Consider Important Lifestyle Choices in the Rent vs. Buy Decision
American Dream Series: Part 4 of 5
So, you’ve crunched all the numbers and have determined that you can afford to buy and maintain a home that won’t break the bank or derail your retirement plans. Now, you should think about whether or not home ownership is compatible with your ideal lifestyle.
It’s understandable to want to make sacrifices for the sake of owning a home, but it’s also important to consider which sacrifices are worth making, and which will leave you unhappy in the end. Before taking the home ownership plunge, consider the following important lifestyle choices.
Unless home prices are rising steeply, it usually doesn’t make financial sense to sell a home a few years after buying it. If you are uncertain about your job, would like the freedom to relocate for work or would prefer not to be tied to a given city, renting may be the ideal option.
Location, Location, Location
While renters may be able to afford to live in their dream neighborhood, homeowners sometimes have to look to distant suburbs that might take them away from a quality of life that they love. Perhaps the neighborhood with the best schools for your kids is unaffordable if you buy, but attainable if you rent. Maybe you’d really love to surf in the mornings, live close to work, or be near trendy shops and restaurants, but those amenities command sky-high housing prices if you own. If living in a certain neighborhood suits your lifestyle perfectly, then moving away for the sake of home ownership may leave you feeling unsatisfied on a day-to-day basis.
Even if you can afford the costs of home ownership, you should think about how “settled” you feel in your life. Might you want to quit your corporate job and try making it as a musician? If home ownership makes you feel like you are a slave to a mortgage and that you can’t pursue dreams that will bring you real happiness, then it probably is not right for you.
Americans are beginning to question the sacrifices that they make in order to own a home, and should consider if the trade-offs are truly worth it. It’s important to make sure that you don’t compromise the little things in life that bring you happiness, just so that you can have your name on a property deed. In our next post, we’ll sum it all up.