With the values of homes going up in my neighborhood, I should be as pleased as pie to be a homeowner. But sometimes, I get nostalgic thinking back on the fun I had living in different parts of the country as a renter. I could never have had the flexibility to move as often as I did if I had to sell a home each time. According to a recent CNBC article, it's still less expensive to rent than to own. Homeowners and renters are spending more money on housing costs in general these days. I can think of 5 financial reasons I miss being a renter instead of a homeowner.
Paying no property taxes
One of the things I don't like about being a homeowner is paying property taxes. Because our property tax bill is different each year, our mortgage payment goes up or down each year. I had the misconception that if I had a fixed rate mortgage, my mortgage payment would stay the same every month. Our home owner's insurance also affects our mortgage payment each year. When I rented, I never had a landlord raise my rent. Maybe I was just lucky.
Having someone else fix things
Another benefit of being a renter is not having the responsibility to fix anything. A downside is that I had landlords who came into the apartment to fix things without calling first. Still, I never had to worry about replacing appliances and having the carpet cleaned. Since I bought my home about 7 years ago, I've had to replace the refrigerator and dishwasher. The repairman had to come out to fix the clothing washer twice as well as the sliding glass door, garbage disposal and plumbing.
Enjoying the outdoors
When I was a renter I could enjoy the outdoors without having to do any of the hard labor such as mowing or weeding. With so many poisonous snakes in Florida, it's not fun to have to do all the yard work or pay someone else to do it. Paying for a lawn service can be costly. As a renter, I could enjoy the manicured lawn and landscaping without lifting a finger. I had more time to play tennis or go swimming.
Using amenities for free
As a renter, I never had to pay extra to use the hot tub, swimming pool, tennis courts or exercise room at the apartment complex. Now that I am a homeowner, I pay for the amenities in the form of my homeowner's association fees. Some homeowners in Florida also pay CDD (community development district) fees on top of their homeowner's association fees. Most landlords have to charge the going rate for a rental property even if it's costing them more money to pay for the HOA and CDD fees. Essentially, a renter is getting many amenities for free because the property owner has to absorb the costs.
Having money in savings
When I was a renter, I had more money in savings because I didn't have to spend it all on a down payment for my house as well as the real estate commission and closing costs. If I could have back the money I spent when I bought my condo and later my current single-family home, I'd be rich. I could have invested the money in the stock market instead of paying for the mortgage interest and closing costs.
Even though I regret buying a home, I have decided to stick it out until my mortgage is completely paid off. I estimate it will take me another 8 to 10 years to pay off my mortgage by paying $200 to $250 extra every month. Once my home is paid off, I will enjoy the real benefits of owning a home because I'll actually own my house. Until then, I still think about how much better off I was as a renter.
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