Home ownership can be a great thing for the right person who's ready for a long-term commitment. But to some, whether you're spreading your wings to leave the nest or you're simply contemplating your next move, signing a lease seems to be the perfect option. No matter what you've heard, here are six advantages to apartment rental over buying a home.
Some of you may be scratching your heads at this one; maybe because you've heard the opposite. But the truth is, rent is typically cheaper than a mortgage for a comparable size home. Still skeptical?
In San Francisco, the price-to-rent ratio (ratio of home price to yearly rent) is 21.6. This is based on the average cost of the home—$1.18 million—to the average yearly rent—$54,600. In this city by the bay, it's generally more economical to rent.
This economic trend doesn't span every city, but it does seem to hold true in densely populated areas where home prices are high.
No Out-of-Pocket Repairs
Unless the damage is due to that party you had last Saturday night, you don't have to worry about forking out hundreds of dollars for necessary repairs. Got a leaky toilet? Call the landlord. A broken stove? Maintenance will handle it.
Between indoor appliance troubles and outdoor needs that crop up like broken gutters, cracked driveways, and deteriorating siding, you're looking at spending anywhere from 3.6-4.5% of the original purchase price of the home every year on repairs.
But repairs are not the only out-of-pocket expenses you'll be free of as an apartment renter. You'll also enjoy freedom from homeowner's insurance, property taxes, and home improvement expenses that invariably come up over time.
Not only are dreaded repairs someone else's problem, renting an apartment means you're free of the hassles of maintenance. You won't have to mow the yard or start up the weed-eater. Which means spending the day shopping or at the lake instead of tackling the lawn.
You also don't have to be bothered with contracting out pest control, cleaning the gutters, resealing the deck, flushing the water heater, cleaning the chimney, or re-grouting the bathroom tile. There are a million other things you'd rather be doing, and as a renter, you can!
Amenities and Other Perks
Most homes don't come with a maintenance-free swimming pool and a home gym. But most apartments do. Okay, so they're not maintenance free, but at least you don't have to worry about taking on the responsibility.
If you enjoy swimming or simply lounging by the pool without having to worry about chemicals, leaf traps, and skimmer nets, you'll be glad you decided to rent an apartment. And while not all apartments have a gym, it's getting easier and easier to find ones that do nowadays.
Some people are commitment-phobic. Others simply need the freedom of picking up and moving whenever they want. Most apartment leases run year to year. But others will let you pay month to month, giving you flexibility if you decide to don't want to stick around.
With home ownership, you're pretty much stuck there until you can get your property list-ready and find a buyer to take it off your hands. How long a home stays on the market depends on a number of variables, such as price, demand, and location. But renters never have to worry about those things.
Strong Sense of Community
If you enjoy socializing and forming tight bonds with your neighbors, you'll want to live somewhere that has a strong sense of community. Many apartment complexes do, and fortunately, this is something that's fairly easy to investigate before signing the lease.
Pay a few visits to the apartment complex before making a final decision and talk with some of the other residents. If the buildings are clean and tenants are smiling and friendly, that's typically a good sign you're dealing with a cohesive group that looks out for one another.
Ask them how they enjoy living there and if there are any community activities such as tenant meetings, softball or bowling leagues, and socials. There definitely appears to be a growing trend among building owners and developers to offer so much more than a just place to live.