Over the years, I have listened to numerous people, running the gamut from housing experts to friends, who have touted the benefits of home ownership. They note that a home owner can build up equity in his or her house over time. By contrast, a person who rents the same residence for decades will have nothing in the bank to show for it. Proponents of home ownership also point to the tax benefits that come with financing a house on credit. I have heard all of these arguments time and again; however, I am not swayed by them. I have not owned a house in years and do not think that I will purchase one again anytime soon.
|Courtesy Microsoft Office|
One of the key advantages for me, as a renter, is that I never have to spend money to fix any structural problems. For a homeowner, it is a different story. Over time, he or she will almost certainly have to spend thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars to fix the roof, to repaint the house, and to perform other maintenance functions. A March 2010 article in Houselogic.com estimates that "[o]ver time, annual maintenance costs average more than $3,300." Contrast that figure with my annual repair and maintenance costs, which are usually zero.
Perhaps more importantly, if the roof collapses or the plumbing goes awry, I do not have not devote any of my precious time to locating a repair company. I also do not have to take time off from my job to ensure that the people I hired to fix the problem are doing quality work. I can simply call my landlord and let him worry about those issues. By contrast, a homeowner will likely devote a significant amount of his or her own time to maintenance and repairs. This represents a lost opportunity cost for the owner; the time he or she spends at these tasks cannot be used for other purposes, such as earning a paycheck. While I could not find a site that would quantify these costs, I bet that, over time, they represent a significant expense for homeowners.
Sometimes I am tempted to become a homeowner. However, when I stop to consider how much money and time I would have to spend on upkeep and repairs if I owned my home, I inevitably come to the conclusion that I am happy to remain a renter.
-- Anthony Hopper
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