Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Renting Myths Debunked

I know many people feel that renting a home is like throwing money away. I hope in my previous posts I have adequately demonstrated that sometimes owning a home IS throwing money away!

Public policy is partly to blame for the negative stigma attached to renting. I found this article in my research that you might find interesting. You might be thinking that you could use the tax advantage associated with paying interest. Calculate that very carefully. If you don't have enough deductions to itemize you will take the standard deduction anyway. Taxes = politics and politics can change. The mortgage interest deduction may not always be around.

Let me remind you that we are a unique group, but we are still in training. There will be time for home ownership later. This is the time to enjoy the consistency and security that comes with renting a home or apartment. Let someone else be responsible for the maintenance, replacement, upkeep, potential depreciation, wear and tear, etc that comes with home ownership.

Owning a home is not all it is cracked up to be! When you rent, you know what your rent is. When you own you never know what problem is waiting around the corner or when it will strike. I might add that it will never come at a good time, and you will never have the money when it does. When you rent, you have someone to call to fix what is broken. If they don't fix it you have recourse. When you own your home, there is no one to call unless you have the money:-)

I could never have dreamed of the expenses we incurred just in maintenance. Owning a home has an untold number of hidden expenses that I have tried to detailed. The fees getting in, the maintenance staying in, and the fees getting out. All of which are expenses that are associated only with owning.

You may make the mistake of thinking that you don't need to worry about what happens when you go to sell because you will be a rich doctors' wife. Don't take that naive approach to this very important decision.

There are too many variables that can sabotage your best intentions. You don't have to look very hard to find someone whose:
  • Residency programs closes
  • Program isn't a good fit
  • Husband changed their minds about specialties
  • Husband decided to do a fellowship:-)
When you own a home you are tied down. It is a burden you will carry every month, every year.

I hope the housing market recovers enough to provide families a sense of security in owning a home. I really do. Buying a home was never intended to be a short-term situation. For people who will be living in their home a long time, buying and paying that mortgage off as quickly as possible is a great idea. For those of us just passing through the last thing we need is a mortgage and house to take care of.

Remember you are not like everyone else. This financial situation is temporary for you. Your light at the end of the tunnel is at least a light! Because your future is different, making money (or losing it) on a house is not something you need to be concerned with. 

Right now your job is to get trained and move on. What is an immediate concern is providing for yourself and your family. The best way to do that is to eliminate unnecessary risk. Owning a home right now is an unnecessary risk. Your budget will have a better chance of survival if you can keep your largest monthly expense constant, no surprises, no hidden fees.

I love this quote by Dave Ramsey,  


Your time will come! It will be here before you know it!

I know you have dreams of decorating and painting. Guess what? Many landlords will let you do whatever you want, provided it is tasteful or is painted the original color when you leave. Don't let yourself get hung up on paint! The good news is that there are many people in tough situations who need to rent their homes - there is no shortage of rentals.

Entire industries exist telling you that buying a home is always the right decision. Realtors (I know I have at least one realtor reader:-) make commissions every time a home is sold. In the last 6 years our home has generated $17,000 in brokerage fees alone.

HGTV would have us believe that we can take any house and with a couple hundred dollars turn it into a magazine worthy show piece. Home Improvement stores are like Disneyland to a person who owns a home! Home inspectors, appraisers, radon mitigators all profit from the buying/selling of homes. Local governments must love the constant turn-over, they collect transfer taxes. Bankers will let you borrow more than you should. Home buying and selling might not be a good deal for you, but it is a heck of a deal for everyone else.

The only person looking out for your best interests is YOU! The only person who is concerned about the welfare of your family is YOU! The only person who can make this very important decision is YOU!

Next: Making It Work


  1. This is such a thoughtful, insightful post.
    I would never buy a house until I was ready to completely settle down. Unfortunately, I have not found "my city" yet, and neither has Resident Husby. We are renting a house and, therefore, letting someone else worry about the plumbing, electrical issues, vinyl siding, etc.

  2. Thank you for this post. My husband had an entire career prior to med school and we owned and sold several homes in that time. In preparation for med school we sold everything and moved into an apartment. We were so happy - it did not effect our tax return, we saved time and did more family stuff and spent less money. We were happy not to be at Home Depot every weekend. We do not plan on buying a home soon or ever again (we will probably buy property maybe with a shack on it to get away and have in the family). Thanks again for putting the message out there - owning is not all it is cracked up to be all the time.

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  4. I have a home that will be 100 years old next year. I love it but sometimes this old lady can be a pain. We cannot\ turn on the lights in the first bedroom because something is going snap, crackle and pop. I have to call the electrician this week. The living room, dining room and first bedroom still have the original electrical wires when the house was built. You can imagine how much that is going to cost us. Sometimes I feel, maybe we should have continued to rent and put extra money into a savings account.


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