- I’ve been renting all over the country for a decade, and I’m starting to consider home ownership.
- I’ve loved renting, though, because it has allowed me to pick up and move whenever I want to and given me the chance to live in some incredible spaces.
- I’ve enjoyed National Park views, modern-industrial architecture, green-thumbed roommates, and more in my years as a renter.
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There are many upsides to owning a house, the main one being that, instead of paying a landlord, your monthly payments are going towards building your own equity. This is more than just a perk. For many people, building equity in real estate is 100% essential to their financial plan.
It makes sense.
I’ve been a renter for a decade. If you were to average all the money I’ve spent on rent – with some leases as low as $US300 per month and others as high as $US1,400 – I could have paid at least $US100,000 towards my own net worth by now. (Not factoring in costs, of course.)
When you look at it this way, it makes me wonder – just what do I get out of renting?
Why renting has worked for me
Besides having the freedom to move as much as I want, renting has allowed me to “try out” pretty much every living situation you can imagine. I’ve lived in Victorian houses, split-level homes, ranchers, row homes, homes with a backyard, apartments in the city, and apartments in smaller tourist towns.
All of these experiences will help inform my ultimate decision when the time is right to buy. Now, I know my preferences – plus a thing or two about the rental market. This will come in handy if I become an owner or a landlord down the road.
Why I’m considering homeownership
Now that I’ve systematically negotiated my way to a higher salary and simultaneously grown my side hustle to generate even more revenue every month, I have some decisions to make about how to grow my long-term wealth. For this reason, buying a home is more appealing every day.
That said, I can’t deny all the ways that renting has been good to me over the last 10 years. There have been many times that renting has afforded me a better quality of life than I would have had if I had been a homeowner.
Done right, renting is essentially a symbiotic relationship in which both parties, the renter and the landlord, can benefit simultaneously in different ways.
How renting has increased my quality of life
So, while I learn the ins and outs of the real estate market and prepare to possibly become a landlord myself someday, it seems like the perfect time to acknowledge some of the ways that renting has, at times, increased my quality of life with absolutely no extra costs to my monthly budget.
Here are just a few:
1. When my landlord in Asheville, North Carolina built my roommates and me a fabulous new deck with rolling mountain views.
His labour raised the property value of his house. We got a summer patio entirely for free. It was a win-win.
2. When I enjoyed soaking in a beautiful, historic claw-foot tub for a year.
Claw-foot tubs are not the most economical choice of bathtubs, and if I was a homeowner I’d likely opt for something more practical with better protection against water damage.
I know my landlord was worried about the risk of my second-floor bathtub falling through the floor one day – but I was only concerned about lavender versus eucalyptus bath salts.
3. When I woke up to National Park views every morning from 2012 to 2013.
I spent the year after college living in Moab, Utah, where the 360-degree views of magnificent red rock spires made me pinch myself every day.
4. When I lived with green-thumbed roommates.
I am a terrible gardener, but in a few particularly great Craigslist apartments, I ate fresh produce every day right from my backyard. I saved on groceries and gardening supplies – and it only cost me a few extra nights of doing dishes in return.
5. When my architect landlord had impeccable design taste.
She worked with a modern-industrial developer to completely renovate her 100-year old row home before renting it out to lucky me.
I’m talking a luxury-hotel style tiled shower, stylish modern light fixtures, exposed brick walls, a custom walk-in closet with an upgraded washer and dryer, and loft-style vaulted ceilings. And skylights!
Why she moved out? I don’t know. But when I found the listing on Craigslist, I was grateful.
6. Every summer I don’t have to mow.
I feel like this alone speaks volumes.
7. … and every month I don’t have to pay an HOA fee for a roof repair fund and other services that landlords take care of for free.
HOA fees can be as high as $US700 here in Baltimore.
8. When my fancy oven broke and my landlord handled the whole affair.
The fancy, state-of-the-art gas oven range in my California Victorian home broke, and a specialised technician was called in to repair the tiny, mysterious electrical components that had to be special-ordered from an obscure, top-of-the line distributor all the way on the other side of the world.
It was fixed in about a week, and I never made one phone call about it. I never even saw the bill.
Oh, the memories. Dear renting – it’s been a pleasure.
- Read more:
- I can afford to buy a luxury townhome across the street in a neighbourhood I love, but I won’t for 4 reasons
- 6 signs you probably can’t afford to stop renting
- I only pay $US600 a month to rent a place I love, but I know I won’t be home until I buy a house of my own
- 7 reasons renting a home is better than buying one