Author Topic: Are you a forever renter?  (Read 5375 times)

EconDiva

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Are you a forever renter?
« on: February 02, 2018, 11:28:15 AM »
I'm just curious to hear from those who have always rented and plan not to ever buy a home.

I'd like to hear your reasoning why continuing to rent is the best choice for you.  Do you think you will ever change your mind?

Are you in a HCOL or LCOL area?  And do you also have plans to stay in the area you currently live in?

redbird

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2018, 11:45:54 AM »
I've done both, even during FIRE. Yes, you could rent during FIRE with no problems whatsoever. You do have to build into your budget the fact that rent probably will increase each year by a certain amount, and/or be prepared to move sometimes (new renters usually get better deals than renters who have lived somewhere for years). I rented for the first few years of me being FIRE, one mid-COL and one HCOL. I now own (only as of May last year) in a LCOL.

The biggest advantage that I can see is not having to pay for repairs/maintenance directly. You do indirectly pay for it through the rent, but it is kinda convenient to not have to deal with it yourself.

When I moved in my house back in May, the super fantastic house inspector found nothing major wrong. I was glad, because I wanted a move-in-ready house. But at the time it was dry. We found that the yard has some drainage issues when it rains. It has nothing to do with what the original builder did (well, except for not installing gutters on a house that probably needed them) and pretty much everything to do with the original buyer. Their landscaping choices, while very pretty, blocked a lot of places that water wants to, and needs to, flow to not cause certain areas to become swampy. I put in gutters last calendar year and when it gets warmer in the spring I'm going to be re-doing a bunch of the landscaping so certain areas of my yard don't become so swampy. Except the gutter cost, it's not too bad, but it's still an expense that I didn't expect to pay for when I bought it.

Also, yard work can potentially be annoying if you own. There was only 1 place that I ever rented that I had to do yard work. In Hawaii I had a super tiny fenced-in backyard area that I had to mow. It was so small I just cut the grass with a weed wacker. But everywhere else I rented there was zero yardwork. My current house I have weeding, grass cutting, and leaf raking that I have to do every few days from spring-fall. It doesn't cost much $ wise, but it takes a surprising amount of my personal time to keep it looking nice.

jlcnuke

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2018, 12:26:51 PM »
I rent AND I own... I own because in the long-run, assuming you'll stay in one place, it is pretty much always cheaper (I've never found a rent vs. buy calculation for staying in the same place for 30+ years where an equivalent rental would be cheaper at least). If I wanted to move every few years, then I'd rent forever as the costs of owning would be higher by a significant margin in most cases. If I was absolutely averse to doing (or paying someone to do) any kind of household repair/maintenance/upkeep, then I'd consider renting.

Wintergreen78

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2018, 12:40:26 PM »
I live in a HCOL area. I’m a renter for the foreseeable future. I’ve looked at the rent/vs buy decision several different ways, and they all point toward renting being the best decision for me right now. If I move somewhere else or if the local market changes dramatically, i’ll reevaluate then.

Here’s a few resources that helped me:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/buy-rent-calculator.html
https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/rent-vs-buy

I think the “house price less than 20x annual rent” rule of thumb is as good as any other way of looking at it. Using that, I could keep renting and buy a Porsche and still come out ahead vs buying.

SC93

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2018, 01:17:38 PM »
We both love living in an apartment and renting but we just bought a house. I've had houses through the years and lived in apartments and it has always seemed that the neighbors, for me anyway, are always worse in apartments. We didn't have any noise inside the apartment problems, but for example, this lady downstairs had this little dog that always barked at you and tried to nip at your ankles. They also had a bigger dog and after I drop kicked the little dog one day, they kept the bigger dog on a leash because I told her I'd hate to have to get the gun and she said, "You are not killing my dog!!". I said, "No ma'am, it's not the dogs fault it's not on a leash....". Could have been one of those Nancy Grace stories real easy. Anyway, I know it can happen in a house also but I seem to have better neighbors in a house. And no more damn speed bumps!!!

lbmustache

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2018, 02:26:26 PM »
In a HCOL area by the ocean, renting forever seems scary to me. Too many variables and you are at the whims of others. Too much demand = constantly inflating rents, few rights... a landlord can hike price up any amount they want as long as you get a 60 day notice. Can be evicted for no reason at all as long as you are given 30 day notice. It's harder to find places when you're older for whatever reason around here, then add finding one that is pet-friendly (for me) and has the amenities that you desire (i.e. hardwood/tile floors) and isn't in the hood...

As far as maintenance, I'd much rather have a condo where my overhead is minimal (e.g. no lawn work, etc.). I think if the choice was rent forever, or move and buy property - I'd move and buy property.

