Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another perspective on the lease vs. buy debate

Many professional real estate associations in California publish or subscribe to standard forms documents/libraries.  Real estate agents routinely use standard forms from the California Association of Realtors.  In San Francisco our realtor association has its own purchase agreement forms and related documents.

These libraries of forms are created usually by committees of lawyers and practitioners with day to day experience in the field as well as expertise in local and state laws which affect real estate transactions, ownership and tenancy.

The San Francisco Apartment Association recently released its updated standard lease form.  As it points out in a recent article, they started publishing this form 25 years ago as a 4-page documents.  It has now grown to 17 pages!  And that doesn't include several addenda that it recommends depending on circumstances -- ranging from topics such as bedbugs to parking to pets to tobacco smoke disclosure.

By comparison, the standard purchase agreement from the San Francisco Association of Realtors is 7 pages long.  The California Association of Realtors purchase agreement form is 10 pages.

In the perennial debate over whether it's better to buy or rent (San Francisco throws many additional complex considerations into the mix), the difference between the length of a purchase agreement and a rental agreement provides a perspective you should consider, whether you're contemplating purchasing a single family home/condo, a multi-unit property, or if you're about to sign a lease.

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