“The Benefits of Renting” – A Renters Experience

Christopher Hann

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With the post-credit crunch lending restrictions implemented by the banks, including the imposition of larger deposits, renting is becoming a way of life for many. In this new economic landscape, where many can not afford to step onto the property ladder, renting can offer a number of benefits compared to full home owership.

I am not on the housing ladder myself and so in this post I’ll look at some of the benefits to renting that I have come across when compared to people I know who have bought properties outright. Flexibility

Renting provides a flexibility of mobility, especially for young professionals like myself, as many do not have the benefit of confirmed job security and may also have to move location to progress their career. If somebody needs to be able to move to where a better position is, or where more work is available, then being tied down with a mortgage can be counter productive to their career progression. It takes time to sell and then buy a new home and looking for work can be a time sensitive issue.

A change in circumstances can also have a big impact on how and where you want (or indeed, need) to live and it’s true to say that these changes in circumstances can occur more frequently earlier on in life. You might meet someone you want to move in with, you might need room for a baby or you might even have to move into a smaller place due to the end of a relationship.  There are a multitude of reasons why you might want to quickly move into a new place.  When you are renting, moving is rarely difficult and can provide you with more felxible options than when selling and purchasing.

The flexibility of renting compared to owning is one of the main reason why I personally have not stepped onto the property ladder. I am not sure where, or with who, I am going to be in a few years time and being tied down to a property could be counter productive to what crops up in the future.

Budgeting

Currently household incomes are incredibly weak and many new jobs come with lower pay and stripped down benefits. Those in the younger generation, who would be looking to enter the property market, are also faced with higher amounts of student debt to pay off and the continuing increase in the cost of living.  So in the current economic climate, every penny counts when working out a budget.

When you own a house it becomes your sole responsibility to insure, furnish, maintain and pay for it. Doing this not only costs you money, but if funds are tight and you elect to to ‘do-it-yourself’, can be time consuming and possibly cause even more problems if you’re not very ‘handy’. With a rented property the worry and burden are taken out of your hands. It is the landlord, more often than not through a letting agency, whom is responsible for the long term maintenance of the property.  With a professionally managed property, if something goes wrong in your rented home, and it’s not a result of your negligence, then one phone call and the problem and associated cost is dealt with for you.  You don’t even need to be at home to let someone in or oversee the repairs.

Living in a rented property can be more straightforward on a day to day basis. The thought of coming home after a along day at work and having to fix a problem is not something that fills me with joy. Knowing that I can pass this on to someone else provides with a piece of mind I know I would not be able to achieve if I owned the property.

Costs

When purchasing a house it’s not just the agreed purchase price you have to worry about forking out for as there are also a variety of other costs that are incurred.  There are arrangement fees, legal fees, stamp duty, property improvement costs (carpet, curtains, wallpaper, furnishings, etc.).  Then there is also buildings insurance, property survey costs, mortgage indemnity insurance and the list goes on.  These costs can add up to tens of thousands of pounds, and this is before you have even settled into your new home.  Annoyingly these are costs that you will never be able to recoup if your circumstances change and you need to move.  While obtaining a rented property is not cost free it is nowhere near as expensive as purchasing the property.

Until I know I am ready to settle down for the long term the thoughts of being hit by a whole list of costs every time I want, or have, to move does not sit well with me. While there are fees I have to pay if I wanted to move to a new rented property these, if you use a reputable agent, will usually only be in the hundreds of pounds rather than thousand.

From my experience renting is proving to be quite beneficial and, for the short to medium term, it is giving me the ability to figure out where I want to go in life. I can see not being tied down to a property giving me the chance to jump on any opportunity that comes my way and I have plenty of time to work towards moving into a property I can truly call home.

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