Zikoris

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2018, 02:31:58 PM »
We live a LCOL lifestyle in a HCOL city, and will likely be permanent renters. The numbers in our city skew so heavily in favor of renting that it would be lunacy to buy, and it would 100% tank our early retirement plans immediately. Math isn't really something you can "change your mind" on - it either works or it doesn't, and in Vancouver it definitely doesn't.

We will probably not stick around here post-retirement due to my health - I really need to not live in a city. A small village up in the mountains with really pure air would be perfect for me. If I needed to buy a place because that was the only option to live somewhere, we might, but the whole ownership thing has zero appeal to either of us.

Eric

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2018, 02:36:36 PM »
So far so good.  It's the best choice because it's cheapest, buying/selling transaction costs are ridiculous, and I have itchy feet.  If I ever found an area that I would want to stay in long term, I would consider buying, but I'm not sure when/if that would happen.  I have no plans to buy, but forever is a long time so I can't really rule it out.  Renting is really, really easy though.  It's pretty hard to beat.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2018, 02:49:33 PM »
Renter for 13 years. Never plan to buy unless it's in really old age and I can no longer travel. Then a small house or condo in a warm state like AZ or TX might make sense.

For the next 50 years however, the plan is to slow travel, live in different places, and generally enjoy the freedom associated without being chained to a specific geo location.

zygote

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2018, 04:54:28 PM »
I live in NYC, and we definitely can't buy an apartment in the near future. We are in a 1.5 bedroom now (the second bedroom is a glorified closet). The only reason we can afford the rent is that my wife moved in over a decade ago and it's rent stabilized. Even still it's about 30% of our take home. The neighborhood has gotten more popular in recent years, and similar market-rate apartments go for ~60% more than we pay.

We'd have to leave the neighborhood AND buy a studio to come ahead on the rent vs. buy calculators. We love our neighborhood and already feel on the edge of cramped in this apartment. No way.

The calculation may change in the future because both of our families have done pretty well and we may be looking at sizable inheritances. But it will still depend on a lot of factors - how much the NYC rent board has raised our stabilized rent over the years, what the housing market looks like at that time, how much could we make putting anything we inherit in the stock market instead. Even though we like the idea of owning an apartment, it would probably be an emotional decision rather than a financially advantageous one in the end unless things change.

EricL

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2018, 04:57:46 PM »
I live in a HCOL area I really love.  Buying a house here isn't an option.  Plus I never was good or enthusiastic about home/yard maintenance.  I'd rather have the landlord do that. 

Dicey

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2018, 05:29:33 PM »
I rented until I could afford to buy. I actually owned a rental property in a lower COLA (relatively speaking) for about eight years until I could afford to buy my own place in a higher COLA. I was 38 before I lived in my own home.

Theoretically, one could argue that people will come out ahead by renting and investing the difference. I just don't think it works that way for most humans. There are too many shiny things to buy if your money isn't committed to a mortgage, including penalties for late payments.

At the other end of the spectrum are seniors. We have SFH rentals in a 55+ community. All of our tenants are in their seventies or better. They are all former homeowners who just don't want the hassle of homeownership any more. They are all great tenants and we love having them.

Rent, then own, then finally rent again might be a good way to go.

big_slacker

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2018, 07:27:30 PM »
Having rules like 'forever renter' is dumb. It's situational. The place I live now it's $2400/month to rent and would be $4k or more a month to buy. I rent here to be close to work and in an area with super good public schools for the kiddos. To buy something that would even be within $1k of the rent I'm paying now I'd be looking at a small town and a 35-40 minute commute. So for me rent for now.

If I live in an area where it was say $1k/month to rent and a mortgage was $1500 that's a no brainer to buy.

EconDiva

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2018, 07:28:42 AM »
Having rules like 'forever renter' is dumb. It's situational. The place I live now it's $2400/month to rent and would be $4k or more a month to buy. I rent here to be close to work and in an area with super good public schools for the kiddos. To buy something that would even be within $1k of the rent I'm paying now I'd be looking at a small town and a 35-40 minute commute. So for me rent for now.

If I live in an area where it was say $1k/month to rent and a mortgage was $1500 that's a no brainer to buy.

It's not a rule (that I know of)...just a phrase I used to shorten the length of the title of this thread is all.

big_slacker

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2018, 08:02:58 AM »
Having rules like 'forever renter' is dumb. It's situational. The place I live now it's $2400/month to rent and would be $4k or more a month to buy. I rent here to be close to work and in an area with super good public schools for the kiddos. To buy something that would even be within $1k of the rent I'm paying now I'd be looking at a small town and a 35-40 minute commute. So for me rent for now.

If I live in an area where it was say $1k/month to rent and a mortgage was $1500 that's a no brainer to buy.

