In the land of the American Dream, where it used to be everyone’s goal to have the perfect house, a happy marriage, pretty car, and 2.5 kids, owning a home was the socially acceptable norm.
However, society has changed leaps and bounds since that time. Renting isn’t just for those unable to afford a house. Many people, from successful business owners to college students, are choosing to rent instead of buy. Here are a few reasons why.
1. You’re Not Wasting Money on Rent
People often argue that renting is effectively the same as throwing your money away. When you look at it objectively, however, this isn’t quite true. Take the goods that we buy on a day to day basis: groceries, clothes, electronics, coffee, entertainment, etc. Those items that we consume are to meet basic needs and to feel good about meeting them. The same idea applies to rent.
Renting a house or apartment meets some of our basic physical and psychological needs, and can do it in a matter that is enjoyable to us. This may come in forms, from not worrying about having to repair broken water heaters to included utilities and groundskeeping, just to name a couple. Or maybe you enjoy variation in where you live, and like to be free to experience different places around the country or world.
On average, homeowners move once every five to seven years, and maybe staying that long in one spot doens’t fit within your lifestyle. It all comes down to the benefits that you care about and the lifestyle that you want to live.
2. The Cost of Buying
The cost of homeownership is one of the biggest reasons why many people choose to rent instead of buy. There are a lot of fees that comes with home ownership, including, but not limited to, a down payment, real estate agent fees, repairs to the house, insurance, taxes, and interest. On top of these, there are added fees when you want to sell your house too. On average, it takes around $15,200 to sell a house in the United States. As an aside, this selling process can take a great deal of time depending on the market. At its peak, it can take up to 6 to 12 months to actually sell your house.
These fees aren’t a problem when renting, as insurance prices are usually very low, and any repairs are usually covered by the landlord. Depending on the situation, your landlord or property management company may even take care of groundskeeping tasks such as mowing in the summer and plowing in the winter. In terms of costs, try using a rent versus own calculator to accurately compare the two options.
3. Investment Options
Fairly often, you can find a place to rent that will end up being a lower cost than buying a house. Due to this, you may even be able to invest into an investment portfolio that makes you more money in the long run (again, depending on your situation). According to the Case-Shriller Housing Index, the average annual rate of return between 1938 and 2013 was 3.7% for the housing market and 9.5% for the stock market. With some time and some calculations, you can find out what the better investment will be for your personal situation.
It’s Your Decision
At the end of the day, it really depends on what you value. If you value a stress-free option with a low up front cost and mobility in investment options, then maybe renting is the best bet for you. However, if owning a home has always been a dream of yours, to decorate and modify, and to even make passive income from, then maybe owning a home is the way to go. With homeownership, your house is yours to modify to fit your needs and values.
For instance, you can install solar panels if you are pro-sustainability, which have 100 times better lifetime energy yield than that of resources like nuclear and fossil. Solar panels aside, each and every person’s circumstances are different, and the right choice for you may not be the right choice for someone else. Weigh the options carefully, consider your circumstances, and don’t let other societal standards be the judge of what makes you happy.