Renting, for me, is a temporary situation. It’s definitely not the worst living situation to have, and there are advantages to apartment life (as well as downsides).
Eventually, I do want to buy a home, mainly for the sake of my kids. I’m just not sure, yet, where that house will be—or when I’ll be moving into it.
Let me acknowledge a fact of which I’m fully aware: as a renter, I’m paying someone else’s mortgage rather than my own. I’m helping the owner of that property build equity.
This is not something to argue or to take personally. It’s just a fact. Real estate agents share this not to shame renters but to encourage anyone who might be on the fence to take a closer look at their options.
Now, let me add that, in full knowledge of that fact, I’m choosing to rent right now for the following reasons:
- Parenting Time
- Walking Distance
- No Lawn or Flowerbeds to Maintain
- No Need for Major New Purchases
My credit rating has taken a hit over the past 20+ years and I’m currently working on repairing it (getting back to “Excellent”). Even if I wanted to buy a house, no mortgage lender would take me seriously right now.
With tightening FICO restrictions, it’s near impossible to get a mortgage loan if your rating is under 620 (or is it 640?).
So, I’ll work on that before I think about buying a home.
For the time being, living in an apartment within a ten minute’s drive from my kids’ dad (to make the joint custody/parenting time arrangement easier) makes more sense.
There are no houses around here within my price range that I’d want to commit to for the next several years.
That could change, and I could revisit the idea in the next few years. But right now, the apartment I’m renting is the best option for me.
I love that my new apartment is within walking distance of a the downtown area. I’ve missed being able to walk to places from my apartment (the one I had years ago in Salem, Oregon). I’m hoping, when I can buy a home, that I can find one within walking distance of the nearest downtown area—or at least a few places I’d want to walk to.
For now, it helps that my apartment is nearly right across the street from the middle/high school my youngest will be attending next fall (2023-24). When he’s staying with me, he’ll be able to walk to and from school, if he wants—at least when the weather is decent.
Our new apartment complex has a well-equipped laundry room, a fitness room (small but effective), a business room/study, and a community room we can reserve at no charge for social gatherings.
It also has secure high-speed internet included in the rent. And while I’ll still be bringing my ethernet cable, that’ll save me a hunk every month. The rent for these apartments is neither low-end nor high-end for the area.
Our new apartment complex has a secured entrance, and each tenant uses an app that allows them to see the person at the door who contacts their apartment number to request entry.
Plus, every apartment door has a peephole. It’s a small thing (literally), but it was one of the first things I looked for when I toured the apartment.
No Lawns or Flowerbeds to Maintain
I don’t have time for outdoor landscaping, lawn mowing, etc. My houseplants are enough for now.
No Need for Major New Purchases
Here are a few things the apartment already comes with:
- Refrigerator w/ freezer
- Air conditioning
I won’t even need to invest in my own security system, which is a big deal for me. That’s one of the major selling points for this apartment complex, right alongside the fact that the rent makes it affordable.
One day, maybe, we’ll have an in-unit washer and dryer, but that’s not one of my top priorities right now.
Paying down debt and rebuilding my credit will be more important over the coming months than renting an apartment with all the bells and whistles. The lifestyle my kids and I live in that unit doesn’t have to please anyone but us.
To me, renting this apartment is a meaningful step up from before. And that’s just the start I need.
Would I Consider Home Ownership in the Future?
Yes! As I mentioned before, I see renting as a temporary situation. I see the value in building equity in a home. I do want to become a homeowner.
It’ll have to wait, though, until my credit rating is in the good zone and my monthly debt payments take up far less of my income.
As for the kind of home I’d want to invest in, I’ll have a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves before I start shopping for one. Not sure, yet, whether I’ll be looking for a one-story or two-story home—or what I want to live close to. Those details will come later.
That said, I would be giddy over a chance to custom-design a 3D-printed home using virtual reality goggles. The sci-fi nerd in me loves that.
If you’re curious, check out SQ4D’s website — along with their TikTok. I’m a fan.
What do you love about renting?
If you’re renting right now, what do you love about it? And if you don’t mind sharing this in the comments, what made you choose renting over buying—at least for now?
And what would it take for you to decide you were ready to buy a home?