Readynest's own rent or buy calculator told me that renting at my current rate ($800/month) would be better for my bottom line over 7 years than buying a $250,000 home with a $10,000 down payment.
But because of the reasons listed above, I've been thinking about moving (again) to a larger apartment that can address some of my concerns. To make a true comparison, I need to compare owning a home to renting an apartment that would meet my new thirtysomething standards.
In my neighborhood, an apartment like that would end up costing around $1,600 a month – double my current rent, but still affordable for me. When I plug that number into the calculator to compare the costs of buying vs renting, buying a $250,000 home with a $10,000 down payment would save me $58,147 over 7 years compared to renting.
The lightbulb finally went off, and now I'm excited about the prospect of finding a home that I can settle into, with plenty of room for my new cat (and litter box, and board games) to boot.