As people weigh future lifestyle options, one choice frequently being evaluated by individuals facing retirement, empty nesters, and professionals on the move is whether it is more advantageous to be a homeowner or a renter. There are some distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. This article explores a few of the more common pros and cons and offers insights and advice for making the transition easier.
Advantages of Renting
The benefits of renting vs. buying are more meaningful than you might imagine. One of the most significant advantages is the fact that you do not have to make a long-term commitment when renting. Home mortgages are financial commitments that you can only get out of by paying back the loan. In most cases, that means finding a buyer and using the sale proceeds to retire the mortgage. With a lease agreement, you are likely never required to commit to more than one year at a time, and some offer shorter term leases than that.
Other pros to renting include the following:
- Amenities and conveniences
- Low maintenance and maintenance-free living
- Fewer expenses (repair bills, maintaining equipment, pest control, garbage collection, property taxes, upkeep of the home, etc.)
- Lower utility bills (if moving to a smaller home or an apartment)
- Take back your leisure time from the never-ending “honey do” list
- Less space to clean
These are great pros to keep in mind. However, renting is not all roses and sunshine. There are some considerations to explore before you dive in and make a move.
The decision to rent usually means that you are no longer the King or Queen of your castle. You may face some unpleasant realities as you adjust to life as the renter of a property and not the owner.
Some consideration to renting to keep in mind include the following:
- Restrictive pet policies
- Loss of tax benefits
- Lack of privacy
- Inability to control when landlords or repair personnel show up and come into your home
- Arbitrary rent increases
- Limitations on changes you can make to the property (paint colors, layout changes, etc.)
- The possibility that you will be forced to move if the owner sells the home or apartment to someone with other intentions for that space
While many of these considerations will not affect your daily life as a renter, they are worth keeping in mind and can help you make decisions about which rental spaces are the best match for your needs.
Making the Transition
One of the most important things to do when making the transition from a homeowner to the role of a renter is to hang up your home repair toolbelt. It is someone else’s problem now!
Beyond that, you will want to make sure all of your things can fit comfortably within the rented space. That might mean parting ways with a few precious (and more than a few not-so-precious) possessions. Look at this as an opportunity to clear out the clutter in your life and share memories with friends and family.
The most important thing you can do to make the transition easier is something mental. Understand that the space you live in does not define who you are. The apartment or rental home itself is not a reflection of you. However, the way you decorate your new home can reflect who you are to those who visit.
While there are some cons to renting, going from being the homeowner to being the tenant is a great way to reduce your workload, free up valuable time and money for other pursuits, and to get more out of life.