Rent vs. Buy-Here's Where Real Estate Gets Personal. Renting vs. buying has been a hot topic lately with most perspectives on the subject presenting individual opinions on some version of how a financial "expert" has taken some numbers to create a financial picture that looks like it makes sense to buck tradition and rent instead of buy - that homeownership somehow no longer is the most solid investment.
But that's not what this post is about. I am sure that there are financial scenarios that might make sense for some to rent instead of buy, but my opinion is that renting is a necessity for many and that any financial benefit to renting in most cases is still pretty hard to substantiate.
This is more about taking a look at the more personal side of renting. The terms "American Dream" and "Pride of Ownership" have somehow become lost on us when so much is being shouted at us planting a seed that maybe owning a home is not what it has always been cracked up to be.
What I suggest here is that those who are even considering renting instead of buying a home look at this decision with deep introspection. There is value in how you feel and about where your hard earned dollars are going and how you feel affects your quality of life.
Probably one of the most cliche' reasons given for buying over renting is the statement that you are "paying your landlord's mortgage". Maybe you are OK with that if it somehow financially fits into your situation, but how do you really feel about your dollars going to "pay your landlord's mortgage" and the benefit that your landlord can take advantage of, but the limitations it puts on you? If it creates a feeling of resentment that you have given up some level of freedom at the expense of someone else's benefit, maybe you need to weigh the price of your personal outlook against just how much financial benefit there might be. Maybe there is more to the American Dream - not just the financial side, but the personal side.
On a recent walk-through for a rental I started to think long and hard about "Pride of Ownership". Woven into pride of ownership is freedom. When you rent a home, no matter how nice it might be, there are certain freedoms you give up. Maybe the paint colors are just too neutral for you or they just don't really go with your things - you really aren't free to paint as you would like. If you don't love that kitchen floor you can't change it. If the carpet doesn't really go you can't change it. How do you feel about every hole you put in the wall to put up your pictures that you love? If you have problems with the appliances and your landlord is not the best at taking care of the issues, you don't really have the freedom to resolve the problem the way you want to. And here are some biggies - how do you feel about not having the freedom to have a pet that you dearly love - or on a more controversial note, but freedom still comes into question - if you are a smoker?
So if you are weighing the rent vs. buy decision - It's about you and quality of life. It's about freedom and it's personal. And it's still about the American Dream and Pride of Ownership.
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