Family (man, woman, girl) sitting together in a room with moving boxes making a roof from a packing box over their heads
Family, Home

Renting or buying? Options for UK families

This post looks at the options for families living in the UK. Weighing up the pros and cons for both renting and buying a family home. 

The options for families

Deciding on where you will live can feel like a huge responsibility. You do not want to make the wrong decision. There are so many things to consider, sometimes it can feel overwhelming. In this guide, we will look at the different options for renting a property or buying a property to help give you the information you need to make an informed decision.  

Renting a property

When renting a property there are both positives and negatives to consider. 


  • You are not responsible for fixing boilers or leaking roofs which can be very expensive.
  •  There are no large mortgage debts to pay
  • You do need to save up for a super large deposit. 
  • There are fewer costs involved than when buying a home.


  • The property will never belong to you. 
  • You need permission to make changes both inside and outside of the building.
  • Any work you do on the property ultimately benefits the landlord rather than you.
  • You usually have to be inspected annually so that the landlord can check that you are not destroying their house or breaking any rules. 
  • You may be restricted on where you live or the size of the property (social housing).
  • There is a chance you may be asked to leave should the landlord change their mind and want to sell the property (private renters).

Family Unpacking After Moving (man, woman and girl)

Privately renting

Privately renting is the term for renting your home from a landlord (a private individual or company). Rent can be high but this depends on the size of the property and the location. You are normally required to pay a deposit. This covers any damages to the property while you are there and then one or two months rent in advance depending on your landlord. 

Social housing

Social housing is the term for renting your home from the council or a housing association. It is harder to acquire one of these properties as the waiting lists can take years, with priority going to those with the greatest need. However, once you move in, as long as you pay your rent and do not embark on any antisocial behaviour you will never be asked to leave. 

Social housing is also much more affordable than privately renting or paying a large mortgage. An example of this is a family in Ipswich who are renting a three-bedroom, three-story townhouse from a housing association for £450 a month. A couple in Ipswich are privately renting a two-bedroom ground floor flat for £750 a month, so you can see a huge difference in pricing. 

Buying a property

Buying your own property can have a lot of advantages but it can also be a difficult process. This is  especially true for lower-income families. 



  • You will eventually own your own home
  • It can be seen as an investment or something to leave to your children
  • You can choose exactly which house you would like and the location.
  • Any improvements you make, directly benefit you. 
  • No one else has access to your property
  • Social stature. 
  • You can have pets, people stay over, do whatever you like! It gives you freedom. 


  • It is a very big commitment
  • It can be very hard to get onto the mortgage ladder
  • If anything breaks, you are responsible for paying for it to be fixed (there are insurances that you can pay to help cover costs).
  • You pay more than the cost of the home due to interest on the loan.
  • You will need a large deposit to put towards the mortgage, usually, at the very least it should be 5% of the value of the home that you are buying. 

Considering a mortgage?

If you are thinking of buying a home but worried that you may not be able to afford the repayments, there are some very handy online tools that can help you. You can find out an approximate amount that you would be paying back depending on the size of your mortgage and deposit. This helps you understand how much you can borrow and what your monthly payments will be so that you can plan and budget accordingly. There are also different government-backed options available to help low-income families get onto the housing market such as the first homes scheme and shared ownership.  

Man Carrying Boxes And Woman Holding A Box Of Plants ,

It is hoped that you have found this guide to the options for families renting or buying useful. It all comes down to individual circumstances and values. What is important to one family may not be for another. All you can do is what you believe to be best for your family and enjoy your home together.

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