It's not a rule (that I know of)...just a phrase I used to shorten the length of the title of this thread is all.

Fair enough, and I was drinking strong beer when I typed that last night so hopefully it didn't come off too assholish. :D

But just to expand on it I think some people get locked in to rigid thinking and a phrase like forever renter is almost an identity where it should be a regularly evaluated lifestyle decision. That's all I was getting at.

FWIW I've owned and rented, there are pros and cons to each, and of course they aren't all purely financial.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2018, 08:06:27 AM »


At the other end of the spectrum are seniors. We have SFH rentals in a 55+ community. All of our tenants are in their seventies or better. They are all former homeowners who just don't want the hassle of homeownership any more. They are all great tenants and we love having them.

Rent, then own, then finally rent again might be a good way to go.

This is me - rented as a student, owned as someone with a stable job, and now want to sell my house and be a renter again.  I see myself as a good tenant* because if something is a minor problem I will ask management to fix it right away, because if it were my place I would be fixing it right away, before it got to be a major problem.  But I am tired of being my own general contractor for a house.

*Dicey, does this attitude make me a good tenant?  I just notified maintenance that the tub faucet comes away from the wall a bit and the seal is broken, which means water can get into the wall when I shower.  I would assume they would like to know about this now, as opposed to when the tiles start falling off.

Capt j-rod

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2018, 08:23:11 AM »
I own my home and some rentals... The expense of a rental is the turn-over when you need to re-furbish everything for the new tenants. What that means to me is that my expenses on my properties are pretty fixed outside of property taxes and water sewer rates. I leave my long term tenants alone and very rarely increase their rents. It is easier for me to keep a good renter who pays on time than it is for me to spend $3k in upgrades and refurbishing, then roll the dice on what might be a better tenant. When you are looking for a place and you ask about a three year lease rather than a one year lease then you will have better options. FWIW I have a renter that has been there for 6 years with a $25 dollar increase since the start. She is by far my best tenant.

saguaro

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2018, 10:24:50 AM »


At the other end of the spectrum are seniors. We have SFH rentals in a 55+ community. All of our tenants are in their seventies or better. They are all former homeowners who just don't want the hassle of homeownership any more. They are all great tenants and we love having them.

Rent, then own, then finally rent again might be a good way to go.

This is me - rented as a student, owned as someone with a stable job, and now want to sell my house and be a renter again.  I see myself as a good tenant* because if something is a minor problem I will ask management to fix it right away, because if it were my place I would be fixing it right away, before it got to be a major problem.  But I am tired of being my own general contractor for a house.

*Dicey, does this attitude make me a good tenant?  I just notified maintenance that the tub faucet comes away from the wall a bit and the seal is broken, which means water can get into the wall when I shower.  I would assume they would like to know about this now, as opposed to when the tiles start falling off.

DH and I rented for 12 years, have been homeowners for going on 22 years now.  We are in process of downsizing so we can move into a rental again.   As we have gotten older, we can't really keep up on the maintenance ourselves as much anymore.  Yes, we have a townhome but even as the lawn mowing, snow removal and exterior painting is taken care of, the interior and some exterior work (deck) is on us.   We prefer to do any work ourselves as much as possible (and within our abilities) but as time goes on, we know that we would have to eventually hire out for things we could do before.  That's expensive. 

My parents stayed in their (paid for) home as they got older but over time, my Dad could not do repairs as he could before.  Many things simply went unrepaired to the point that when they had to finally do something, it was a major repair that cost them lots of money.   My sisters and I have determined they spent a lot of their retirement money dealing with these big repairs.   I would rather not to do that.

undercover

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2018, 10:44:53 AM »
I couldn't imagine being FIRE and renting, although I would consider it with enough of a cushion (especially being all stocks/bonds). The increased cash flow and guaranteed return on your money is hard to beat. Buy your home like you would a rental property. If you do that, you can afford to hire everything out and still come out cheaper than renting and it will feel like you're renting :)

FI4good

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2018, 11:56:12 AM »
I don't have huge post tax assets most of my wealth is in retirement accounts .

I have a choice of renting the house or renting the money to buy a house , due to the UKs' overcooked property market that didn't suffer the crash the USA did it's still twice as expensive to buy than rent in my area.

Personally i don't like debt, hate it with a passion so i'll rent for the time being despite it's insecurity .

I plan to FIRE somewhere sunny around the med so don't feel like buying on a cold wet island in the north atlantic .

I also plan to diversify the domicile of my wealth, not for any tax reason but for greater personal autonomy should any country start going down an authoritarian route or feel entitlement in a financial crisis, like greece had, to liquidate pension assets and issue government backed "retirement bonds".

