Rent or Buy a House

Reader Question: I’m accepting a new job out of state. My wife and I will be in this new area for at least two years, and we’re not sure if we should rent or buy a house.

dave_ramsey Most of the time, as long as you’re financially ready for such a big investment, buying a house is a good move. But if I’m in your situation, and I’m not sure if it’s a long-term thing, I’m going to rent until I see what the future holds.

It seldom makes a lot of sense to live in a place for two or three years and sell it, unless you get a ridiculously good buy at purchase and are able to sell for retail without any trouble. Even though the economy is finally, slowly turning around somewhat, I’m not sure that most properties in the current marketplace would go up enough in value in only two years to offset your cost of sale.

You’re in a situation similar to lots of military families I help. Often, they’ll be stationed somewhere for just two or three years. They’ll buy something, they can’t get it sold, and they end up with rental properties all over the country. Believe me, that wasn’t their initial plan. Playing long-distance landlord is a pain in the rear!

Rent for now. Then, if you two decide you like the new job and new surroundings — and it turns out you’re going to be there for a good, long while — start checking out the area for a nice home.

Dave Ramsey

Dave is the author of The New York Times best-selling book Financial Peace. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show, and is a regular guest on television. All of his financial counseling is based on biblical truths. You can hear Dave from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays, on WLWI 1440 AM or online at Send your questions to He resides with his wife Sharon and their three children, Denise, Rachel, and Daniel, in Nashville, Tennessee.