It’s Okay to Rent

June 7, 2011 in Thrifty Tips

I finished reading Suze Orman’s The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream last week.  One of the issues that she discusses in the book is re-thinking the American dream of owning a home.  While I still want to own a home one day, I’ve stopped feeling guilty about not wanting to own a home right now.  It’s a great time to be a first time homeowner, but looking at the “Four Signs You Should Rent Instead of Buy a Home,” makes me feel more confident that I’m not throwing money away with my monthly rent payment.

1. You have credit card debt or you have yet to save 10 to 20 percent for a down payment.
I don’t have any credit card debt (yay!) and I have enough money for a down payment on a condo similar to the one I live in now.  There are a ton of new condominium buildings near mine, so I’m sure I could get a pretty good deal on a nice place with good amenities.  If I want to buy a house, I’ll have to move further away from work.

2. You envision moving within five to seven years.
I’m not sure where I’ll be in five to seven years, so it freaks me out to be tied to a piece of property.  The condo market is oversaturated and I think it will still be very difficult to sell a condo in a few years.  I love Atlanta, but I like the idea of being able to be transient too.

3. Your calculations show that the cost of renting is a better deal than the cost of buying.
My calculations show that renting may be the smarter move if I stay put for awhile, but that doesn’t factor in association fees fees, repairs and other random expenses associated with owning a home.

4. You don’t really want the responsibilities and risks associated with being a homeowner.
This is my key reason for not wanting to be a homeowner.  I love my apartment, but it needed a new water heater, new windows and required a couple of trips from the plumber during the past year.  I like knowing that I’m not responsible for fixing things when they break or paying the rising association fees associated with renovating the building. 

I’m not ready to be a homeowner now, but I’ll keep saving for when it’s the right time for me to buy.  There can be a stigma to renting, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense to own.

Photo: sxc.hu

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren Hill June 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

Andrea, great post and I agree with your stance wholeheartedly. Homeownership is very fulfulling but it comes with a lot of responsibility.

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single&saving June 8, 2011 at 11:21 am

Thanks for reading, Lauren! I’m sure it will be very fulfilling, but only when we’re ready for it.

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Shannyn July 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Andrea- Number one: I love Suze Orman! She is a no-nonsense kind of woman and I think people need that kind of straight talk when they’re not being real about their finances..she is so funny to watch on her show! Number two: I agree, homeownership is not an ideal for everyone, especially now that the market isn’t doing so well it’s not necessarily an indicator that everyone should buy a home if they get a “deal.”

I’m not ready to buy a home, and it’s nice to find reassurance that it’s okay to rent since it feels that the American Dream has been home ownership. I’m just not ready for that kind of commitment, but maybe someday!

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single&saving July 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I love Suze Orman too, Shannyn! Some people might criticize her for giving basic advice, but her latest book was really encouraging to me. It’s nice to hear someone say that the American Dream doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. I’m really want to see her when she comes to Atlanta in October, but I need to save up to afford the $125 ticket price :) Thanks for your comment!

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