RetiredAt63

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2018, 12:03:11 PM »
I couldn't imagine being FIRE and renting, although I would consider it with enough of a cushion (especially being all stocks/bonds). The increased cash flow and guaranteed return on your money is hard to beat. Buy your home like you would a rental property. If you do that, you can afford to hire everything out and still come out cheaper than renting and it will feel like you're renting :)

There are other aspects besides hiring everything out.  In my climate it is hard to leave a house unattended for long, because if we have a bad ice storm and power failure all sorts of bad things happen to houses.  Much easier to notify a landlord that you will be gone for 2 months, they have access if necessary, no worries.  Of course this could also be an age-related outlook.  When I was younger I was fine having a house, now not so much.  If I want to move I have to sell a house, for a rental I just have to terminate a lease.  So much easier.

remizidae

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2018, 12:05:14 PM »
The biggest advantage that I can see is not having to pay for repairs/maintenance directly. You do indirectly pay for it through the rent, but it is kinda convenient to not have to deal with it yourself.

This is my reason too. My time is valuable, and I don't want to have to spend time (or money or mental effort) deciding when to replace the roof or remodel the kitchen. I'd rather just get an adequate place, accept it the way it is even if not everything is perfectly designed, and let the landlord deal with any necessary repairs. Not to mention that I have zero interest in spending my weekends maintaining a pointless square of lawn.

Plus, people who own houses tend to accumulate a whole lot of stuff. If they don't move, they never really have any incentive to go through and get rid of the stuff they're not using. Having an apartment that is only as big as we need keeps our lives organized and neat. So, I'm not ready to commit to "forever," but I'm quite content renting indefinitely. HCOL area, two bedroom apartment with two people.

undercover

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2018, 12:31:48 PM »
I couldn't imagine being FIRE and renting, although I would consider it with enough of a cushion (especially being all stocks/bonds). The increased cash flow and guaranteed return on your money is hard to beat. Buy your home like you would a rental property. If you do that, you can afford to hire everything out and still come out cheaper than renting and it will feel like you're renting :)

There are other aspects besides hiring everything out.  In my climate it is hard to leave a house unattended for long, because if we have a bad ice storm and power failure all sorts of bad things happen to houses.  Much easier to notify a landlord that you will be gone for 2 months, they have access if necessary, no worries.  Of course this could also be an age-related outlook.  When I was younger I was fine having a house, now not so much.  If I want to move I have to sell a house, for a rental I just have to terminate a lease.  So much easier.

I think renting is awesome, don't get me wrong. But you can see how one here might say doing the "easiest" thing isn't very Mustachian. Not that owning is a sure path to success and saving tons of money, but the alternative would be to simply pay someone once a week to check your house and maybe leave the heat on, and let insurance cover the rest. Still, I agree that renting is overall a wonderful thing for the freedom and flexibility it provides and is a perfectly valid for pretty much anyone. Housing is a continual expense until the day you die whether you own or rent. And buying will definitely cost you more in the long run if you move around a lot. People are less and less mobile nowadays though, and you're much more likely to be born and die in the same place today as you were in the 60's.

And of course, for super HCOL (especially if your job is downtown) for 1-2 people it usually makes much more sense to just rent. Naturally if rent is $2K and houses are $600K, it makes very little if any sense to buy.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 01:25:28 PM by undercover »

Hirondelle

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2018, 12:46:50 PM »
I've never owned a house and am fairly sure I'll be a renter for the foreseeable future. For now I'm a single person and renting is a lot cheaper compared to buying as my country has strict renter-protecting-rules that make it difficult to rent out rooms as long as you have a mortgage (bank doesn't allow it) and buying a house or even a condo just for myself is waaaaay more than I'd spend while renting a small room and having flatmates. I also like to move cities/countries frequently and renting makes this a whole lot easier as I can just end the rental contract and leave to the next place.

I'm still super young though so can't predict how I'll think about it in 5+ years.

expatartist

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2018, 01:05:25 PM »
And buying will definitely cost you more in the long run if you move around a lot. People are less and less mobile nowadays though, and you're much more likely to be born and die in the same place today as you were in the 60's.

Interesting! From my understanding the world is much more mobile than at any other time in history.  But maybe that's primarily outside N. America.

I'm interested to see your choices and why. After many years of being mobile I am establishing a life and residency in 2 locations (one HCOL and one relatively LCOL), own a home in each, and live in each for approximately half the year. What we call a home is a small apartment with minimal maintenance fees though so is more suitable for aging than a SFH.

moof

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2018, 01:16:14 PM »
If I had it to do over again I would have rented instead of buying.  Owning a house is like owning a boat anchor attached to your foot.  Changing jobs gets much harder and more complicated.  The sad thing is I moved to where I am now in order to be in an area with affordable housing prices as we started our family.  I've worked may way through all three shops that are plausible for my career, and the third one is now turning sour as well.  Had I not bought I would have left the area some time back (and probably should have any way).

