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I'm just starting out with a good job fresh out of college and signed a 12mth lease at an overpriced apt close to work. I'm trying to save up so that I hope to be able to buy something but had the following questions. Right now I am single with no kids and will probably be that way for at least 3-5yrs. Even though I have a pretty good salary, it doesn't seem like I'm saving much after car/401k/insurance/health insurance/utilities/rent/food/gas/etc. Anyway, I'm trying to think ahead to when my lease is up this December to plan for whether I should rent again or buy a place so...

1) what are the advantages and disadvantages of owning/renting?

I figure renting has much lower utilities/monthly fees, less maintenance costs, convenience while owning allows you to gain equity, deduct mortgage interest on taxes, actually own something, be able to offset the increased cost by renting out a room, etc.

However, with owning you also have to pay property taxes, homeowner's fees (which can be almost like a rental payment in some areas), maintenance is much more costly, and expenses/utilities are much more.

So what advantages of owning did I miss and does the mortgage deduction/renting out a room really outweigh the additional expenses and property taxes in all cases?

2) When i purchase a place, i will either be looking for a home/townhome which would be a commute from work OR buying a condo/townhome right in uptown. There are a lot of new developments in uptown Charlotte (including the mid and high-rise condos) which are really expensive per sq foot but will probably maintain really high property values right? I figure owning a condo right in uptown would allow me to rent out at least one bedroom or the whole thing and I could sell it after values went up (which they seem sure to do since Charlotte is growing so fast).

For example, there are 700sqft studio apt's and condos leasing for well over $1000/mth. Buying one of them a few years ago would have almost doubled your investment. Another building began taking pre-construction orders and the entire 30 floor building (each unit ranging from $150k to $1.5mil) sold out the first day. So any advice about purchasing in one of the high-rise condominium buildings? I figure it would be just like an apartment, my mortgage payment each month would be the same as apartment rent if I rented a 2nd bedroom out to another roommate, plus I'd be earning equity and get the tax deduction.

I am going to take a look at one of the places that is pre-construction but don't really know the ins and outs of buying a place like that since they are the builder, construction, and realtor basically so they have the advantage and they price them like cars with options and add-ons, etc. So I might just pass though and save up so I can get something I can actually afford that has more space.

Here's an example of one of the properties coming up that I might look at this week.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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