Make me feel like less of a tool for renting!

I don’t own a house.
I did own a house-it got filled with three and a half feet of swamp water, sewage and fuel oil for 2 days when Hurricane Georges hit us head on. We had to live in a 8’ X 34’ trailer for 8 months while our house was rebuilt. We couldn’t walk away, because we owned the house. I had to take a job and live 200 miles away from my husband for two years, and then another job 2000 miles away from my husband for 3 months, because he had to stay behind and sell the rebuilt house. This left a bad taste in my mouth for homeownership.
I work in a very volitile field. I have lived in Virgina, Maine, California, Louisiana, Mississippi and Washington, keeping up with my career and its unpredictable stability. Every time I think we can settle, something happens to force us to move on. If we own the house, someone has to stay behind.
We’re getting older and more crippled up with each passing minute. Arthritis is the daily measure of how much we can do on any given day. There are a plethora of ailments that are popping up all the time, and these make normal maintenance often impossible.
And yet-

I hate writing that damn rent check every month!

I would really like a place of my own-but I just don’t think it’s a good idea right now.


I’m a homeowner now, and I’m happy.

But I rented for years before that, and I was happy then, too.

There really are pros and cons to both approaches. Frankly, I’m a TERRIBLE home handyman, and I LIKED having someone else be responsible for all building repairs. So, whenever people used to tell me, “Don’t rent, you’re just throwing that money away,” I scoffed at that attitude. I was NOT throwing money away- I was getting a pleasant place to live and a lot of services for my money. That’s ain’t hay!

Moreover, the financial and tax benefits to owning a house have never been nearly as great (for me, at least) as they were hyped up to be. In the VERY long run, I’m sure my home will appreciate substantially, and I may see a healthy profit… but who knows for sure if I’ll own the house long enough to realize that profit?

Don’t get me wrong- I love my house, and I’m glad to have it. But it IS a lot more work than I’d like, and the promised financial rewards are often overrated.

The rewards of having a house are real, mind you. If you need the space, if you need a big yard, if you’ll be much happier having a house of your own, buy one. But if renting makes more sense (and it often does), do NOT kick yourself for doing that.

From what I’ve heard, you need to live in a place for 5 years before you can sell it for better than a loss. So I would say that as much as it sounds like you move, the only financial difference between renting and buying is that you are paying rent to a person, not a bank.

Note that I have a house, and I have to have a house. But that is because I have a strong need to have control over my environment. There are emotional benefits to owning, but as you have found out there are also emotional and financial drawbacks as well.

We’ve bought and sold <counting> 7 houses in the last 20 years (OK, we haven’t sold the one we’re living in at the moment… yet) and except for one, we never stayed in one place longer than 3 years. We didn’t know this each time we bought, but if we had, I doubt we’d have done so. Between closing costs, the hassle of selling, and the separations (I was left behind to sell the last 2 houses, and I’ll be selling this one) it’s just a royal pain.

We’ll be selling this place this time next year - so we’ll have been here less than 4 years. If we’d known, we’d be renting right now.

My advice - if you’re not expecting to stay put for at least 5 years, rent. Free advice - take it for what it’s worth.

Forgot to mention - we had to pay to sell 2 of our houses because we didn’t have enough equity to cover costs. That was not fun. And we only made significant money on one.

What FCM said. I have bought and sold 2 houses and living in the third now. Granted, I did all that on my own, i.e. I didn’t have to move. The first time was to take the job I have now, which was a voluntary move on my part. The second was because I really wanted to build a house, so I did and am living in it now. I like home ownership. It’s been a good tax break for me and I do like living in my own space. However, singular1, from what I read in your op, you move a lot, so renting probably does make more sense.

One suggestion, if you really think you want to buy something, think about a condo. I looked into that once. You own what you buy, pay a fee for the condo association and they take care of the grounds. Least that’s what it was like where I looked. You are still responsible for the upkeep of your condo, but usually those places are smaller so the upkeep might not be so bad.

Again, like FCM said, free advice - take it for what it’s worth.
[sub]I agreed with FCM twice in one thread? I must be slipping.[/sub] :smiley:

It could be worse… you could be in an unending property “boom” that means you’re unable to afford to buy anything anywhere, apparently for the rest of time.

Population going up + number of houses staying the same + stock market going (and staying) down + a savings/pensions crisis left and right + infinite greed + saturation encouragement for the public to ‘cash in’ + low interest rates = everyone buying as much property as they can afford in an orgy of greed and fear.

If you own and you’re mortgaged to the hilt, at least you’re making progress towards eventual peace of mind. Who’ll be paying your rent when you’re 70?

You’re not slipping, sweetie - you’re learning! About time, too! :stuck_out_tongue:

For some reason, I am now very, very afraid! :eek:

[sub]And I still agree with what she said. Think I’ll sleep UNDER the bed tonight.[/sub]

I bought a home last year at the age of 40. I didn’t really want to and it is everything I dreamed it would be - WORK! I have always liked the freedom of being able to move when I want without any hassles. I also like that when I wake up to a foot of snow - someone else has to get me out. I like when the furnace doesn’t work, someone else has to fix it. I would be renting now, but there were no homes in this area that fit all of my requirements.

Why does renting make you feel like a loser?

I’ve never bought a house. I don’t have or earn enough money for that, and I probably won’t for years to come, even though I’m now 29 years old. Does that make me a loser?

My wife and I bought a house in a little town we lived in. It was our first house ever. Needless to say we were pretty excited about it all.

But the entire affair has been a real pain in the ass.

