I got a call last night from a prospective client who said that he’s renting an apartment and is tired of “throwing his money away.” We are in the early stages of figuring out what his best course of action is and what it will take to follow it. I’ve never been one who thinks that owning a place to live is the perfect solution for everyone regardless of their situation in life. Many people are in circumstances that demand more flexibility in picking up and moving than owning a house will allow. On the other hand, I’ve heard people say things like,”you don’t have to pay for maintenance in a rental- just call the landlord when something breaks.” Fact is, if the landlord takes care of property maintenance, you can be assured that the cost is covered in the rental payment, along with some profit. Otherwise, why would they choose to own rental property? There are many sides to the argument, and often they are not obvious to most people. For example, a renter must understand that they are dependent on the property owner to pay all the costs of the property like mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.. If the property owner fails to pay these due to his or her own financial difficulties, the renter can be left without a place to live. What??? Think about it. Makes you want to get an annual financial statement from your landlord.
Coincidentally, I was at a social engagement recently where one my bride’s relative asked me (as a Realtor) if I had seen the recent Time Magazine article questioning the traditional concepts of home ownership in America. I told him that I had not, but also told him that renting vs. buying depends on the individual’s situation. This week, our Realtor association newsletter came out with links to both the Time article, and a National Association of Realtors response, complete with follow-up comments. See HERE and HERE for the articles. Reading them both along with the follow-up comments just proves my point. One size (or solution) doesn’t fit all- there is no carefree solution to the housing question.
One of my dad’s favorite expressions was, “every chicken has some bones.” It just depends on which bones you want to chew around.