I'm looking at the option of buying vs. renting. Is anyone else contemplating this? Have any of the older students gone this route? I've crunched the numbers, and it seems to be a financially wise decision. However, any advice would be great.
This can be a great move, with a few serious caveats:
Yes, location is a very serious qualifier. Prices have fallen in Boston, and elsewhere, but even so prices are borderline exorbitant in most coastal cities, minus Florida and now the Gulf. (I got in trouble in Boston with my bad attitude--imagine that!--when I was appalled at how expensive most homes were for what I considered to be far less value than elsewhere in the country. Sure, there were great properties in Newton and Sudbury and Weston and hidden away in every town, but much of the living was really rather crowded and noisy and dirty, all at high prices.)
More importantly, are you absolutely, positively going to stay in Boston? If so, maybe. If not, beware. If the market improves, then you'll of course do well in being able to sell at a profit, or at least (minus costs), even. If the market falls, however, you can find yourself stuck. Because of my reaction I decided not to even consider buying, and I'm glad I did. Now, it would be an easier case to make for buying.
Finally, unless you're buying an apartment with zero maintenance, the last thing you need to worry about in your first year is a busted boiler, leaky roof, and so on. If your spouse or significant other will take care of that, okay, but don't sign on for a troublesome property (especially if you have to because of cost). Your first priority in law school has to be law school.