We all know the potential problems with renting — rent hikes, strict pet policies and less control over fixtures and paint color choices, to name a few. But beyond the negatives, there is a silver lining to renting. After the recent sale of our home, my husband and I decided to rent for the next few years (at least) rather than buy again right away. From greater flexibility to surprising financial savings, here are 10 reasons to be glad if you, too, are not a homeowner.
1. No worries about yardwork. If you rent, your yard might be a maintenance-free patio or, if there is a grassy yard, the landscaping might be maintained by the landlord. If you have a green thumb, of course you can make the most of your space with a potted garden or raised veggie beds — but the choice is yours.
2. Live in a more walkable area. When buying a home in a densely populated urban area is financially challenging, renting in the same area can sometimes be within reach. Renting can let you take advantage of the conveniences and rich culture of city life.
3. Get repaid for home improvements. While some landlords are quite strict about making any changes to the space, others are open to positive changes that will appeal to other renters in the future, such as refinished floors, fresh neutral paint and new light fixtures or faucets, and might even reimburse you for materials and labor. You won’t know unless you ask … just make sure you do ask before making a change, or you could lose your deposit when you move out!
4. Enjoy more free time. Along with owning a home comes the responsibility for home maintenance — and all of that lawn mowing, gutter cleaning, deck staining and painting takes time. Renting means you can devote more time to doing the things you really love to do.
5. Excuse yourself from costly updates. When you own a home, pouring money into remodeling projects is tempting, even though you are not likely to recoup that money when you sell. As a renter, there is freedom in knowing you can’t remodel even if you wanted to — and the unspent money can become savings for retirement, travel or a special piece of furniture that you can take along if you move.
6. Upsize more easily when your family grows. Buying a small starter home may seem like a good idea … until a child (or two or more) comes along, and you realize you really need more space. If you rent, moving to a bigger place is a relatively simple endeavour. If you own your home and want to sell your old house and buy a new one at the same time, things get more complicated (and more expensive), especially if you end up carrying two mortgages at once.
7. Invest on your own terms. Whether you would like to start a business or invest more in your retirement accounts, choosing to not buy a home opens up other possibilities for saving and investing. Buying a home can be a smart investment, but it’s not the only option.
8. Keep options open. Got an amazing new job opportunity in a far-flung locale? If you own your home, you’d have to contend with selling or renting it out if you wanted to move, but if you rent, the process is more straightforward. Renting in different neighbourhoods is also a great way to get a feel for a new city — keep exploring until you find your ideal spot.
9. Something broke? You don’t have to fix it! Being able to call the landlord when something needs fixing has to be one of the biggest perks of renting. From leaky faucets to appliances that go kaput, it’s nice to know you will never need to cover surprise repair costs.
10. Enjoy being mortgage-free. While some folks are able to purchase their home outright, for many, being a homeowner means signing up for a boatload of debt. And while it sounds as if you’d be saving more by paying off a mortgage (and a home can indeed be a wonderful long-term investment), it’s not all sunshine and roses — there are the closing costs, agent fees, interest payments and property taxes to take into account (to name a few added expenses). A savvy renter can sock away as much (or more) savings as a homeowner, without the debt.
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