Mortgages

Should I rent or buy a home?

A So Money podcast listener asks the question that's on all of our minds.

This story is part of So Money (subscribe here), an online community dedicated to financial empowerment and advice, led by CNET Editor at Large and So Money podcast host Farnoosh Torabi.

It's one of the most popular personal finance questions I receive: Should I rent or buy a home? The latest version of this head-scratcher comes from So Money podcast listener Sebastian, who writes:

"My wife and I have a monthly salary of about $5,000. We are moving to a new city where it's very expensive to rent. We would be paying about $2,000 a month in rent. $24,000 a year… Could this money be better off invested in buying an apartment?"

It's both a deeply personal question and one that requires a great deal of number-crunching to land on an answer. As I share in the video embedded above, the responsibilities that come with homeownership are not for everyone. You have to first assess your personal goals and whether you have the lifestyle to support it. It's also a critical money question, as a home purchase can easily be the biggest financial transaction we'll make and trying to decide whether to rent or buy is not an apples-to-apples comparison.