While owning a home makes sense to me, I would prefer to go a different route.
the main points
- 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 what I’m best at.
- I would have more monthly bills to expect as a renter, and not have to stress about maintenance and property taxes.
I’ve been a homeowner for over a decade now, and at this point, I’ve grown accustomed to the various expenses and challenges that come with it. I have also rented many homes and realize that these arrangements are not always ideal. When you rent, you can easily get stuck with an absentee landlord who ignores your maintenance requests and leaves you without a working shower for weeks at a time (yes, that happened to me).
But in the end, my preference these days would be to rent a home rather than own one if that option was available. Here’s why.
1. Monthly costs will be more predictable
When you sign a lease, you are guaranteed the same monthly rent for a predetermined period of time. Granted, once your lease is due for renewal, the rent may go up. But you’re at least able to say how much rent you’ll be dealing with over that 12-month period.
When you own a home, that just doesn’t happen. I have a fixed rate mortgage so the monthly payment won’t change. But I can easily have a month when I’m stuck spending $800 on a surprise fix. In fact, infractions like this happen all the time when you’re a homeowner. And they can really throw your money off track.
2. Maintenance and repairs will be the owner’s problem
It’s not just the cost of home repair and maintenance that I find annoying. I also don’t like having to deal with things when they break or need to be serviced.
Take our group, for example. It must be stained and sealed every two years. This is hard work, and work I don’t enjoy, so aside from having to buy supplies for it, my husband and I have to forgo a weekend or spend a small fortune to hire a contractor.
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The same goes for snow removal. In our town, you have a limited window to clear your property before fines can be assessed. This means that my husband and I (well, well, it’s usually just him) sometimes need to drop what we’re doing and get the snow blower out because waiting isn’t an option.
3. High property taxes won’t stress me out
I happen to live in a state where property taxes are high. But even so, property taxes are likely to rise from year to year. And any time my bill goes up, I’ll pay the higher housing costs in full. This makes budgeting very difficult, especially because those taxes are billed on an annual cycle starting in the middle of the year.
So, let’s say my husband and I sat down in January to draw up our budget for the year. We may get a property tax hike over the summer that will force us to rework our budget. That’s just a hassle.
I have no desire to live in a city, and it is difficult to find a suitable single-family home to rent in the suburbs where I live. As such, owning a home is really my only option at this point if I want a space that I feel my family can be comfortable in. But if renting a larger house is a reasonable option, there’s a good chance I’ll take it.