Wide World o ZuTroy

I Rent and I’m Proud of It

Single-family home

This is not my house, but it's close.

If you recall way back in Oct of 2007 we decided to sell our condo and not buy a house.  I remember how hard that decision was. I didn’t want to be “a renter”.  But I had enough good sources telling me that buying a home in 2007 was a bad idea.  It’s easy now to look back and say “duh, 2007 was almost as bad as 2008 for buying a home”.  But at the time not buying a home because of bad timing was like telling people the sky was falling, anyone who had a stable job desire could qualify for a loan for just about any amount they wanted and move in to a brand new home in a matter of days.

Anyway, now I have this stigma that follows me around.  Some people get it but most don’t.  They still see this big “renter” sign on my forehead and just assign all those stereotypical things that we’ve been taught go along with “renter”.

When we moved in my wife was so excited to be in the new neighborhood.  She made a huge batch of cookies and took plates to all our new neighbors.  Most of the had seen the “for rent” sign out in front but they didn’t say anything, they just smiled and took the cookies.  One neighbor was rude enough that when my wife introduced herself the first thing she responded with was “Aren’t you guys renting?”  As if renters can’t bring their neighbors cookies.  It’s been almost 4 years and that neighbor still won’t talk to us or even look us in the eye.  Since then when a new neighbor moves in and starts talking with us about home owner issues it always comes up and half the time we get the “Ooooooooooh… You’re ‘renting’.” and the subject gets changed.  The other half of the time we get to tell our reasons and they look at us like “Man, I wish I had been that smart”.

So I was wondering about it the other day.  4 years worth of rent, that’s a lot of money.  Was it really the right decision?

Math time.

What I’ve paid – 48 months times $1200 = $57,600

What my neighbor has paid – 48 months times $2521 = $121,008

Right there that’s some pretty decent savings… But wait, there’s more.

What do I own for my $57K – Nothing

Where does my neighbor stand with his $121K paid?  Principal paid – $15,809. Balance on home – $304,191. Home value – $219,000

Wow, that’s worse than I was expecting.  No wonder so many of our neighbors have lost their homes.

But there’s still one thing.  Freedom.

I can move any time I want.  My neighbor? He’s stuck there until his value comes up about $80K or until he decides to walk away from it and ruin his credit.

I guess that’s worth having this “renter” stigma that follows me around.  That’s a small price compared to what I could have paid in order to have that “homeowner” stigma.

  • Jj

    I’m really trying in all facets of my life to question every bit of ‘the norm’ that I grew up with. Not saying my parents were bad teachers or anything, but rather, society is a bad teacher. Society, as a whole, will always choose the path of least resistance. That path is not always a wise one. The stigma of “Your financially stupid because you rent a house” is one of those societal norms that really needs to be thought out. Why? Just look at your post above. 

    I don’t think home ownership is going to ever payoff like it did from 2000-2008, and I think the current system/setup of mortgages is deeply flawed and completely out of balance with progress. It’s not something I plan to jump into anytime soon…