As a lifelong renter, I’ve never been interested in the idea of owning a house. This became increasingly prescient in the wake of the 2008 recession and many people shackled to depreciated houses they could no longer afford in neighborhoods slowly becoming ghost towns as jobs and people left the area.
All that doom and gloom aside, what’s the big deal with owning a house? The “American Dream” of having a job that would sustain you long enough to make something worthwhile like a 30-year mortgage is long dead for Millennials and other generations.
I think it has less to do with “saving money for a down payment” and more some of these reasons for perpetually renting instead of owning.
1. Location flexibility
I have yet to land that “dream job” that will keep me in dollars for decades, AND I’ve yet to find that special someone that would make having a house ideal in the first place. Why own a house when it’s just you?
On top of this, more than likely you’re at an age where you’re hopping from job to job. You’re working at jobs a few years at a time, developing that crucial “experience” that those big jobs seem to be after. You can’t hop and bop across the land if you are tied down to a house.
What if you find yourself in a neighborhood that’s beginning to get a little sketchy? As a renter you can just move! You’re not locked in to a neighborhood that’s slowly turning in to trash heap. That’s your landlord’s problem now.
2. Making it a home
There this persistent myth that if you rent a place you can’t paint it or work on it to suit your needs and make it a home, this is patently false. Sure, you might run in to a landlord or two that doesn’t care for that kind of business. However, the obligation is on you to find a landlord that only cares if you pay the rent, keep the place in order, and keep quiet.
If you fulfill these requirements, a landlord is much more likely to allow you paint your room some other color than “institution white,” change crummy fixtures, and replace that beige carpet that only Jesus Christ himself could step on and still get his whole deposit back.
Say you lose your job or find yourself with a little less money than when you first started renting your place. Conversely, what if you get a promotion or a raise and now have much more money? You can now adjust your living space as well!
If you’re the kind of man who’s never home, perhaps rent a tiny place that you essentially use as an HQ and find somewhere else to bed your conquests if she finds your place a little “utilitarian” for her tastes.
Perhaps you’re the kind of man who wants a yard to host parties and perhaps toss a ball around in. If so, renting is a perfect answer. You can have your yard, which you can mow at your leisure, and you still don’t have to own a house.
With the onset of excess fundage, perhaps invest in a bigger pad and add all the accouterments that a man of your flush money lifestyle would demand. The sky is the limit when it comes to the maneuverability of renting.
If you were to lose your job and still own a house, what are you to do? Wait for the bank to foreclose on you, furthering ruining your life? And even then, you still have to pack all your shit and move to a smaller place anyway. Renting allows you to sail the seas of uncertainty with pride.
4. If it’s broke…the landlord fixes it
Quick quiz for the homeowners reading: What’s the size of the filter for your HVAC unit? What year was your house built? What’s the square footage of your home? What kind of plumbing does your house contain? What’s the age of the various appliances in your house?
For a renter the answer to that quick quiz is: who cares! It’s not their problem…well, if you have renters insurance (which you should) you need to know the square footage and date the place was built, but other than that…nothing else is your problem. Total freedom.
I’ve long tested the ability of any garbage disposal in the places I’ve rented. For the most part, I’ve found that I can dispose of quite of bit of garbage. Sometimes, though, I miscalculate and the disposal needs to be fixed. No problem, I just call the landlord and they deal with it.
Clogged showers, gas leak, HVAC filters, and in one instance, a refrigerator I didn’t care for was replaced with something more to my liking. This kind of nonsense is nigh impossible for a homeowner.
A homeowner has to prioritize the importance of things as they come to need addressing. They are stuck with the lone notion of hiring a professional to deal with any problems that may arise from owning a home; a renter is not. At the very least, the renter has to deal with the hassle of having a stranger all up in their place while things are getting fixed. Nevertheless, if there’s a worst-case scenario the landlord is typically obligated to pay for a hotel stay.
Renting isn’t necessarily for everyone, and depending on the place you live or station in life, your mileage may vary. Who’s to say that in a few years you won’t get the hankering for a little home owning? Renting a place is the perfect training for the time when you’re ready to shackle yourself to a place for 30 years, with your dream job, trophy wife and 2.5 kids.