I have battled with the conundrum of renting vs owning. The fact that you are reading this tells me that you are either doing some research or battle with the same. This article is sharing my decision making and experience. Sometimes it is nice to hear other people’s thought process to help find a starting place and I hope by sharing my experience, you can find your “light bulb moment” in the decision process.
When I was single, renting was the easier choice. Like most of you making your own decision is not as hard. However, once I got married such decisions made it much harder. The decision was no longer just about me, but it included my wife and the children come into play as well. If that was not hard enough, I also had friends who knowingly and unknowingly pressured us into buying. It is no secret that in today’s culture most of us are surrounded by such family or friends, who advertently or inadvertently apply pressure to buy. Why, because that is what you do, and renting is a money pit so to speak.
At the end of the day, the decision is going to be based on you as an individual, family situation, and hopefully financial abilities. This is why as a family decided to stick with renting for the time being.
The first thing we looked at was our financial situation. Many of our friends, colleagues, and age mates have found themselves falling for the owning culture without really evaluating where their financial situation is. I came out of college with a few student loans, credit card debt, and personal loans and had to keep my regular bills paid. I was normal!
After graduation, I was fortunate to find a job within two months of graduation. My parents raised me to work hard and taught me to be financially responsible. However, in college, I fell for the credit card trick and ended up in debt. Now that I had a job, I felt the need to pay off all my debts before I ended up seeing all my income go to paying off interest. With this in mind, I did not see a need to own.
As I said before, this was an easy decision to make because I was single. Two years later, my then girlfriend became my wife. Now we had combined our household finances and she came with some school loans as well. At the same time, I had also added credit card payment for the engagement ring, a car loan, and bedroom furniture loan. None of which is out of the ordinary for a day to day person. Having been brought up financially responsible, that did not stop me from accruing stupid debt. Also, what you did not know I grew up in a country where we did not have or know what credit cards were. Now I was making an entry-level engineering salary and thought I had all the money to buy all these things I thought “we needed”. Wrong, I was accruing debt at the rate as almost what I was earning and there seemed to be no progress.
Even with the combined family household plus debt, my wife and I had to evaluate whether it made sense to own. Looking at the numbers, there was no slight inclination for us to own. Despite all the pressures and reasons we were given to own, we agreed our financial situation made sense if we rented for now.
The location in which you live/work matters. There are cities in this country (United State) where the cost of living coupled with the real estate market is ridiculous. You wonder how people afford to live in such areas. Kirkland Washington (east side Seattle) is one of such many cities. Kirkland is quite an upscale location and has some of the most expensive property in the Seattle area.
Kirkland is where I moved for my first job. It was the first time I was coming to the Seattle area and at the time had no idea of what to expect regarding housing situations. So, I opted that renting would make more sense to start with. The other factor being I was a broke college student. Lol!
Having lived here for a few years and gotten familiar with the area, this further solidified our decision to stay renting. The real estate continued to become more expensive even in the surrounding areas. We realized based on our budget we could only afford places further up north or way down south of area. Moving further out to afford a house did not sound appealing. We also had built a good community through our church, our current rent was reasonable for the area, and most importantly it fits within our budget.
The other factor that we considered was the traffic mess in this area. As a family man, I was not willing to give up family time to spend two to three hours on the road. My wife and I agreed that family time was important. After many conversations of which not all were easy, renting continued to be more eminent. Location was quite the challenge in this decision process.
Planning for the future is one of those inevitable things that I think one has to consider. So many of you like myself may have a million things they would like to do but end up struggling on choosing. Buddy!, you are not alone and not at fault. I am a person who likes to plan on the fly or go with the flow, but that is not reality all the time. Sometimes in life, you have to take time and make those future plans to set a target. That is just life!
These common questions usually help guide me in making those future plans. Where do you see yourself in five to ten years? What is your dream job? Where would you like to settle? These can be daunting questions when you come to think about it but if you put effort and thought, you could start painting a planned future.
As a family, we have always wanted to move back to the city my wife and I both went to college. That was the starting point for us to plan for what future we wanted as a family. A place we can call home and settle to raise our family. With that picture painted, jobs, the career path you name it will follow when that time comes. Such planning continued to solidify why we should rent for the time being.
Plenty of information and data is out there to help with renting vs owning decision. However, these were our reasons for deciding to rent. Renting for us provided a peace of mind and gave us the freedom to keep focusing on building our down payment fund.
This piece is our own thought process we used to make our decision to rent for the time being. As long as you have put in the effort and common sense to gather your own pros and cons, whatever decision you end up making, know it is okay! This is not a light decision and you should not feel rushed or pressured to make them. Do not play the drummer queen and end up in a miserable situation. Take time to do your research and make an informed decision that will put you on the path of success. Your success is our success!
Food for thought!: Renting is freedom and time to do and plan…
Please share with us your decision process and or reasoning. There is someone out there waiting to hear your story and experience.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. Paul Tournier