Firstly, our realtor was an idiot. She almost lost the sale for us several times by not communicating with the proper persons involved. We told her straight out we didn’t know the entire procedure and we might need a fair amout of hand-holding. At one point I was so pissed off at her I called her up and said “for-fucking-get it.” The manager of the real estate office took over the sale and pushed it though real quick.

Shortly after we moved in we found she (or the manager) fudged a few inspections by allowing friends of theirs sign off on the papers. We shotly learn we need a new roof, water heater, furnace, stove, and countless other odds and ends.

Fast forward a few years later, the wife and I end up having to move back to the city. The house is for sale for 6 months at a very low rate. Our new realtor doesn’t do his job and NEVER brought anyone over to the house to show it. The only time he did show it was because we directed someone to him (IE we did the pre-sale for him). At the end of the day the house didn’t sell.

We decide to rent it.

The renters in the house have been there 6 months now. We have not seen Feb rent from them yet. They have been served with a 72 hour notice to pay or get out. The 72 hours have come and gone and now it’s off to court for an eviction.

The best part, we had to scrape to find the money to cover the morgage last month. We will also have to scrape to cover the morgage until it’s rented again (we’ve used pretty much all our savings paying for two houses over the course of several months while we tried to sell it and have not caught up yet)

We also have the joy of court costs, the chance the renters in the house decide to trash it, re-renting, etc, etc.

So here I am. I own a house, I don’t live in it, and just want to unload it.

I’m a very happy renter. I could buy my own place, but I have no desire to do so.

First, I like the idea of being mobile. If I want to move at any time, I can.

Second, I think that we’re going to be headed to an overall downward trend in housing values. As the boomers age, they’re going to continue moving to particular markets, and they will continue to move to gated, mature-resident housing, or to high-rise condos. Since there is not the same volume of people coming up behind to buy those homes, the overall trend will be downward in value. Of course, there will most certainly be upward trends in certain kinds of housing and in specific markets, but overall, real estate will become a poor investment.

Oh, thank you all so much! I feel much better about my situation now. I guess I was just fishing for validation, and I must say I got a good catch!

The only problem with this is that we need a detached home. Mr. Singular has the garage fully equipped as a workshop, complete with milling machine, lathes, bandsaws and other loud equipment. Both of us are erratic sleepers, and both of us are often up working on projects at all hours of the night. With me, it’s not that much of a problem-the loudest thing I use is a small torch for glasswork, but his stuff can get loud. There’s also the question of animals-2 cats and a large dog.

Thanks, FairyChatMom- this

[QUOTE}My advice - if you’re not expecting to stay put for at least 5 years, rent. Free advice - take it for what it’s worth.[/QUOTE]
is worth a great deal. I feel awful about the horror stories you and Khadaji and Seven shared-it’s such a maddenly frustrating thing to deal with! We had the idiot realtor, too, and ended up firing her and getting someone a little more motivated. Then there was the unexpected thrill of the threats from the honest-to-god card-carrying Klan neighbors (which was a delightful revelation) trying to block the sale of our house because a black couple was buying it. arg!

And Morkfromork, I wasn’t aware of that at all, but now that you point it out, it makes sense.

Again, I really appreciate all your input! I feel much less toolish now!:smiley:

“Condo’s: all the disadvantages of owning your own home- WITH all the disadvantages of renting.”

Remember- the “condo assoc.” can: tell you what pets you can or can’t have, where & when you can park your car, whether you can have air conditioning, fine you for using a clothesline, tell you what color to paint- and when to paint, what music is OK to play- and when, when you can have guests…" Oh it goes on.

In some areas, renting is cheaper than buying. Don’t listen to the Realtor ads which say that: “paying rent is throwing your money away”- they don’t mention that you throw plenty of cash away while buying, too. Like escrow fees, Mortgage interest (except the 25% or so you get back when you deduct), and especially “title insurance”. Oh- and the worst? “PMI”- whooowe is that a giant sucking rip-off.

Renting often makes more sense than buying. I rent, don’t feel like a tool, and don’t think you should either. I just moved to a new town half a year ago, and would like to save up some money before making a big investment. Renting makes sense. If you work in a volatile field, had some bad luck, and have a situation where you and your partner are geographically separated, it makes sense for you, too.

My, some good input from the SDMB medical profession!:stuck_out_tongue:
DrDeth-what is “PMI”? I gotta agree with the condo-hate. It just never seemed like a good idea to me, as well as just a bad fit for my situation.

And Dr_Paprika, thanks. Mr. Singular and I are happily living together again after our 2+ years of being forced to live apart, and I think that is the biggest threat I face in buying. I just feel a little more secure knowing that I can walk away with him if something happens.

I’ve been renting ever since I moved away from my parent’s home, and I’m happy to do it.
Renting means that I’ve been able to move across country without any problems-- and I’ll be able to move to a new country later this year.

Renting means I can shop around for good views, good neighbourhoods, and good neighbours. Renting means I’ve got maintenance people on call 24 hours a day gratis!

Hell, I even belong to a car co-op so I don’t have to deal with buying, selling, and maintenance of the vehicles I use.

PMI is insurance you pay until you have a certain amount of your mortgage paid off (I don’t know if the percentage is always the same, for us it was 20%). There are ways to get around it, but it is basically so you can prove you make your payments and are not going to default on your whole mortgage, screwing the bank.

My parents have gotten screwed each time they tried to move.

The housing market dropped, they moved to an area with a much higher base level price of houses ect.

Then look at it from my point of view:

Houses = yards = LOTS of hours working on the damn yard.

Renting is nice, no yard, 24 hr service on stuff. When my AC broke down and they couldn’t get a repair guy out in 4 hrs they installed a window unit :smiley:

Plus, the complex I rent at gives you credit, based on the rent rate, to a new home. Right now I’ve got 5k$ accrued to a new house.