The Rent vs. Own Debate May Not Go The Way You Expect

February 2, 2018 at 1:55 PM Leave a comment

Home ownership is one of the more common financial goals of most people. And while it is usually the best financial option, there are other reasons why renting may be the better option.

Examining the choice between ownership and renting can be very complicated and lead to a lot of frustration. The result may be that you just don’t know what is best.

Like any big decision, this is one that requires you to think about all the different aspects of what it will mean for you financially and in terms of your daily life. Consider these points…

Upkeep

Most of the time, people underestimate the costs of owning a home. They think about a mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, and from there, they largely assume that the overhead is basically the same as when they rent.

However, this is not entirely accurate. Many of the costs of maintaining a home are disguised in rent, invisible to the tenants who may not even realize the expenditures are being made. Services like the pest control Denver Colorado apartment complexes need are covered by rent, as are repairs, maintenance, grounds upkeep, parking lot care, and much more. If the actual cost of the building were the only cost charged to the tenant as rent, there would have to be many other surcharges added on.

Independence

Many people feel that home ownership is a sure-fire way to keep from having other people interfere with your life. And certainly, life in an apartment or a rental property can be full of restrictions imposed by management, owners, and even city codes.

But is your own home that much different? The highest values for homes are often found in neighborhoods with deed restrictions, homeowners’ associations, and other mechanisms for controlling what takes place in the neighborhood. And your technology can leave you at the mercy of your ISP.

That’s not to say you’re entirely at the mercy of a homeowners’ association or other authority. You can certainly paint your bedroom whatever color you choose, and you will at least have fewer noise complaints than you would from people in adjoining apartments. But don’t get the idea that your autonomy is complete when you own a home.

Financial Power

Many lenders advertise their low-rate mortgages as an opportunity to stop paying for somebody else’s property and start paying for your own. And it is true that any equity you build with a mortgage is yours, and that rent payments don’t build you any equity at all.

But there is a dollar figure that can be attached to freedom. Why do you think so many businesses operate in spaces that they lease? It’s because they are able to walk away with a finite time horizon at any time. If they find a better site, they can count the days until they can move to it. No worrying about getting the old place sold. They just exit per the terms of their lease and go on.

If your job, education, or family situation is such that you may need to move on short notice, owning a home can be a real burden. It can be very difficult financially to pay for a home in the new location when you’re still making payments at the old location because you haven’t been able to sell it yet.

For the standard, cookie-cutter life of a couple with 2.5 kids and a dog, working at the jobs they’ll retire from and living just a stone’s throw from family, buying a house will indeed always be a good option. But as soon as any of countless factors start to influence their situation—career transfers, pursuit of advanced degrees, ailing parents, and many more—the option of renting and having some freedom can be very appealing. As you weigh your options, see if the cookie of your life fits the cutter or if you’re something different.

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