So many people are passionate about home buying, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. For us however, buying a house just isn’t in the picture and I doubt it will be for a very long time. People are always telling us to buy, even though it makes zero sense for our lifestyle.
1. We are nomads: We just moved from Baltimore to DC, and enjoy the sense of freedom renting provides. This is especially true if we move back to England. If we bought a house in either country, we’d be stuck with a house we’d have to either try to sell or rent out. Both options are a hassle.
2. We live in an expensive area: We are truly saving money by renting. There is NO WAY we could afford to live in the area we do if we purchased a home. I love our neighborhood; I live 4 blocks from the capitol, 1.5 blocks from a metro station, I’m insanely close to 3 nice parks (>2 blocks any direction) and a short walk from a great weekend market.
3. I like not worrying about things like maintenance, utilities and taxes. Owning a home is more expensive than it appears: Someone else shovels my sidewalk, and prunes the garden in front of our apartment. Our stove had an issue, I emailed our landlord and someone is coming to fix it. I don’t have to worry about replacing water heaters, air conditioners, etc. I don’t pay property taxes and I don’t worry about fluctuating utility costs.
Also, since it’s a law in DC that new paint must be applied in between renters – our landlord let us pick out the paint and hired painters. Our apartment is covered in beautiful Benjamin Moore paint that I neither had to pay for outright, or apply.
4. Renting helps me to live with a more minimalist approach to life: Everything I buy – I will have to move. I actually love my kindle even more after moving, I won’t have to unpack 100+ books!
5. If we need to downgrade – or want to upgrade, it’s easier! If our financial circumstances shift, we’ll be able to shift with them. Since Nick is freelance, this really works to our benefit. Yes, we can and should, buy a house (or rent an apartment) we can easily afford, but in this case I’m not referring to just a temporary loss of employment, what happens if Nick or I develop a catastrophic illness or have a serious accident?
6. I’m not comfortable getting into long term relationships (mortgage) in uncertain conditions (housing market): Until we make our last payment, the bank still owns our house no matter what. We can take the money that would otherwise go into equity and invest it, or place it in a high yield savings account. If we ever decide which country (let alone state or metro area!) we want to live in long term, then we can use part of our savings to purchase a house.
Our situation is not conventional, and most people probably have a different outcome for themselves. I’m not saying that renting is (for everyone) better than buying-but it is the right decision for us. Also, I am certainly not saying our choice is right for everyone, or I know better. Owning a dog is a large expense, and the benefits are not quantifiable-and yet-I still want one!