“When are you going to grow up and buy a home?”
“You know you’re throwing money away on rent, right?”
“You’re not an adult until you buy a home.”
Those are just a handful of the phrases I hear on a regular basis.
I’m a 33-year-old renter. Many people take this to mean that I can’t afford to buy a home, but that’s not the case. My husband and I both work, and we have no kids—just two fairly spoiled dogs named Anya and Henry.
Our finances and income are solid, as are our credit histories. We have no plans to move anytime soon. There’s essentially no reason why we can’t buy a home—except for the fact that we just don’t want to. Why? Because over the years and through many heartfelt discussions with family, friends, and even a financial adviser, we’ve come to realize that becoming homeowners isn’t for us. Instead, we are a determined lifelong renters. And that’s because of seven compelling reasons, some of which may apply to you, too.
1. Renting offers more flexibility
I used to work for a major pharmaceutical company, and I hated it. So I decided to switch careers and work for a nonprofit, but doing so required me to move 1,000 miles from Pennsylvania to Florida. Since I was just renting my home, the move was pretty stress-free.
Consider, for contrast, what my options would be if I had owned a place—and hated my job, or was laid off. In that case, I would have been severely limited in my job search. I’d have had to find a new employer within a commutable distance to my home. Or, I’d have had to go through the arduous process of selling my home, praying that I would at least break even, and buying a new one to relocate to a new place.
That’s a risky proposition. Instead, I love the flexibility that renting gives me. If a career opportunity pops up on the other side of the country, all I have to do is pay two months’ rent to break my lease, and I’m free. It gives me intense peace of mind to know that I’m not stuck in one place.
2. I enjoy maintenance-free living
To say my husband and I are not handy is an understatement. I don’t know how to fix toilets, mend cabinets, or handle leaks.To move a mattress up to the second floor of our rental, I had to cut the bannister in half so the queen mattress would fit up the stairway. I thought I could just Spackle the bannister back together, but obviously that didn’t work. We spent the next year with a shoddily duct-taped bannister and rickety steps.
If I owned a home, I’d have to call a repairman to handle every little thing that went wrong. That could end up…