"Renting offers consumers flexibility and a financial advantage that buying and owning does not," Manni tells CNBC Make It. "But as these graphs indicate, the financial advantage to renting is often short-term.
"Over the long term, owning allows consumers to gain wealth by building equity in their home and often eventually allows them to move up to a larger, more spacious property down the line."
If you have to keep focusing on the short-term — if you're on a two-year work assignment, for example, or you plan on moving cities or changing careers in a couple of years — settling down may not be the best choice. But if you're feeling stable and ready to maintain your home for five years or more, buying might be for you.
If you're on the fence, NerdWallet's "rent vs buy calculator" may help you with the decision.
If you decide to buy, you'll want to use a mortgage calculator to figure out exactly how much home you can afford, have cash for a down payment and prepare for the hidden costsof owning a home. Next, read up on eight things to give up if you want to buy your first home, the No. 1 mistake homebuyers make and steps to take before buying.
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Don't miss: 3 signs you aren't ready to buy a home
Video by Richard Washington