We’ve considered buying a home a major milestone of financial and lifestyle achievement for years. It’s one of those steps that we all feel we need to take in order to be successful. However, I’ve been a homeowner, and I like renting better — even if I am “throwing money away.” (And I don’t think I’m throwing money away either. My investment returns beat the average appreciation on most homes in most areas of the country.)
While buying a home can be a great move for some people, it’s not the answer for everyone. Here are 3 reasons to consider renting:
1. You Value Flexibility
One of the reasons I like renting is the flexibility. While I don’t have the freedom to paint walls and remodel, I do have the flexibility to leave when I want, without worrying about selling the house and everything that comes with it.
I’m not into decorating or remodeling much, so the fact that I can’t do much more than hang a few pictures on the wall doesn’t bother me. What was very stressful was selling my home quickly when my then-husband got a new job on the other side of the country.
The flexibility to move when the lease is up (or even before, if you can afford the penalties that come with breaking a lease) is one that I prize. It allows me to make lifestyle choices that work for my son and me, without worrying about being tied down to one location.
2. You Prefer to Have Someone Else Take Care of Things
My favorite thing about renting is that I’m not responsible for the property. While I obviously need to take care of the home or apartment I rent, I’m not responsible for maintaining the roof, changing out aging toilets, or making sure that other things are taken care of.
When a faucet needs changing, or the furnace needs a tune up, that’s the landlord’s responsibility, not mine. And, while I’m sure that property taxes are taken into account when my rent is set, it’s not a separate thing I need to worry about.
While I live in a rented house right now, and I am responsible for yard care, my favorite arrangement (when I can get one that meets my requirements) is an apartment. I love apartment living because of the convenience. When I can find one with a pool and fitness room, plus a little balcony for me, I’m happy. I don’t have to worry about shoveling snow or cutting the lawn. If you don’t like taking care of maintenance and repairs, renting can be a good choice for you.
3. Market Conditions Make Renting Cheaper
In my current market, renting is actually more expensive than buying. This wasn’t the case in my last market, however. Where I lived before, it was cheaper to rent, and the home appreciation in the area wasn’t worth the cost (consider paying mortgage interest, home insurance, repairs, taxes, maintenance for years and you’re lucky to break even in real terms).
By renting, and then investing the difference, it’s possible to come out ahead financially in some markets. But it depends on where you are. For me, right now, renting is mostly a lifestyle choice because of the real estate market. You need to decide what matters to you, and whether or not it makes sense to rent or buy.