I pay rent to live where I do. I could get the same or more housing in terms of space if I opted to live elsewhere. But that would erode the quality of my experience -- my quality of life.
I don't pay rent for shelter. Instead, I pay for the location and all that it provides.
If I buy a home it will be in my current neighborhood. Given the price of real estate here and the cost of entry into the buying process, that might take awhile, if it ever even comes.
I'm not sure I want to be a property owner.
I'm 37, and there's no way I want to commit myself to a mortgage payment of several thousand dollars a month -- that I have to pay out of pocket -- for the next 30 years.
In a nutshell, I focus on two primary areas vis-a-vis the rent vs. buy dilemma. One, location trumps all, even if it means I cannot buy or must delay buying. And two, when I buy, it's all about growth and income, which, interestingly, is the same criteria I have for a majority of my stock selections.
An amazing number of my friends moved out of cities largely, to be able to buy a home. They buy it as shelter and maybe as an investment. But they buy it in an environment they absolutely do not prefer. It's an age-old phenomenon, leaving the city for the less expensive property of the suburbs.
I never understood the mindset: Giving up a lifestyle and atmosphere you love just so you can own a home. I would happily rent for the rest of my life to live in the type of environment and climate I prefer.
Generally speaking, I think people in that type of situation end up regretting their decision on some level.
When we discuss the buy-rent conundrum, we tend to boil it down to a debate over numbers and the supposed superiority of being an owner as opposed to a renter.
Quality of life and experience, are factors that do not come up enough. Too few people frame real estate as a growth and income investment.
If all parties involved -- bankers, real estate agents, buyers -- considered the decision to buy or rent more critically, we might not have fallen quite so haplessly into the aforementioned crisis.
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