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Mama_Cakes's avatar

To rent or buy (if you could do it all over again)

Asked by Mama_Cakes (11160points) August 6th, 2013

Are you happy with your home? Did you buy a money pit? Are you tired of paying for rent, and having nothing to show in the end?

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40 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I hated renting & love my home. I’d still want to buy, if nothing else, not having to deal with landlords, neighbors (in apts), having whatever pets I want, painting a wall or two, etc…totally worth it.

Plus the mom’s know where they can come anytime to spend a weekend, or if seriously ill, rooms are always clean and waiting for them, they like that a lot, it’s security for them.

gailcalled's avatar

No regrets over having bought and sold two houses before this one. My first three residences were rental apartments; then I did the research and purchased my first house in 1972.

This present house was new when we moved in so there wasn’t much maintenance for the first ten years. Now, I have replaced the roof once, the skylights once, added on some gutters, fiddled endlessly with electric garage doors and a damp basement and just paid a bill (large) for a new hot water heater. The old one lasted for over 26 yesrs. And i repainted the whole shebang twice.

You have the ongoing snow shoveling, grass mowing and garden chores, but if you are young and strong, much of that is fun.

I have a VERY nice piece of equity that has tripled in value (but so have the taxes. Still, I would do it no other way.)

janbb's avatar

Happy to own even though I am single now.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Own, definitely.

Headhurts's avatar

Renting is stress free, but incredibly expensive, in the UK anyway. My last home I rented and it was £550 a month. To me, that was a lot of money. We have a mortgage now, I think that is better and I think it is also a kind of better feeling, more grown up, independent, if you get what I’m saying.

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glacial's avatar

I love renting. I would rather not be tied down to one place while I’m still unsure what city I’ll be in in a few years.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would prefer to sell my house and rent a nice condo, but there are too many restrictions. You can’t have pets, you are dependent on the management to keep the pool and spa in working order, the parking is usually a space under an awning and there are people who make a lot of noise.

In our area, it would cost hundreds of dollars a month more for a three bedroom condo than the mortgage on our 4 bedroom home. However, that might be made up by the hundreds of dollars we spend over time for the upkeep of our house.

Owning a house costs a lot of money for upkeep, which is not recovered in equity, and dealing with a seemingly endless assortment of handymen over the years is extremely frustrating.

jonsblond's avatar

Our biggest mistake was buying a fixer-upper in our early 20s when we didn’t have enough money to do all the fixin’. We owned that money pit for 16 years.

We rent a nice home now and we love it. It is a bit scary not knowing if we might get a call from the owner saying we need to move, but it’s so nice not being responsible for the taxes and major repairs right now. Renting gives us the freedom to get up and move if we want to and we don’t need to worry about trying to sell a house.

We’ll own again, hopefully, but not any time soon.

rojo's avatar

I like owning. particularly now that it is paid off.


I designed and built it so I am the only one who is responsible for those things I am now unhappy with or bored with.

Pachy's avatar

I’ve rented many times and I’ve purchased many times of each, and no way would I rent again. Having my own roof and little piece of earth is one of the most important things in my life.

chyna's avatar

I’ve been a renter and I’ve owned 3 different homes. Owning beats renting IMO, hands down.
No one is sneaking in my home checking my cabinets to see if I’m drinking. (Yes, this happened, and no there was no bottle in the cabinets, but check the fridge for beer.)
I can decorate, paint the colors I want, have pets, and have any guests I want.
Yes, the downside is that I have to pay for all repairs, upkeep and remodeling.
I still like owning better than renting.