Switching back to renting means facing a possible harsh tax hit on the built up equity.  Oh well.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2018, 01:20:12 PM »
To date, I’ve never owned and didn’t think I ever would. I like all the reasons to be a forever renter. But we’re in a situation where the rent is high and the homes are high. We need to pay less rent and what want to pay in rent would be the same as the mortgage for buying. The difference is we would get slightly more for renting than buying, so we’d have to compromise our lives a bit. I have a plan that would allow us to aggressively pay down the mortgage until only $200k is remaining, then refinance and rent it out for $2400/month. That plan can work and not hurt us financially. I’ve run the numbers and yes, we’d make more over time just investing but I can’t get my SO interested in stocks, SO only believes in property. For now though we’re still renting and won’t pull the trigger unless we find something amazing.

Hirondelle

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2018, 01:23:08 PM »
And buying will definitely cost you more in the long run if you move around a lot. People are less and less mobile nowadays though, and you're much more likely to be born and die in the same place today as you were in the 60's.

Interesting! From my understanding the world is much more mobile than at any other time in history.  But maybe that's primarily outside N. America.


I also feel like people are getting more mobile. More people go to college/university and move out for this reason and to my knowledge many/most don't move back to their hometowns after finishing their studies. People still frequently move around countries (though laws for permanent immigration might've gotten stricter over time). I feel like in my parents' and grandparents' generation you got married, bought a house and stayed in that house forever.

undercover

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2018, 01:24:30 PM »
Interesting! From my understanding the world is much more mobile than at any other time in history.  But maybe that's primarily outside N. America.

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/02/american-mobility-has-declined/514310/

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/11/20/u-s-migration-still-at-historically-low-levels-census-shows/

Could indeed be an American phenomenon.

Quote
I'm interested to see your choices and why.

My choices as to why I don't move or as to why I would rather own than rent in retirement?

Owning a house is like owning a boat anchor attached to your foot.

...

Switching back to renting means facing a possible harsh tax hit on the built up equity.  Oh well.

You can't let sunk costs deter you from doing what makes sense. It sounds like the house is mentally tying you down more than it is actually tying you down, especially if you bought well within your means. You're fully capable of renting your house out and renting somewhere else until you decide to sell it while you look for jobs elsewhere. Yes I agree it's more complicated but in the end it's doable, and moving is never easy regardless.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 01:35:59 PM by undercover »

expatartist

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2018, 01:49:15 PM »


Quote
I'm interested to see your choices and why.

My choices as to why I don't move or as to why I would rather own than rent in retirement?


Vague wording on my part. I meant, your [plural you] choices, those who are responding to this thread.

dodojojo

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2018, 04:25:42 PM »
I started a thread earlier this week about recent doubts on being a forever renter.  Judging from responses, I guess it'll always be an eternal and infernal debate.  I was happy to remain a life-long renter but my newfound concern is that in retirement, the need to support rent, higher health care cost, assisting my mother and her health care, relocating to a very HCOL and adding in car cost--I'll take out so much cash that I will be in a higher tax bracket.  So more cash going to taxes, less income to live on. 

Plan to relocate to a very HCOL within the next few years and into retirement to be closer to my mother, who is about to retire or semi-retire.  And that area is very car-centric.  I currently live a car-free lifestyle. 

Honestly, I don't even want to buy, but having a paid-off home may make more sense for me down the road.  I'll never be able to afford a SFH in my mom's area so it would be a condo or maybe a townhouse.

Dicey

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2018, 12:10:35 AM »
At the other end of the spectrum are seniors. We have SFH rentals in a 55+ community. All of our tenants are in their seventies or better. They are all former homeowners who just don't want the hassle of homeownership any more. They are all great tenants and we love having them.

Rent, then own, then finally rent again might be a good way to go.
This is me - rented as a student, owned as someone with a stable job, and now want to sell my house and be a renter again.  I see myself as a good tenant* because if something is a minor problem I will ask management to fix it right away, because if it were my place I would be fixing it right away, before it got to be a major problem.  But I am tired of being my own general contractor for a house.

*Dicey, does this attitude make me a good tenant?  I just notified maintenance that the tub faucet comes away from the wall a bit and the seal is broken, which means water can get into the wall when I shower.  I would assume they would like to know about this now, as opposed to when the tiles start falling off.
Yes. Yes, it does. We always tell our tenants to let us know when something needs to be repaired, no matter how big or small. We live a good distance from our rentals, so when we visit, we like to have all the parts and tools needed to complete all necessary maintenance. If we can't get there in good time, we have a local, reliable, trustworthy handyperson we call. RetiredAt63, you get a gold star from me. You're my favorite kind of tenant!

