I certainly never made the claim that owning will protect you from difficult neighbors.gouldnm wrote: ↑Tue May 08, 2018 2:32 pmWe are also trying to decide this question. We will probably rent, at least for the first few years, because we will be moving to a new city and we aren't sure which neighborhood we'll be happiest in.
Having rented for many years as well as owned several homes, I can say that there are pros and cons to each, but I personally prefer renting. Here are a few things to think about:
#1. Owning and renting both have their own unique risks. Owning can be a better inflation hedge, although you will also have many additional expenses that you won't have with renting (e.g, maintenance, taxes, etc.). If you buy a condo or live in a development, they might have special assessments that increase your monthly expenses similar to a rent increase. For example, in my development, I pay a special assessment because they needed to build a revetment to protect our beach area from erosion. We were able to get a special deal from the state, but there are several developments in my area where people are paying $2-3K in special assessments for beach protection.
#2. The nice thing about renting is that if you don't like something or your rent is being increased, you can always pick up and move with relatively little effort. You can't do that when you own a home.
#3. Some people have stated that they don't like renting because they don't want to share a wall with neighbors or have someone telling them what to do. But keep in mind that many people who retire buy condos. In a condo you also share walls with neighbors and HOAs tend to be very strict about what you can and cannot do. Even if you own your own home, neighbors can still be a problem. When I owned a house, I had neighbors that would use their chain saws to cut down trees at 8:00 A.M. on a Saturday morning, for example. Another neighbor set up a drainage system on his property that ended up flooding our yard! So the idea that buying a house will somehow protect you from difficult neighbors is a myth. Besides, having neighbors close by can be an asset to an elderly person. When I was in my 20's and renting, I used to always run errands for my elderly neighbors who had major health problems. I don't know what they would have done without me!
#4. Some people have expressed concern that apartments won't have the amenities that an older person might need. However, there are apartment complexes that specifically cater to the 55+ crowd.
#5. I was definitely happier as a renter than as a home owner. However, every person is different. It really just depends on your personal preference.
#6. As a renter, I definitely saved more money than I did as a home owner. One reason that I bought a house is that I needed more space. But I intend to seriously downsize in my retirement. I don't want to have to maintain a 2,000+ sq. ft. home any more, when 1200 sq. ft. will do just fine. It can be very hard to find a small house in a nice, upscale neighborhood. On the other hand, it can be very easy to find an apartment, even in wealthy neighborhoods. Unless you really need the space, my experience is that renting is the much cheaper option.
But moving from a single family home to an apartment rental is a huge lifestyle change. Having neighbors stomping around overhead or having their cigarette smoke entering into my apartment is not something I am prepared to deal with. Every “shared walls” situation I’ve been in has had minor to major issues with neighbors that would not have occurred in a single family situation.
Some people feel that the pluses of apartment living outweigh the negatives. While I understand that point-of-view, I don’t share it.
Most of us have to make some compromises in our lifestyle because we don’t have unlimited financial resources; living in a single family home is not an area where I’d compromise. Others will feel differently.