My husband and I are considering moving. We’re not sure how things will go (we’re waiting to see if he gets the job he recently applied for), but we’ve talked a bit about what our housing situation might look like.
One of the things we’ve decided is that we may not bother buying another house because we can be just as happy with a rental. Although we have enjoyed living in our home, the thought of trying to sell it is stressful. We haven’t started the process yet, but I’m sure it will be difficult to sell our home when mortgage rates have skyrocketed and no one can afford the same home they were looking for just a few months ago. When we move, will we enjoy living in a good rental?
Can renters be as happy as buyers?
In a study titled “American Dream or American Delusion? The Private and External Benefits of Homeownership for Women,” a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, researched the happiness levels of women who rent and own a home.
The results of the study surprised me, but when I really think about it, they make a lot of sense. Research shows that those who own a home are no happier than those who rent. One of the most important findings of the study was that homeowners spend less time on leisure than renters.
Advantages of renting
When you think about some of the realities of home ownership—maintenance, repairs, property taxes, and other expenses and time-consuming tasks—you may realize that homeowners may have less free time.
To top it all off, homeowners who insist on larger homes may have less overall income. If you spend money on expenses related to your large home, how much will you have left over for activities that improve the quality of your life?
We are lucky in that our house is relatively inexpensive compared to our income. We live in a modest house with a modest monthly payment. Therefore, our utilities, taxes and other costs are low. In addition, we bought a new house, so repairs are not a problem yet. Maintenance is a huge part of home ownership, and it’s not all bad. As a result, we didn’t experience much of the “pain” mentioned in the study.
However, I can see that the sale will be a nightmare. Ignore the packaging and trying to sell/get rid of our old stuff. It will give me so much anxiety when our house is on the market. On the other hand, all we have to do is wait until the lease is up and then move in while we’re on the lease. It’s a lot easier than dealing with the mess of a sale.
If we were to rent an apartment, I was thinking of a nice apartment (we could buy something the size of our house) in a building with a fitness center and a pool. I also thought about the experiences I could have if the building was close to shops and restaurants. Being able to just walk around the neighborhood square or shopping center without taking a car and fighting for parking is great. I bet a short walk home after dinner would be great too.
In the end, it’s more about your personal preferences and quality of life. Having a nice big house that serves as a status symbol can bring you some satisfaction. It’s also possible that a good house can open doors for you if, say, you use it as a meeting place. However, can you be happy in the long run if you are home rich but cash poor and have little disposable income?
What do you think? Rent or buy?