Malkynn

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2018, 06:03:21 AM »
Lol@ the better neighbors comment.

I used to rent in the nicest neighborhood in my city, before that I rented in a downtown high end hotel (they had regular apartments). My neighbors used to be lawyers, doctors, diplomats, and everyone had very well behaved dogs.

Now I own, and for about the same as I was paying before, I live in the sketchiest neighborhood with the most stabbings and shootings (I’m in Canada), there’s always crack heads and hookers stumbling down the main street which is lined with pot dispensaries, payday loan shops, and pawn shops, and most people have pit bulls.

However, I actually do prefer my neighbors now because my old fancy ‘hood neighbors were douchebags and my current neighbors are really nice working class families who look out for each other. Plus I like pit bulls.

I hate owning.
I live in a condo where thankfully all outdoor maintenance is taken care of, including replacing the roof and doors at no extra cost beyond normal modest condo fees, but I still hate it.
When I lived in the hotel, I could call the 24h front desk to come and change a lightbulb for me if I wanted. Not that I would, but I did call them to kill the spiders on my balcony once.
I hate paying more to be inconvenienced. It seems so backwards.

I also like to live very central in a major city, so buying almost never works out as financially favourable, especially since we have no kids and don’t need much space. Also, I love high rises. I miss living up high and buying high rise condos isn’t always the best idea since the condo fees can sky rocket with increasing maintenance costs due to things like elevators. Our condo fees are $260/mo, the high rise condos next door have fees near $1000/mo, it’s insane, I think they have a pool.

We only own because DH already owned and bought in the lowest cost neighborhood in our city, which happens to be very central and is due for a huge boom in gentrification. It’s an amazing spot to be invested in, the cost is low, and I actually really like the neighborhood.
I would leave it in a second and hop right back into a high rise rental if it financially made sense though.

We’ll likely rent through all of early retirement. We have little family connection and want to live like nomads for the first several years. It won’t make any sense to keep our paid off house once our area gentrifies, and I won’t be in a rush to buy somewhere new, so we’ll just keep moving and renting until we feel like stopping.

I’m not worried about the cost of renting in retirement, if we’re mobile, we can always land where the rents are very cheap if needed.


Linda_Norway

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2018, 06:54:30 AM »
This is me - rented as a student, owned as someone with a stable job, and now want to sell my house and be a renter again.  I see myself as a good tenant* because if something is a minor problem I will ask management to fix it right away, because if it were my place I would be fixing it right away, before it got to be a major problem.  But I am tired of being my own general contractor for a house.

*Dicey, does this attitude make me a good tenant?  I just notified maintenance that the tub faucet comes away from the wall a bit and the seal is broken, which means water can get into the wall when I shower.  I would assume they would like to know about this now, as opposed to when the tiles start falling off.
Yes. Yes, it does. We always tell our tenants to let us know when something needs to be repaired, no matter how big or small. We live a good distance from our rentals, so when we visit, we like to have all the parts and tools needed to complete all necessary maintenance. If we can't get there in good time, we have a local, reliable, trustworthy handyperson we call. RetiredAt63, you get a gold star from me. You're my favorite kind of tenant!

When we rented, many years ago, we had a leaking faucet. There was a whole in it, so not repairable. We bought a new faucet and put it in place. Then we informed the landlord and asked him to pay back the price of the faucet. He was quite insulted that we hadn't informed him first, but did give us the money. I didn't understand the fuss: we saved him time + hassle and we didn't let him pay for our hours.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2018, 06:59:20 AM »
In FIRE we will likely also rent first, to find out where we want to live. You get to know a place better if you live there first. We might also like to try living in some different places before we settle. As someone mentioned above, it is not a good idea to buy a place and sell it soon after.

I think that if you manage to rent a house from a person who is on a long trip (looking after the house), you can rent for a good price. Like my neighbour, who suddenly went to live in South America for a couple of months. He tried to rent out his house for almost any price, but ended up with not finding anyone.


Just Joe

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2018, 09:07:33 AM »
I rented for about a decade. First was overseas. Landlord did very little upkeep during our time there. Someone robbed the house. When it was time to leave, landlord decided to invent wear and tear reasons to keep our deposit. The problems amounted to a few of the rooms needed to be re-painted. His cheap paint showed dirt and wear. The house was otherwise the same as the day we moved in.

Moved back to the USA. Rented cottage house. Loud business nearby. Everything was fine but had to move when the landlord decided to sell out.

