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Owning Up

To buy or not to buy? That's the hot-button question if you're renting your business location.

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This story appears in the August 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Next time you're writing a check for the rent, ask yourself "Would I be better off owning my business location?" With interest rates at near historic lows, the answer for a sizable number of entrepreneurs is: probably so. "If you have the opportunity to either rent or buy, absolutely buy," says Scott Crossman, president of Orlando, Florida, commercial real estate brokerage Crossman & Co. "This is a great time in the market when you can borrow money on very aggressive terms. In the majority of instances, that makes great sense."

Owning does offer many benefits. With each mortgage payment, you'll build equity in the property instead of just lining the landlord's pockets. That equity may be enhanced if the property value appreciates. And as the landlord, you control the space, deciding everything from what color to paint the building to which tenants-if any-to lease unused space to. You also control costs, since you can decide on financing and maintenance and upgrade schedules. And you won't be subject to rent hikes.

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