Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I like to rent.

For years, I used to dream dream dream of owning my own home! The American dream! A place where I can paint and remodel and make nail holes in wherever and whenever I want! I looked through every home decorating book I could get my hands on, pored over home decorating websites, and even purchased a few of my favorite books.

I began to question this dream a couple of years ago, when my parents' property tax increased 200% in one year. I continued to question it when my BFF and her wife bought their first home and had to follow the rules of the Homeowner's Association. I questioned further when we were planning to build onto my parents' home, and there were so many absurd rules about what and where you can and can't build on your own property (note: generally I support such rules for safety and environmental reasons, but some of them seemed pretty unreasonable).

Kaden and I are happy renting. It's cheaper than paying a mortgage. If repairs need to be done, our landlord takes care of it. While I love the idea of being a self-sufficient in home repair, I feel blessed that there will be no surprises for my bank account if something breaks. And while I don't know for certain, I feel pretty confident that my $12/month renter's insurance is cheaper than homeowner's would be.

When we got married, Kaden and I opened a joint savings account (we don't combine our incomes). We're not saving to buy a home, as I once thought we would be, but to buy some LAND! Some land somewhere awesome (middle of nowhere, Pacific Northwest) so we can vacation there! Kaden's long-time dream has been to build a log cabin with his own hands - and I know he can do it because he is a dedicated, driven person. I still have a little fantasy of customizing an Airstream Trailer, or better yet, a school bus.

We've decided to take the maximum winter power bill and continue setting aside that much money per month, and when it gets warmer, anything not going to electricity will go into our joint savings.

We're really happy with this new plan. It also makes renting feel less temporary.


Gip @ So Much More Life said...

I think I preferred renting, although I have a mortgage now. We did it for 11 years, and we moved out of the apartment we had been in for 10 years of that because they were raising the rent dramatically. We should have just found a cheaper apartment.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I look forward to seeing more from you here and on my blog.


Liina said...

Thank you for the comment, Gip! I appreciate your blog, it has so much food for thought!

Jenny @ exconsumer said...

Hi Liina. I've never rented (my husband and I bought a house the same month we got married), but I understand the appeal.

I remember when I was younger being envious of my friend that lived in a condo unit because I thought it seemed like she lived in a vacation home. There were always other kids to play with!

Renting offers a lot more freedom than owning too. If your landlord raises the rent, you can move out. But if your property taxes double, you have to try and sell your house -- much more difficult than saying so long to your landlord.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I rented for 17 years, but eight years ago we bought a remodeled 1800 sq ft turn-of-the-century house. I miss the flexibility of renting, however, I doubt that we could find a rental for much less than $804 per month which we currently pay for mortgage, taxes, and insurance. Also if the landlord's property tax and insurance go up, he usually passes on that increase to the renters, so you pay either way, especially in this economy where costs of everything is increasing, including rentals.

Liina said...

Anonymous - that does sound like a better deal than renting! I guess it all depends on your location. I pay $775 for rent and my friends pay $1200 for their mortgage. Granted, we live in a 1 bedroom duplex and they live in a 3 bedroom suburban home!