Homeownership: Renting is Good, But Owning is Better
Should millennials start rethinking their “rent forever” mindset and put more serious thought into buying and owning homes?
It seems like every millennial real estate story goes one of two ways:
- Millennials want to buy tiny houses.
- Millennials want to rent forever.
Neither way of life describes what I want. Tiny houses – it’s a fad. Millennials renting – that’s a fad, too.
I don’t want to rent forever. And this is America, where we all have the opportunity to make enough money to buy a home. Homeownership is in our blood.
I want to buy a home. I will buy a home. My emotions are enough of a reason for me to buy.
I like homeownership because I like being in control. (Good thing Will knows this about himself. Many millennials prefer the flexibility of renting.) I like to have things dialed in just right. I’ve never been able to fully do this while renting.
There was always something that inconvenienced me, but that I could not change. In one house, it was a garage that was too narrow and a driveway too steep for my sports car (I broke my muffler going up it once).
Another house had dual faucets everywhere. That is possibly my biggest pet peeve: I dislike having to dial in my temperature each time I want to wash my hands. Go ahead and call millennials wimps – I don’t even care. And yes, I know my real estate agent isn’t going to like me when we go house hunting.
Going back to the notion of control, I like it when I have something that is my own. No one (well, except perhaps the city, Home Owners Association, bank, utility company, by-law authority, etc.) can tell me what to do.
The ability for a man to have a castle of his own is a timeless desire, I believe. Even if castles are “expensive.”
I put expensive in quotes because it’s a relative term. If you call something expensive, you’re less likely to get it, so I refuse to think of a house as being expensive.
I read a lot of books about personal finance. And you know what? From The Millionaire Next Door to The Automatic Millionaire, I’ve never read one personal finance author who writes that renting is the way to go.
Most personal finance people will flat-out tell you that if you ever want to build wealth, you should own a home.
But don’t think homeownership is a black-and-white choice for acquiring wealth. If you earn enough, you can build wealth doing either. Heck, some wealth-building superstars even choose to live in hotels. But if you restrict yourself to a mediocre salaried income or simply want to build as much wealth as possible, then owning is the way to go. Do it.
High Cost of Living in Cities
I’ve never lived in London, New York, Los Angeles, or the like. I hear that homeownership is quite expensive in those parts of the world. And that may make buying a bit unrealistic for some people. Even if this is the case for you, though I encourage you to run the numbers and see if buying a home wouldn’t be a worthy investment. When I think of those cities, I don’t look at the high cost of housing. Instead, I look at all of the freaking houses in those cities. Thousands upon thousands of them!
Someone once told me that the money is out there, and you just have to find a way of getting some of it. Why couldn’t you own just one home?
Though again, if you enjoy your job and you’re not really into building wealth, then it’s perfectly okay to rent. Stick with it. I mean it. As I said earlier, there’s no right or wrong answer.
I’m Renting First, Then Buying
I suppose I’ve been renting ever since I graduated high school. I’ve lived in four cities and seven different houses. I’m happy as a renter for the time being. I’ve been able to live in different houses in different neighborhoods, and I feel as though it’s been a good way of testing the waters. I know what size and style of home I like, what kind of neighborhood atmosphere I enjoy, etc.
Had I rushed to buy a house before renting, I wouldn’t have bought the best house – I’m sure of that.
Renting is good. Buying is good. But as someone who enjoys wealth-building, I aim to buy. Now if only I could pick which city I want to live in for the long term…