Should You Rent or Buy a House in Lakeland

Are you thinking about making Lakeland your home? After deciding which city to move to, you need to decide whether to rent or buy a house in Lakeland. It’s a big choice and certainly not one to rush. Whether you’re moving for a new job, need more space, or simply looking for a change of scenery, it’s crucial to weigh your options carefully. If you’re in the process of relocating, consider reaching out to Best Movers Florida, so that they can connect you to the best movers in the area.

What Is the Lakeland Housing Market Like?

Lakeland, located in the heart of Florida, offers the typical suburban charm and convenient access to major cities like Tampa and Orlando. But before you decide to settle here, let’s dive into the current housing situation. As of the latest census, Lakeland has a population of approximately 120,000 people. The city is known for its spacious layout, which contributes to a lower population density than many other urban areas in Florida. This can be a big plus if you’re seeking a bit more elbow room.

Picture of a couple holding keys
The housing market has options for both renters and buyers



In terms of housing, about 45% of Lakeland residents are renters, while the remaining 55% own their homes. This ratio reflects a healthy balance, offering viable options for both potential renters and buyers. The median home price in Lakeland currently stands around $321,000, which is relatively affordable compared to the soaring prices in larger metropolitan areas. On the other hand, the median rent price is around $1,800 per month, making renting a feasible option for those not ready to purchase.

If you’re leaning towards buying, it’s helpful to connect with local real estate experts and explore various packing services in Florida to aid in your move. They can provide valuable insights and assistance, ensuring your transition into a new home is as seamless as possible.

Benefits of Buying a Home in Lakeland

So, you’re thinking about whether to rent or buy a house in Lakeland? Let’s explore why purchasing might be a good step. Owning a home in Lakeland offers several appealing benefits, key among them being the opportunity to build equity. As you pay down your mortgage, you’re essentially investing in your future by increasing your personal net worth. Also, consider the stability and security that comes with homeownership. Having a place you can truly call your own means you won’t have to deal with unexpected lease terminations or rent hikes. Plus, Lakeland’s real estate market has shown a steady appreciation in home values over the years, which could mean profit should you decide to sell later on.

Seeing as the average home size in Florida is 1,694 square feet or less, many people opt for renting storage units. Thanks to the demand, many companies offer storage services in Florida, leaving you with options to choose from, in case you ever need additional space.

Cons of Buying a Home in Lakeland

However, buying a home isn’t without its challenges. Initially, the costs can be substantial. Between the down payment, closing costs, and other fees, the upfront financial commitment is significant. For example, if you purchase a home priced at the median of $321,000, just the down payment could be anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000, depending on the terms of your mortgage.

Once you move in thanks to one of the best movers in Lakeland, the responsibilities of homeownership can be intimidating. You’ll be in charge of all maintenance and repairs, which means both time and money. Unlike renting, where a landlord handles most repairs, owning a home means you’re the go-to person for fixes, whether it’s a leaky faucet or a broken air conditioner.

Picture of a person holding keys
No matter if you rent or buy a house in Lakeland, there will be good and bad sides

Benefits of Renting a Home in Lakeland

  • Flexibility to move: Typically, lease agreements in Lakeland last for one year. This short-term commitment is ideal for those who may need to relocate due to job changes or personal preferences. Unlike homeownership, you won’t be tied down, giving you the freedom to explore different neighborhoods or even cities without the burden of selling a property.
  • No maintenance hassles: One of the most significant benefits of renting is the lack of maintenance responsibilities. If the air conditioning fails or the refrigerator stops working, simply contact your landlord or property management company. This not only saves you from the unexpected costs associated with major repairs but also eliminates the need to spend time coordinating these tasks.
  • Lower upfront costs: Choosing to rent can significantly reduce initial expenses. Unlike buying a home, which often requires a hefty down payment plus closing costs, renting typically requires only a security deposit and the first month’s rent. This makes moving to Lakeland more accessible and less financially burdensome.
  • Predictable monthly expenses: Renting means your monthly housing expenditure is fixed. The rent amount agreed upon in your lease is what you’ll pay, shielding you from the fluctuating costs associated with home ownership such as repair bills and property tax increases. This predictability aids in budgeting and financial planning, allowing you to allocate funds to other priorities like savings or entertainment.
  • Opportunity to explore: Renting first can be a wise strategy if you’re new to Lakeland. It gives you a chance to get to know different areas of the city without a permanent commitment, helping you decide where you might want to buy a home in the future when you’re more settled or certain of your preferences in neighborhood and type of community.

For those who may need to move frequently, whether within Lakeland or to other cities, local movers in Lakeland can assist with each relocation, making each move smoother and less stressful.

Drawbacks of Renting a Home in Lakeland

However, renting isn’t perfect and comes with its own set of drawbacks. While you’re not tied down with a mortgage, you also won’t benefit from building equity. Your rent payments go straight to your landlord, and you won’t see that money again. Over time, you might find yourself spending a significant amount on rent without any return on investment. Here are some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Potential rent increases: Depending on the market, your rent could increase when your lease renews.
  • Limited personalization: You might have restrictions on how much you can alter or decorate your rented home.
  • Feeling of impermanence: Renting can sometimes feel temporary, which might affect how much you feel “at home.” Even if you hired long distance movers in Lakeland and came here from afar to make a home of your own, renting likely wont give you this feeling.
Picture of a sign
Renting won’t make you truly feel at home

How to Decide Whether to Rent or Buy in Lakeland?

