Oh, to be able to have house of your own to put holes in the walls to hang photos and to paint walls at will! Jane Hodges, author of "Rent vs. Own," talked to Tess about when it's prudent to rent and when to buy.

Her first piece of advice is an attitude check. A house of one's own elicits very emotional responses from people, which leads them to rationalize larger mortgage payments than they can handle for that perfect kitchen and white picket fence. She recommends making a budget and then seeing if a home is a possibility and shopping for one within that budget. Of course, if you aren't going to be staying in a place for more than a year, renting makes the most sense.

And the housing market crash may have diminished this impulse, but Hodges also reminds buyers not to view their home as an investment. Also, she suggests home buyers view their homes as a business, so replacing an old stove? That's just upkeep, not something that adds value to the home.

For more advice, click on the audio player above.

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