It’s my opinion that one of the biggest financial divides between my generation and my parents’ generation our respective opinions on the value of homeownership.
To my parents, the question of renting versus buying is a no-brainer. Buying a home is the obvious choice. While there are numerous arguments to be made in favor of home ownership – some financial, some non-financial – I think my parents are such vehement proponents of buying a home because of personal experience. They’re on their fifth home, and they’ve always turned a very big profit on their home sales. It’s tough to argue with that type of experience, regardless of the current scary headlines about rampant foreclosures and people being stuck in homes that they’re upside down on.
My sense is that my generation will approach home ownership much more cautiously than my parents’ generation. I know a lot of people who are planning to be renters forever – not because they can’t afford it, but because they don’t want the risk and responsibility of entering into a mortgage. And a big part of me – while at the same time intellectually understanding the arguments in favor of homeownership – kind of wants to rent forever, too.
A small, recent example: when I returned home from hospitalization #1, my mom and I discovered a gas leak in my apartment. It turns out the gas line to my stove needed to be replaced, but when my building servicemen were investigating the situation, they concluded that I also needed a new stove because the dials on my old one were getting stuck and allowing small amounts of gas to escape, even when the stove was off. I got the gas line replaced and a brand new stove – brand new! – at no additional cost of time or money to me. Every time I look at that beautiful new stove, renting looks pretty rosy. (It also helps that my apartment is in a prime neighborhood…like, tourist destination good…. and is rent-controlled…but that’s a whole other post!)
I’m sure I’ll change my mind someday and genuinely want to become a homeowner. But for right now, I love renting. Sorry mom and dad.