home ownership

Appreciating the Perks of Being A Renter

The dishwasher in my apartment is a horrible piece of sh*t.

About 15 minutes into each cycle, it sounds like it’s dying.  It makes some sort of awful, loud grinding noise that I’m fairly certain it is not supposed to do.  It barely cleans our dishes, leaves soap scum residue all over the insides of the dishwasher, and produces soaking wet dishes even after the dry cycle.

So, I called our landlord.

Done and done.

With just a few more months of renting left in my life (since we’re planning to buy a house some time this spring), I’ve been trying to focus on just how awesome renting is.

Everyone can argue the pros of cons of BOTH renting and buying (since neither option is perfect).  Renting definitely has it’s downsides, but, for my last months as a renter, I plan to focus on the positives of renting.

Aside from our landlord coming to fix our dishwasher (and everything else in our 1,000 square foot apartment), my favorite perk is definitely the maintenance.  Specifically:

snow removal

At some point in the next few weeks (or days), Kansas City will get hit with the first snow storm of the season.  Last winter, I think it snowed maybe 8-10 times?  Maybe more?  And I think every American remembers the great blizzard of February 2011.

IMG_0132

See that?  I don’t have to deal with that.  Our maintenance men do.  During the blizzard of February 2011, my husband and I watched Netflix and drank wine while our homeowner friends (and the maintenance guys) shoveled driveways and sidewalks.

I plan to enjoy that this winter, because, next winter, I’ll be outside shoveling with the rest of the homeowners!

Another perk of renting?

so cheap!

And not just the actual rent payment.  I’m talking maintenance, utilities, insurance and making it look all pretty.

Of course, this is allowing us to save a sick amount every month towards our future house.  I’ll never understand why people don’t just rent for a couple more years to save a huge chunk of money for their first house.

Buying is not an investment these days.  For my parents, it was.  But, it’s not for our generation and it may not ever reach investment-status again during our generation.  There’s no point in buying a home other for the very fact of owning a home.  And if you can’t afford it, why buy?

What do you think are the perks of renting?

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B&B

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16 Comments

  • I can really relate to your post. My husband and I currently rent our home. Before that is a long list of apartments that we rented. We know that my husband’s current job (post doc) isn’t a long term situation for sure so it really makes no sense to make the kind of commitment involved with owning a house. Sometimes I get caught up in thinking we should own right now because that is the path that everyone is “suppose” to take but I try and remember that right now that really makes no sense for us.

  • I rent–but I would much rather own. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until my husband lands his dream job (hopefully in the next two-three years).
    I still think owning a home is an investment though. You may never make 3-5 times its purchase value, as my parents did, but you’ll most likely still walk away with what you’re paying for the house. And in my area at least, you’re looking at a good $500,000 for retirement if you sell your house.

  • I am so glad you say that owning a home isn’t an investment anymore. So many people so that and it’s so frustrating. You can save so much more money renting, between taxes and dishwashers breaking!

  • There are so many perks of renting…

    – as you put it, call the landlord when something goes wrong, and viola, it’s fixed
    – if you ever need or want to move, it’s easy, even if you have to break a lease
    – if you lose your job and need to downsize or stay with friends and family for a few months to save money, you can
    – you don’t have to feel like you’ve settled down
    – you can afford something nicer than what you could if you were to buy
    – you can live in a better area for the same price than if you were to buy
    – you can try out a neighborhood for a while and then move when you get bored
    – if your job location changes, you can move closer to work
    – and more…

  • Flexibility is one of the biggest perks of renting. My husband and I have moved several times in the past few years due to career opportunities and it is much easier when you don’t have to unload a house. Additionally, we are hoping to move closer to family when we have kids and that would be much harder to do if we had bought a house.

    The hard part about renting is that it is expensive to move, and you often end up doing it more when you rent. It also takes more to make it really feel like home. We are really working to save over the next year so we are ready to both buy a house and have kids.

  • I really like the flexibility of renting as well. When something breaks, I usually talk to the landlord and tell him I’ll fix it if I think I’m able. It’s like a trial house, so If I mess something up, it wont really bother me that much because it’s not my house. I also enjoy the flexibility and the being able to move, though I think that H is really itching to buy a house for some reason. Unfortunately since I rent a house, I have to shovel the snow (done 2 times already this year) and I have to water the lawn, which for some reason is something that I absolutely HATE doing.

    I also agree with the buying is not an investment – you need a place to live, plain and simple. There’s no proof your “investment” is going to do more than keep it from raining on your head during a storm. If it goes up in value, great, take the money and run, but dont count on it to do that.

  • Maintenance is definitely a HUGE perk! Though I’m looking to own soon as well; the pro’s on the other side are just too tempting to avoid!

    Also, I have to laugh at your “blizzard of February 2011” comment and photo. Not in a mean way, just in a “Minnesota nice” way since I’m from Minneapolis and if you can still see your car, you’re good-to-go! 🙂 Stay safe though!