Edited to add: I think @glacial has a very good point though. Renting is great while you are still deciding what area or what state you want to live in.

rojo's avatar

Advantages to renting – you don’t have a problem, the landlord does. Roof leaks, not your problem. Washer broken, not your problem. Genitals burn when you pee, not your…No wait, this one is your problem.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’ve rented and owned. No regrets about buying that first double house. I still own it as well as the house I own now. Owning is much better than renting.
The day I bought the house was the day I became an adult.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Renting is simpler, but each dollar disappears as soon as you pay it. Owning gives you more headaches, but you build equity and you get more choices. Plus I love my setting. 21 acres of nature.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ Today, I noticed that since last night an animal had eaten all the morning glory leaves on about 6’ of vine that I grew from seeds sent to me by @Coloma. There were flower buds too…no more. At times like these, I wonder about the tranquility and stressfree life in a 12th floor apartment in Manhattan, with a lone geranium on the windowsill, covered in soot.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gailcalled You have a beautiful place where you are. You’d go crazy in the city, just as I would. I was watching a new fawn, complete with spots, and two small rabbits on my lawn. You think a city dweller gets that treat?

gailcalled's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe: I know, I know. But I am still recovering from the treat of watching the great blue heron ingest a red-winged blackbird.

Years ago I did live in a 12th floor apt. in Manhattan. My then 4-year old daughter dropped an umbrella from the balcony and it hit the hood of a passing taxi.Our beloved doorman bought the cab driver off, but that was the moment I knew we had to get out, fast.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Well, sometimes it does get a little rough. That’s nature. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Ying and Yang.

gailcalled's avatar

I know. On balance, I love my life here. (Remind me of that when I am bitching about the four feet of snow and ice in January, please. Yin and yang.

hearkat's avatar

We’re at the end of our rent-to-own lease. Neither of us has owned a home before, and we aren’t particularly handy, either. It’s a townhouse, so we don’t have to do the yard work, thankfully. We hardly ever hear the neighbors – only occasionally when the Golden Retriever barks. We like that we’ve had 3 years to get to know the home and the area, so we feel comfortable with our decision to stay here. Now we just need to find someone to give us a mortgage…

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gailcalled I’ll do that come February. I didn’t realize it was yin. I’ll do some more research.
@hearkat Try a local credit union. They’re more reasonable than banks or mortgage companies.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@gailcalled Give me land, lots of land under starry skies above!!!

I would love to live at your place. :)

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ How about for the four weeks after my knee replacement in late Sept and Oct? You can amuse my daughter and Milo, wash a few windows, put the garden to bed and chivvy me to do my PT.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

You know that if I could, I would.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ How do you think that Blue, Frankie and Milo would co-exist?

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Both of my guys are laid back. How’s Milo with other felines? Now, you know that N. would have to come along, and that means Miss Maggie (her shadow) will be there, as well. She’ll be showing off her mousing skills!!! She’s a killer!

JLeslie's avatar

I like both for different reasons.

When I rent I don’t worry about my choice so much. If I dn’t like the place in a year I can move. Owning, if you make a bad choice it can be a real headache to sell and a major loss of money. Or, you can make a lot of money, it depends on the market.

Owning your home you get more flexibility to decorate how you want from paint to knocking down walls.

Owning also is great when you own your home outright and your only payment is taxes and maintaining the home. Not having to worry about a monthly rent or mortgage payment is very freeing.

Also, freeing is not worrying about fixing or maintaining anything when you rent.

My husband hates renting, so being in a rental is stressful, because I know he wants to get settled in a house. I guess since my family is from NYC renting seems just as normal as owning to me. I think NY’ers are more likely to feel like the apartment is theirs even if they don’t own it.

If I have to pick I think owning is best, because eventually you do own it outright even if it is not one place you stay in forever.

glacial's avatar

I’ve never had any of the problems you’ve associated with renting, @chyna. It sounds like you’ve had some pretty oppressive landlords! In particular, I love painting, and usually completely redo a place when I move in. In this town, no one cares what colours you choose, and repainting an apartment is the common thing to do. I have lived in another city where the opposite is true, though. It’s weird how these little things can be part of the culture where a person lives.

