and hidden expenses. For example, you might find a home that seems perfect and pay for a home inspection, only to find that the home has unacceptable structural flaws. At that point, you have to scrap the entire purchase and be in the red regarding expenses. If you’re still set on buying, however, experts from Nationwide Moving Services advise you to budget carefully and in detail and think about every possible expense, from real estate agents to moving and storage expenses. 

Signs you’re ready to buy

Stable career

Having a stable career in a sector that they plan on sticking to is one of the first signs that a person is ready to purchase a home. If you think your long-term professional future is in Seattle, buying a home here is for you.

You feel like you’ll be able to handle the upkeep 

Unlike living as a renter, when you buy a home, you have to handle all of the maintenance. This can be extremely stressful, especially if this is your first time owning a home. However, if the prospect of building equity and investing in an asset of your own through regular maintenance, upkeep, and upgrades outweighs the fear of being left to your own devices, then it’s time to buy.

You’re looking to settle down 

If your goal is to settle down and/or start a family in Seattle, buying is the right choice for you. The long-term stability that homeownership provides can be invaluable to families, pensioners, and all others who plan on settling down in one place.

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Making the choice is up to you

Ultimately, making the right choice regarding the renting vs. buying in Seattle dilemma is up to you. You just have to carefully do all of the necessary calculations and consider everything we discussed in this article in detail. As a final tip – Once you make your choice, remember to properly prepare for what that choice entails. For example, if you decide that renting is the right choice for you, make sure to do some extra research on rental living, like tips on how to protect yourself as a renter or local laws regarding your situation.

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