Apartment. Frequently loud neighbors. Police. Drug dealer neighbor. Young teen girl assaulted outside. Landlord that was apparently over-extended and more concerned about having an empty unit than he was the violence and drug dealer. Expensive to heat and cool. Our unit was clean but perhaps our neighbors were not. Bugs. Landlord tried to keep deposit. No wear and tear whatsoever. I argued until we got our deposit back. We were his easiest tenants by far.

Bought first house. Mortgage was similar in cost to our rent. Quiet nights. Nice neighbors except the one with dementia up the street. Yes I had to cut my own grass but so what? Bought $100 mower and stored it in shed that came with the property. We were too poor to travel anyhow. Remodeled on the cheap. Replaced HVAC and added insulation. When it sold we recovered our investment entirely. Saved money b/c we were happy to hang around the house on weekends.

Current house. Mortgage is cheaper than rent by $450 or more. We've made repairs and modest upgrades. Still worth more than the cost of our upgrades. Yes, the mortgage interest will amount to nearly the same amount of the principle if we let the mortgage run its full term which we aren't. Married with kids. Still not traveling much but we enjoy very much being at home when we have free time. Ultimately with the mortgage gone we would have a roof over our heads no matter what.

We have a place for the kids to play outside. Safety. Mostly quiet unless everyone mows their yard at the same time. Can have critters and do. Nice folks around us. Everyone looks out for everyone pretty well.

This is flyover country and I know our numbers are different than the coasts. Just wanted to throw out a contrasting story. When DW and I are old we plan to down size from our modest house to a cottage perhaps similar to the first house we rented together. Less to take care of. Probably pick something new/er so there is less maintenance to manage b/c everything will be new/er. Then we'll look at an assisted living arrangement late in life. That has worked well for our relatives.

zygote

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2018, 11:51:05 AM »
This is me - rented as a student, owned as someone with a stable job, and now want to sell my house and be a renter again.  I see myself as a good tenant* because if something is a minor problem I will ask management to fix it right away, because if it were my place I would be fixing it right away, before it got to be a major problem.  But I am tired of being my own general contractor for a house.

*Dicey, does this attitude make me a good tenant?  I just notified maintenance that the tub faucet comes away from the wall a bit and the seal is broken, which means water can get into the wall when I shower.  I would assume they would like to know about this now, as opposed to when the tiles start falling off.
Yes. Yes, it does. We always tell our tenants to let us know when something needs to be repaired, no matter how big or small. We live a good distance from our rentals, so when we visit, we like to have all the parts and tools needed to complete all necessary maintenance. If we can't get there in good time, we have a local, reliable, trustworthy handyperson we call. RetiredAt63, you get a gold star from me. You're my favorite kind of tenant!

When we rented, many years ago, we had a leaking faucet. There was a whole in it, so not repairable. We bought a new faucet and put it in place. Then we informed the landlord and asked him to pay back the price of the faucet. He was quite insulted that we hadn't informed him first, but did give us the money. I didn't understand the fuss: we saved him time + hassle and we didn't let him pay for our hours.

I don't think it's the worst thing in the world, but I would have been annoyed if you were my tenants because I would have wanted to pick out the faucet that was getting installed in my property. I would have also wanted control of the work, whether I was doing it myself or hiring someone. You know you did a good job installing it, but how does he? What if there was a leak and it resulted in some damage? Who is liable?

Or maybe I'm just paranoid.

Mika M

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2018, 01:04:32 PM »
Currently in forever-owning mode... But I feel like some of these others - I'd often rather be renting. As long as I'm stuck here in DC with my relatively low mortgage and low mortgage rate townhouse close to work, I'll keep on owning... but if get the chance to cut and run, we may try to stick with renting if feasible (can find a reasonably low rent for a not-crappy place that allows cats, if ours haven't passed on by the time we reach that point... if they have, then renting will likely be the clear choice)...

But in the distant FIRE future I foresee sticking with renting. Like some other commenters I like the low hassle, low commitment, ease of mobility that comes with renting. Also neither DH or I are particularly handy or inclined to be which tips the scales in favor of renting.

Helvegen

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2018, 10:10:04 AM »
I've been a homeowner for about 8-9 months now after spending about 6 years renting SFHs. I can't say I am overly impressed with the whole experience of owning. I think I would have regretted not having tried it out, so there is that. We plan on selling when our daughter graduates from high school in six years. There is a strong chance that we will go back to renting SFHs. It is just a lot less responsibility, cheaper, and more flexible. One of the best houses we ever lived in we could never have afforded to buy, but rent, we could and did. I still miss that house...

barbaz

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2018, 09:11:30 AM »
I live in a LCOL/HCO-housing area. My rent is very low. To find a similarly sized home I’d have to pay at least 75% more and move further out of the city, adding 30min to the commute of every family member. This is true for buying and renting.

