- Greater flexibility – Six months ago, my son was accepted into a much better school about an hour from where we were living. Initially, we’d though that we could commute, taking turns picking him up from school to share the driving burden. Two weeks into that, we realized we’d have to move – and gave our landlord 60 days’ notice that we were leaving. Thank goodness we had that option, and didn’t have to deal with selling a house, wondering if we could sell it for enough to pay off the mortgage, and prepping for showings. And, when we’re ready to move to the Keys, or travel for a time, we don’t want to have to wait for a good time to sell.
- Ability to adjust – As we run towards achieving our goals, we’ve debated moving into a much-less-expensive home to put more money into savings. We wouldn’t have that option if we owned our home. Our current rent isn’t cheap; but should we decide that we’re not hitting our goals fast enough, we could easily move into a less-desirable home for a time to amp up our savings.
- “House poor” – Growing up, my parents at one point owned an absolutely stunning home overlooking Lake Tahoe. However, between maintenance, insurance, association fees, and mortgage, they used to say they were “house poor” during that time, because too much of their assets and income were tied up in the house.
- Unpredictable expenses – In the last year as renters, we’ve had a hurricane damage several areas of our roof, and a dishwasher that went bad and took 400 square feet of flooring with it due to a leak. Neither of those instances cost us anything beyond our rent; but they cost the home owner plenty. Whether it’s a new air conditioning system, a new roof, a leak that causes foundation damage…homeownership comes with large-scale potential costs that could pop up at any time.
- More time – As a homeowner, I found myself constantly doing little projects around the house. It wasn’t unusual to spend a weekend tearing out the bathroom and replacing everything, or repainting the kitchen cabinets. Now, as a renter, I still do a lot of DIY projects – but they’re typically less intense, like painting curtain rods, and they’re not about improving the property’s value, they’re just about what I would like in my space. Not having to worry as much about home upgrades and modifications frees up time for other pursuits.
- Timing – As a homeowner, you can’t always sell when you want to, You may be stuck trying to rent out in a down market because you can’t sell, or worse, may be stuck living somewhere you don’t want to live anymore because you can’t sell.
A couple of weeks ago, my mother sent me, my aunt, and one of my cousins this article from USA Today: