- Some people will tell you that owning a home is better than renting.
- While I have my reasons for being a homeowner, renting is actually my preference.
- I would have more predictable monthly bills as a renter, and wouldn't have to stress over maintenance and property taxes.
While owning a home makes sense for me, I'd rather go a different route.
I've been a homeowner for well over a decade now, and at this point, I'm used to the different expenses and challenges that come along with it. I've also rented several homes and recognize that those arrangements aren't always perfect. When you rent, you could easily get stuck with an absentee landlord who ignores your maintenance requests and leaves you without a working shower for weeks at a time (yup, that happened to me).
But ultimately, my preference these days would be to rent a home rather than own one if that option were available. Here's why.
1. My monthly costs would be more predictable
When you sign a lease for a rental, you're guaranteed the same monthly rent for a preset period of time. Granted, once your lease comes up for renewal, your rent might go up. But you're at least able to determine exactly how much rent you're on the hook for during that 12-month period.
When you own a home, that doesn't happen. I have a fixed-rate mortgage, so that monthly payment won't change. But I could easily have a month when I'm stuck spending $800 on a surprise repair. In fact, budget-busters like that happen all the time when you're a homeowner. And they can really throw your finances off course.
2. Maintenance and repairs would be a landlord's problem
It's not just the cost of home repairs and upkeep that I find annoying. I also don't like having to deal with things when they break or need to be maintained.
Take our deck, for example. It has to be stained and sealed every other year. That's tedious work, and work I don't enjoy, so aside from having to buy the supplies for it, my husband and I have to give up a weekend or otherwise spend a small fortune to hire a contractor.
The same goes for snow removal. In our town, you have a limited window to clear your property before you're assessed fines. That means my husband and I (okay, fine, usually just him) sometimes need to drop what we're doing and bust out the snow-blower because waiting isn't an option.
3. Rising property taxes wouldn't have to stress me out
I happen to live in a state where property taxes are high. But even so, property taxes have the potential to rise from one year to the next. And any time my bill goes up, I'm in for higher housing costs all-in. That makes budgeting very difficult, especially because those taxes are billed on a yearly cycle that starts in the middle of the year.
So, let's say my husband and I sit down in January to map out our budget for the year. We might get a property tax increase over the summer that forces us to rework our budget. That's just a hassle.
I have no desire to reside in a city, and it's hard to find a decent-sized single-family home to rent out in the suburbs where I live. As such, owning a home is really my only option at this point if I want a space I feel my family can be comfortable in. But if renting a larger home were a reasonable option, there's a good chance I'd take it.
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