Deciding whether to rent or buy a house in Lakeland can be complex, but it’s crucial to evaluate your personal and financial circumstances carefully. If you see lots of businesses hire commercial movers Lakeland and buying commercial property here, this means that the market is healthy! But here are some steps to guide you through making this significant decision:

  1. Assess your financial health: Look at your savings, debts, and credit score. High debt or a low credit score can make securing a favorable mortgage challenging.
  2. Consider your long-term plans: How long do you plan to stay in Lakeland? Buying may be better if you’re settling down, but renting offers more flexibility if you might move again soon.
  3. Evaluate local market conditions: Understand the trends of the housing market in Lakeland. Are home prices rising? Is the rent more manageable compared to buying?
  4. Consult professionals: Talk to real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and financial advisors to gather expert opinions and data.

Financial Planning Tips for Home Buyers and Renters in Lakeland

  • Budgeting for your new home: Whether you’re buying or renting in Lakeland, setting a realistic budget is crucial. Potential buyers should aim to spend no more than 28% of their gross income on housing costs. This translates to a monthly mortgage payment of around $1,500, which aligns closely with the median mortgage cost in Lakeland. When budgeting, also account for utilities, maintenance, or homeowners association fees, which can add several hundred dollars to monthly expenses.
  • Saving for a down payment: For homebuyers, accumulating a down payment is often the biggest hurdle. In Lakeland, a 20% down payment on a median-priced home would be about $64,000. To save effectively, consider automatic transfers to a savings account specifically set up for this purpose. Exploring local and state first-time homebuyer assistance programs can also provide opportunities for down payment support.
  • Emergency funds are essential: Both renters and buyers should establish an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, such as repairs or job loss. A good rule of thumb is to have three to six months of living expenses saved, providing a financial buffer in challenging times.
Picture of a person trying to decide whether to rent or buy a house in Lakeland
Financial planning is important, no matter the decision you make

Mortgage Options in Lakeland

There are different types of mortgages available:

  • In Lakeland, potential homebuyers can choose from several types of mortgages. Fixed-rate mortgages are popular for their stability, locking in a rate for the duration of the loan, typically 15 or 30 years. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) might offer lower initial rates but can fluctuate, leading to higher payments. For those looking at more expensive properties, jumbo loans are also available, though they come with stricter credit requirements.
  • Choosing the right mortgage: It’s essential to compare offers from multiple lenders to find the best rate. Given Lakeland’s competitive banking environment, shopping around can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Consider not only the interest rate but also fees and other costs. Utilize online calculators to estimate your monthly payments for different scenarios.
  • Local elnding institutions: Local credit unions and banks in Lakeland often offer competitive mortgage rates with more personalized service. Institutions like MIDFLORIDA Credit Union and Lakeland Bank have tailored programs for first-time buyers, which can include lower down payments and grants for closing costs.
Picture of a calculator and notepad on top of dollar bills
There are various options to choose from

Common Mistakes in the Home Buying and Renting Process in Lakeland

Choosing a place to live in is no small feat. Because of that, many people make one or more of the following mistakes:

  • Overlooking additional costs: Many first-time buyers in Lakeland fail to account for all the costs associated with buying a home, such as closing costs, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses. Renters might not consider renters insurance or utility costs, which aren’t typically included in the rent.
  • Not using a real estate agent: While it’s tempting to save on agent fees, navigating Lakeland’s real estate market without a professional can lead to costly mistakes. A good agent can provide invaluable insights about specific neighborhoods and help negotiate better terms, whether you’re buying or renting.
  • Skipping home inspections: Some buyers may skip this step to speed up the buying process, especially in a competitive market. However, in Lakeland, where older homes might have hidden issues like outdated plumbing or electrical systems, this can lead to expensive repairs down the line.
  • Failing to read contracts thoroughly: Both renters and buyers sometimes overlook the importance of reading and understanding all the terms in their lease or purchase agreements. It’s crucial to understand every aspect, from termination clauses and repair responsibilities to fee structures and rules about personalization.
Picture of a pen on a contract
Do your best to avoid the common mistakes

Will You Rent or Buy a House in Lakeland?

In the end, the decision to rent or buy a house in Lakeland comes down to your personal needs, financial situation, and future plans. Both options have their benefits, so consider what fits best with your lifestyle and goals. Rest assured that whatever you choose, our Lakeland residential movers will turn your plans into reality. Remember, whether you’re buying your first home or looking for a rental, making an informed choice will help ensure that you enjoy your new Lakeland home for years to come!

Latest Posts


“ I have had a wonderful.. ”

I have had a wonderful experience and I recommend these Florida movers to everyone who could really use a helping hand. Honestly, I do not know how I would have managed everything without them. Thank you so much!

Review Avatar

Linda Tennet

Review Stars