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Maybe you’ve been renting for a while and the flicker of an idea is beginning to form itself, “Should I buy my own home?” Until the past few years, buying a home was considered a sound investment and proof that you were a responsible adult. After the Great Recession of the past several years, the glamour and allure of buying a home has lost much of its luster.
Many Millennials saw their parents’ dreams get sucked down the drain in a swirling vortex of pain, losing their homes and dignity in the resulting chaos of the mortgage scandal that wreaked havoc on this nation for several years.
Not surprisingly, many people now view buying a home with skepticism at best. Sure, there are several folks out there buying homes, but for those who stood witness or had first-hand experience, the sting is still fresh, as if we had been smacked in the face moments ago. To those who lived the nightmare, renting seems like a safer, gentler option. No strings attached. It’s like dating without the commitment of marriage. If things don’t go well, or if something better comes along, BAM! I’m outta here.
Renting is in vogue. It’s fashionable. It reflects a more pack-up-and go, less tied-down mindset. The attitude that says, “I decide what happens in my life. Not the bank. Not the whims of the economy. Me. I’m in charge.”
Many people find renting to be the solution to housing, rather than the default.
Top 10 Radical Reasons to Rent:
1) No-strings commitment. You get to decide, every time your lease is about to expire, whether or not you want to continue living in the unit.
2) If something breaks, someone else pays for the repairs. When you rent, your housing costs are fixed. If you own your home and the furnace breaks down, you are on the hook to get it fixed.
3) If you don’t like your neighbors, you can move. When you buy your home, you are stuck in that same location for several years, unless you are willing to take a bath on the costs of selling and moving.
4) If your family circumstances change, you can move into a larger or smaller unit. If you own your home, it becomes a bit trickier if your housing size requirements change. If you have a baby and you don’t have enough room, your choices are to move, build a costly addition, or just limp along in an overcrowded house and be miserable. Likewise, if you experience a divorce or death in your family or your kids head off to college, you may have a home that is too big for your needs and you are paying for space you no longer use.
5) If you get a new job on the other side of the metro, you can move closer to work. When you own and get a new job, you have to deal with the new commute or find a different job.
6) If the neighborhood starts getting sketchy after a few years, you can escape! If you own, and the neighborhood takes a sharp turn south, you are completely trapped. Good luck selling, because no one else wants to buy your house in a cruddy community.
7) Less responsibility. Woo hoo! My personal favorite…owning a house comes with a long list of extra work and maintenance that you simply don’t have to deal with when you rent. I don’t know about you, but I am sick of being a slave to chores at home. I will gladly let someone else worry about maintenance and repairing every little thing that stops working perfectly, sucking up all of my free time.
8) If you decide to move across the country for a job or a new adventure, you can! When you own your home, your days of impetuous decisions are simply gone. You can’t just up and leave on a great adventure without jumping through a litany of red tape and a series of hoops set on fire.
9) Owning is simply more expensive than renting. Sure, your mortgage may be less than your rent, but you will have property taxes and homeowners insurance that will jack up the monthly costs. Plus, as previously mentioned, anytime something needs to be repaired or replaced, it comes out of your pocket. Eventually, you will need to replace the roof, furnace, air conditioning unit, appliances and foot the bill on any number of minor repairs. The joke that owning a house is like having a “money pit” is not a joke at all.
10) Freedom. Renting allows you to control your life and not be held hostage by your own home.
While it may seem as though I am anti-homeownership, I am not. It is simply not for everyone. A lot of people buy a house, thinking they have arrived and life can finally begin, only to find that there are a lot of headaches they were not prepared to deal with as a homeowner. I suggest you educate yourself on the pros and cons of buying before you make the commitment. It’ll save you from any surprises down the road.