I think it’s only natural to want to buy a home instead of rent. But the 2008 housing crisis is still a tender subject. For many people, they either aren’t in a position to buy a home – or they are really wondering whether or not it’s a good idea.
Most of these concerns are there for good reason. So instead of pushing yourself into home ownership, consider embrace the lifestyle of a renter. Here’s how to enjoy renting instead of buying a home.
The Simplicity of Budgeting
When you rent a home, it’s a pretty fixed expense. Sure, you may have to pay utilities. But overall, your housing expense is pretty much fixed. You know you’ll be spending ‘x’ each month on housing. If something breaks, it’s not your responsibility. This makes saving money easy. You don’t have to have a massive emergency budget.
The Ability to Go Anywhere
While renting, you’re not tied into a home for a great length of time. If you were to buy, you’d have to stay put for at least three years to have any hope of that being a wise decision. Many experts recommend that if you buy a home, you should stay put at least seven years. With renting, contracts are much shorter. If you’re a real nomad, you can even rent on Craigslist with no contract at all. I’ve lived in a place for just eight months.
No Need for Major Upgrades
When you’re renting, you don’t need to worry about upgrading the home. You don’t need to think about tearing a wall down to make the space more inviting. You don’t need to worry about building a bigger garage. Instead, just move. Or mention it to your landlord and perhaps he’d be willing to make the changes. As a renter, it’s so easy to not have to worry about the home in its entirety.
It Gives You Time to Know Exactly What You Want
I’ve lived in a lot of homes. The first home I lived in was in a new suburb. I thought I’d love it. But I personally found it inconvenient having to drive to any real destination. The only spots I could walk or bicycle to Walmart, Target and a handful of mid-tier restaurant chains. The house though was great in that I liked how large it was.
I learned new things from the next house I rented. It was in a historic neighborhood. Everything was in reach. And the home was beautiful. It was a place I wanted to be. It wasn’t too incredibly expensive either. I loved it.
The third house I rented was a condo. I liked the efficiency of it but I realized life is too short to live in such a tiny, uninspiring home. I’m really glad I didn’t buy it. At first it was fine but over time, I outgrew it.
The home I’ve most recently rented was in a very nice part of town. The house was also really cool. We had a hot tub, a wet bar, plenty of garage space, 3 decks and porches and it was definitely in the rich part of town.
Over time, I realized it was kind of too nice. I never used the hot tub, wet bar, most of the garage space, two of the porches, etc. But I did learn that I liked being so near a biking path. That was awesome.
What I’ve hopefully illustrated is that you learn new things with each place you rent. You learn what you like. You learn what you dislike. Overtime, you learn pretty much what your ideal home will look like, where it will be, how large it will be, how fancy it will be and more. You never really know what you’ll like until you experience it. That’s why renting is appealing.
What to Do When You’re Ready to Buy
At some point, I think it’s advantageous to buy. When that time comes, make sure to have plenty of money saved. This will be used for your down payment, furnishings and any unexpected expenses.
Have fun renting and then, when you’re ready, have fun buying.
I’m a personal finance freelance writer and webmaster. I welcome you to visit me at www.thefrugalpreneur.com