rojo's avatar

@glacial for perspective from the other side, if you paint my walls without getting permission/approval I will charge you to paint them back especially if it is a color that is extremely hard to cover. Color is a personal choice and is about individuality which is why when you go into most apartments, and even homes for sale, they are neutral taupes, whites, etc.
For ease of maintenance, we use the same colors in every apartment. Boring, yes but it is easy to match and patch and I don’t have to maintain a pallette of gallon paint cans. We can go into a unit, fill the nail holes and touch them and the scuffs up and you cannot tell it has not been totally repainted.
I have occasionally let a long term tenant in a house repaint or paint an accent wall but it is always with the understanding that with the end of the lease they will repaint it back to the original color.

just my two cents worth

rojo's avatar

Of course, most of my tenants are college students who disappear on a whim.

glacial's avatar

@rojo I would never live in an apartment where I couldn’t paint the walls – but I have no expectation that the owner will pay for paint of my choosing. I’ve never found this to make apartment-hunting more difficult. For every person like you, who prevent people from personalizing their living space, there are a few more who understand that an apartment is a home to the people who are renting, and that allowing them to express themselves in it will lead to a longer, more friendly, more stable rental situation, which is win/win/win for both parties.

In the last city I lived in, the taupe/white “palette” was ubiquitous. I know all the realtors believe that this makes a house/apartment more appealing for potential clients, but I find it offensive. I don’t know a single person who lives in an all-taupe environment. I would want to kill myself in a place like that.

rojo's avatar

@glacial I completely agree with you on the neutral pallete. I detest walking into a new home with taupe walls, taupe carpet, soft white trim, white cabinets, tan marble or dull granite tops… No personality, nothing that sets it off.
And I understand what you are saying but as I noted (late, I know) most of my tenants are college kids who wouldn’t know which end of a brush or roller to hold. I would end up with painted carpet and tiled floors as well as black and purple walls. As I said, I have allowed it for longer tenancies and if I felt sure they would put it back the way they found it.

JLeslie's avatar

I like a neutral pallete for walls. You can add color with furnitiure and accessories. I like colorful paint also, but almost never bother to do it in my own home. But, most of my houses have been mediterraneanish, old world style. Which is a lot of neutrals typically.

jonsblond's avatar

We hit the jackpot with our rental. The owner told us we could do anything with the house and he’ll pay for it. If we do the work he’ll buy the best supplies for us to do the job. If someone else needs to come in and do the work he’ll buy the cheapest material. The house was built by his father and the property is on farmland that he still uses. He just wants someone to live on the property because there is a lot of expensive equipment stored here, and he wants someone to take care of the home. The rent is really cheap, the house is already in great condition and the property is huge. Like I said above, the only thing that worries me is getting a call saying our time is up here. I don’t know how we’ll ever be as lucky as we are right now.

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LuckyGuy's avatar

@shielah I own my home (no mortgage) but thanks to New York State’s ridiculous tax rate I pay ~$7800 in property and school taxes. That is $650 per month for just taxes! Maintenance and Utilities are on top of that
I still figure it’s worth it.

rojo's avatar

@LuckyGuy Last year my wife and I did the math and by our figures we needed to make $700.00/month just to pay taxes and insurance on our home; figure another $300.00/mo for utilities (avg) and that makes it an even $12,000.00 a year just to stay in our home, without fixing anything.

And my insurance rate is higher this year because “well, we have to cover all the weather related damage claims coming from your State” and my taxes went up another $200.00. Not the rates mind you (they are saving that ‘till next year) but the value of my land that the house sits on just took a giant leap upward. Seems that a new, empty lot on the far side of town is worth the same as mine with something on it that would have to be knocked down to make a comparable piece of property.

Needless to say, with no kids of school age, we are looking to downsize and possibly move into another, less ridiculously priced school district.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@rojo I hear you. Insurance is about $1200 per year, 100 per month, Utilities are about $250 per month. Add in mowing ~2 acres of grass, tree maintenance and a myriad other small things and we are talking around the same. Over $1100 per month.
But this is such a nice area! Seriously.

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