I don’t see myself ever buying a house, unless I move to a different city after retirement. But financially, it makes no sense to move.

onehair

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2018, 09:33:16 AM »
I don't think I ever want to own a house.  The extra expenses the property taxes on top of regular taxes possibly dealing with HOAs which I despise more than possibly paying property taxes.  I think I am better off renting.

2microsNH

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2018, 11:17:35 AM »
I'm in my late 40s and rent by choice. I've owned in the past, and plan to rent for the foreseeable future because:

1. I live in a LCOL area that is desirable for its outdoor recreation opportunities, but not growing. Thus, housing prices are flat and likely to stay that way.
2. My employer may fold within 5-10 years, at which point I'd have to go on the academic job market. If that happens, I don't want to be stuck trying to sell a house in this location / market (recently, it took one of my friends three years to sell her house in this town).
3. I hate gardening, lawn maintenance, and all house maintenance. I'm very active in outdoor sports, and would be resentful and miserable staying home all day Sunday to work on my house and yard. In my view, it's a colossal waste of time unless you love doing it.
4. I live very simply on principle and don't accumulate clutter. Living in an apartment is more aligned with my principles, and doesn't afford me the opportunity to accumulate junk.
5. I don't want to be stuck owning a house near an a$$hole neighbor. If I rent, it's easer to leave if relationships sour.
6. Renting in this LCOL area allows me to save more of my income, so if I want to buy a little abode when I retire, I can pay cash. By renting now and saving for a possible home purchase later, I can go anywhere I want in retirement without having to sell a house first.
7. Property taxes in my state are very high, and our public schools are funded by property taxes, not by state or income taxes. Although of course I support good public schools, I don't have kids, so paying high property taxes for good schools would be annoying. (Unfortunately, by my observation, property taxes don't appear to be spent on road and bridge repair.)
8. I grew up in a blue-collar family with a single mom who worked three jobs, so I have an anxious relationship with money. The unexpected expenses of owning a house make me crazy.
9. Most people I know who own houses complain about them all the time.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 11:20:39 AM by 2microsNH »

ptobeast

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2018, 11:32:50 AM »
Am currently in Rent mode. Live in a HCOL area, where home prices have been shooting rapidly upward. My SO is in school currently, and I work from home, so renting is better for now until we know where we'll end up. I do have a desire to own a home at some point, primarily because I actively want a garden and to be able to creatively customize a home in ways you can't when renting (landscaping, murals, etc). That's not going to happen until we're more settled in an area (with non-ridiculous housing costs) and possibly not until we've gotten some travel bugs out of our system after eventually being FIRE.

beattie228

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2018, 01:20:28 PM »
We're in rent mode for the foreseeable future. Housing costs are outrageous in the DC/Northern VA area. We tuck away money into a "maybe someday" pile for a house if we ever were to move to some place with a lower cost of living, but renting has been good to us so far.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2018, 01:50:54 AM »
I don't think I ever want to own a house.  The extra expenses the property taxes on top of regular taxes possibly dealing with HOAs which I despise more than possibly paying property taxes.  I think I am better off renting.

These property taxes must somehow be included in your rent. But at least, you don't get a separate bill for them.

I also hate property taxes. We are lucky enough to have a house in a community that doesn't have these taxes. But all areas that we consider to move to after FIRE have pretty high taxes, which are used to build new public swimming pools and that sort of things.


bryan995

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #45 on: February 15, 2018, 06:50:12 AM »
HCOL area for us. We pay $2600/mo rent for a 2bed/2bath. Equilavent house would be ~800k. New homes are 1.05m.

Our plan is to rent until FIRE. Renting allows us to pick up and move at a moments notice.
Big fans of having a new company pay to relocate you to a new and exciting city. Basically a paid long-term slow travel vacation :). Also big proponents of ‘job hopping’ every 2 years or so (or as soon as your learning slows).


obstinate

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2018, 07:54:00 AM »
I'm not committed to forever renting, but I also don't feel any urgency to buy. In Manhattan, ownership does not seem to make much financial sense lately.

E.g. I rent a place for 6k/mo. That's 72k a year. A good rule of thumb is that the imputed value of a rental unit is 20x it's annual cost. So I should be willing to buy if my unit cost less than about 1.4M. But it doesn't. It would cost more like 2M to buy.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 07:56:15 AM by obstinate »

onehair

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Re: Are you a forever renter?
« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2018, 08:58:22 AM »
I should have said I don't really hate property taxes I realize for those who pay them they do benefit society as a whole.  But to me I don't feel I can honestly afford them on top of the other expenses houses and condos can incur.  But maybe I am scarred from watching relatives who had no business owning a home getting one royally screwing up then being foreclosed on.  Plus I had a bad experience with my first husband buying a condo.