Who says homeownership is the great American dream? True, owning your own home does represent the principles of individualism and financial stability that most Americans adhere to. But renters have dreams too – they just may not include being tied to a mortgage for the next 30 years.
1. Ease of lifestyle
Few homeowners can afford to hire a gardener, a plumber, an electrician, a painter–or a maintenance person every time the filters in their air purification system need changed, but that’s exactly what renters get. One of the greatest beauties of renting is that when a pipe breaks and floods the bathroom and ruins the hallway carpet, dialing the landlord’s number is the hardest bit of labor you’ll have to perform.
2. Luxury accommodations
Renters can live in an upscale property that they may never be able to own. Whether it’s a condo by the beach, a historical Victorian downtown or a trailer parked on acres of secluded woodland, renting makes it possible to live in your dream home even if you can’t afford the down payment. In fact, some condo owners are undercutting apartment rates and offering months of free rent to entice tenants. On-site amenities are another luxury afforded to renters. Though it may cost more to live in a building that provides a security system, a gym, a pool or even laundry service, it would cost a homeowner far more to enjoy those amenities in the privacy of their own home.
3. Relocation, relocation, relocation
Don’t like your neighbors? Don’t like your landlord? Got a great job offer in a different city? Too many old girlfriends know where you live? Move. Renters don’t have to wait months or even years to sell a home when they want or need to relocate.
4. Financial freedom
The bad hype about renting is that you’re throwing money at someone else’s investment, but renting can support your financial future better than home ownership. Homeowners don’t just have a mortgage to pay, there are also closing fees when they sign the loan documents, home insurance, property taxes, interest and basic maintenance costs. None of those expenditures provide a return on investment. As a renter you can invest extra funds in other places, such as the stock market. For the last 45 years, investments in the stock market have paid 4.6 percent higher returns than investments in real estate.
5. Social networking
Renting holds special appeal for singles and young couples because they are more likely to meet others in their age group while living in an apartment or condo complex than when living in a neighborhood of single-family homes. Traditional neighborhoods aren’t the only place to find “community.” Some rental developments include shared common spaces like game rooms clubhouses, and even if yours doesn’t you can always invite the neighbors over for a monthly potluck dinner.
The recent crash in the housing market has a lot of people reconsidering not only whether or not they’re financially ready to buy a home, but whether or not it’s actually is their best interest. Homeownership may be the right choice for many Americans, but it’s not the only way to realize the American dream.