  • I would disagree that purchasing a home is no longer an investment. Where I live (Minnesota), rent is more expensive than owning. My daughter purchased a townhouse last year and her mortgage payment for a 2 bedroom 2 bath is $600. Rent in the apartments down the road for space this size is over $900. She also has a double attached garage and in the apartment she’d have to pay extra for a single car garage and it’s not attached. In addition, you miss the tax break of making mortgage payments. And, like someone previously stated, if you stay in your house for 15-20 years you can pay it off and have something to sell. Can’t do that while renting.

    • Those are all good points and, wow, I should really move to Minnesota where they’re practically giving away homes! 😉

      However, just because a mortgage payment is cheaper than a rental payment doesn’t make a house an investment. Is the housing increasing in value? I’d be surprised if it were. In addition, she’s paying mortgage interest on her house. And on a house that cheap, your mortgage interest payments will not bring you any additional gain on your tax return (remember your mortgage payments are itemized, so for them to bring you additional gain, they must be significantly larger than the standard deduction).

      Will your daughter stay in the 2 bedroom townhouse for 20 years? Will she be able to fit a family of 4 (2 kids and a husband) in that house? Sure, the market may turn around a bit (not full circle, though), in 20 years; right now, it’s smarter to “invest” your money into a savings account for a house down payment so you can purchase as much of your house as possible since there is no guarantee it will increase in value …

      Also, just wanted to point out, that there are thousands, if not millions, of homeowners who are CURRENTLY trying to sell their home that they’ve lived in for 15 or 20 years and are taking a huge loss on the sale. And a loss on a home sale is another thing that you cannot deduct on your taxes (since it is a personal loss — non-deductible). So, you are not guaranteed ANYTHING even if you live in your house for 15 to 20 years.

      • All good points – I should’ve clarified as everyone’s needs are different. My daughter has some physical disabilities so for her to have a home that is accessible to her, in a safe neighborhood is very important. She didn’t want to be walking across a dark parking lot to get into her home and having an attached garage and no yard maintenance were priorities. She also bought a foreclosed home so yes, she did get a great deal and if she sold her home today she’d make money. She does plan to stay in her home for a long time. She doesn’t ever want children and even if she did, it wouldn’t be for a long while. I agree that renting for many folks is better than owning. There are also additional expenses beyond the mortgage ie your dishwasher experience. However, for many people owning a home is still a good financial and personal decision.

  • Couldn’t agree more about your first example: appliances. You don’t have to fix them, replace them, or get rid of the old ones. You also never have to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, etc.!

    I will not buy until I can afford everything that comes with home ownership. Why buy into a sinking ship?

  • I LOVE being a renter — it totally grates on my nerves when people call it “throwing money away”. By renting I am…

    – able to live somewhere I wouldn’t be able to otherwise: my rent is $750, water & heat included but if I owned my apartment, the mortgage would be about $1200 + condo fees + water + heat. Um, no thanks.

    – not responsible for maintenance. When I moved in, my floor broke in the the living room. There was a huge hole. I complained, and it was fixed free of charge.

    – no long-term commitment. I can move whenever without worrying about selling. I like this freedom because it means I can accept job opportunities anywhere in the world etc. So nice.

    That said, I would appreciate my own place if only to customize it. I’m not allowed to paint or make any changes to my current place, when I would really love to change the colour of every wall and update the bathroom & kitchen.

  • It all depends on where you are renting too in regards to renting being so cheap. In Toronto, some one bedroom apartments/or condos come out to like $1500-$2000 a month which could be the same amount as a mortgage payment. But I definitely agree, that if you can rent some place cheaply then you can save money towards a downpayment on a house for the future.

  • I love not having to pay for maintenance, repairs, applicances, etc. Also we live in a two-family and have our own garage and yard…so it makes it feel more like a house that we own. And like others above, I do love having the freedom of being able to pack up and move at a moment’s notice–even if we never actually do so! I do want to eventually buy a home, if we stay in a low-cost-of-living area, especially, but with the housing market as it is, it’s not the priority it once was for me. For one, I’d like to ensure as much as possible that prices have hit rock-bottom so that we would hopefully never be upside-down on a home like so many are right now. *so glad I didn’t buy in 2005/2006 like I had considered*

  • I loooove renting! And I’m with you – home ownership is no longer an investment. I think people still have it in their minds that they have to buy a home in order to “make it” as an adult, and I think that mentality needs to change. Just like we don’t work at one place for our entire careers anymore, a lot of people aren’t staying in the same houses for thirty year stretches. We have to adjust our expectations, and I’m glad renting is gaining more street cred as a legit housing option that isn’t looked down upon. And I love not having to buy a lawnmower or call plumbers or any of that stuff!

    In my area, the average price for a decent sized home in a good neighbourhood is 350K. I refuse to put anything less than 20% down on a house, so by the time I save up 70 grand (or even 35K if I go in with my partner), I’m going to be 40 years old. I’d much rather take the money I would spend on a housing savings account and invest it for a marginally better return.

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