My Opinion Of The Great Renting vs Buying Debate

I once sold my house and started renting a house instead. This raised quite a few eyebrows and led to questions about renting vs buying from nearly everyone. I even had several people tell me that I was making a stupid mistake. I wasn’t surprised, though. Many people believe the myth that if you are…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: June 27, 2019

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My Opinion Of The Great Renting vs Buying DebateI once sold my house and started renting a house instead. This raised quite a few eyebrows and led to questions about renting vs buying from nearly everyone.

I even had several people tell me that I was making a stupid mistake.

I wasn’t surprised, though. Many people believe the myth that if you are renting a home you don’t know how to manage your money and that buying is always better, no matter what.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sometimes buying can be the better decision, but there are times when renting can fit a person’s situation better.

While we loved owning our last home and there were many positives, buying a house last year would have been a huge hassle and a mistake for us.

Below are the many reasons why I’m happy we decided to rent our last home, but I’ve also included the reasons why we’re happy to eventually own our next one. Hopefully my opinion of renting vs buying below will help you decide what you should do. Everyone’s situation is different, so there is no right or wrong answer.


We moved to a new area where we didn’t know anyone.

One of the main reasons for why we decided to rent our last home is because we did not know if we would love our new location. We picked a random place in the United States that we had only visited for a few days, and we had no friends or family there.

So, we really had no idea what we would think of it.

Buying a house in an area you don’t know well, especially if you aren’t forced to move there, doesn’t make much sense to me. This could have been a disaster for us, because we could have actually ended up hating where we were living, and had we bought we would have felt stuck.

That is not a situation I wanted to be in, especially since we did not have to. This is one big positive of being location independent since we can choose exactly where we want to live, and now we have the ability to take our time and make sure we’re making the right decision.


We knew we were going to move again.

When we decided to move to Colorado, we kind of knew that we would move at least one more time before we settled down.

Well, I’m glad we didn’t buy, because we were right.

We LOVED Fruita, Colorado, but our situation changed and now we are traveling full-time for at least the next few years. Had we bought we would have wasted a lot of money and time.


We didn’t want to deal with the hassle of homeownership for such a short amount of time.

Since we knew we weren’t going to stay put for more than a year, we did not want to go through the hassle of buying a home and dealing with all of the time that goes into that.

One great thing about renting is that if something happens that is out of your control, such as crazy weather or something needing to be replaced/repaired, all you have to do is call your landlord.

Of course, you still want to take good care of everything. And, as everyone knows, homeownership can be stressful, because you never know what expenses may arise.

There are many other possible costs that go into homeownership, such as closing costs, a down payment, monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, lawn care, insurance, HOA fees, maintenance costs, and more.

As a renter, all you have to do is pay the rent each month. You don’t need to have an extra padded emergency fund for home repairs, because that is not your responsibility (unless you break something on your own, of course).

And, this is another reason for why renting for the past year was such a great decision for us. We didn’t want any homeownership stress in our lives.


Eventually, we do want to buy a home again.

In the future, we 100% see ourselves owning again. We’re not sure where it will be located or when we will start looking, but we know it will happen eventually.

There are many reasons why we want to own again.

  • We want a forever place.
  • We don’t want to deal with leases or finding rentals.
  • We want to pay off a home and have no mortgage (yes, I know we will still have other costs).
  • We want a place to call “home.”
  • We don’t want a landlord (don’t get me wrong, our last landlord was great).

What do you think of the renting vs buying debate?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I think you’re right when you said that everyone’s situation is different.

    I, too, find that sometimes renting a house is better (financially) that buying a house. When you calculate the maintenance costs, taxes, and all other expenses of a house for a number of years, you may come up with expenses bigger than what the value of your house is. Not a pretty sight to look at.

    Whereas, if you rent, the only thing you need to worry about is rent payment because everything should be taken of by your landlord (mostly).

    In addition, if you buy a house you need to make at least 20% down payment so you won’t have to pay the PMI. If you invest that 20% down payment in the stock market instead at a rate of something, you may end up having more money than what the value of house is.

    Of course, there are benefits to owning a house. One benefit is that you can re-model, change the layout, etc. without having to battle with somebody (well, except your significant other).

  2. Vanessa Jencks

    While living in my non-passport country, the option has only been renting. China just recently opened up the ability for foreigners to own homes or apartments in Beijing. (Although, really, the cost is outrageous if I wanted to buy an apartment!)

    In our modest 1100 square foot apartment in Beijing, we were paying USD$322. We have a school benefit now for USD$500 for a five bedroom, four bathroom, and two living rooms, two story condo. Whew – what a mouthful! 🙂

    We’re allowed to rent out the rooms if we want to – so we could make up the cost if we wanted. We wouldn’t be able to do that on the same size apartment in this city due to the cost of the mortgage.

    1. Wow, that’s very affordable!

  3. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor

    It’s important to realize that whether renting or buying is wiser financially depends on the person’s situation. Like you, we wanted to buy a home & pay it off, which will give us more freedom with our income for the foreseeable future. (We’re almost there.) But the first four years of marriage, we weren’t ready for home ownership for a number of reasons, and I never viewed rent money as “wasted” because it bought us the time we needed to make the big decision to purchase a home.

    1. Yes, it definitely depends on the person’s situation.

  4. Our mortgage is WAY less expensive than renting is around here. I prefer owning because we’ve built up a lot of equity in our home. Also I just like feeling like it’s mine and I can do what I want to it. We might rent again in the near future though. We might move for better job opportunities, and I’m sure we’ll rent to figure out the new area before we buy.

    1. Yes, our last house was very comparable to renting too. It was so cheap!

  5. Amy @ DebtGal

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said neither is right nor wrong, and everyone’s situation is different.

    I’m a complete homebody, and I know that we’re not planning to move anytime soon – barring something unforeseen and significant. So, homeownership made sense for us. But you’re so right about the hidden costs! I knew that intellectually when we went into it, but I’ve been amazed at just how pricey some things can get!

  6. I think it’s important to do whatever makes sense for your individual goals. Buying made sense for us – we value a yard (we have about half an acre) and my husband likes to do small renovations and side projects as a hobby. We also live in a place where renting can be very pricey. I have a coworker who rents a two bedroom apartment for double our mortgage! But I also think it’s important not to be swayed by popular opinion. Don’t buy a house for the “American Dream” white picket fence thing. The American Dream doesn’t talk about property taxes and mortgage payments 😉

  7. Rent until you are realllllly settled. I still rent and I’m 29 years old, single, and don’t have kids. I think renting makes sense. If I want to move, I can move very easily. If I got married and had kids however, I would probably buy.

    1. Yes, definitely! We have major travel goals, so buying right now would just be an extra thing to worry about.

  8. I think your decision makes perfect sense! I would hate to buy a home and turn around and sell it a few years later. That’s a good way to set yourself up for a loss.
    I love owning my home, but it’s mostly because we have kids and never plan to move anywhere else.

  9. Melanie

    As a wife to a realtor, we will never go back to renting after owning 2 homes. I agree that everyone’s situation is different but if you have good credit and want to stay in the same place for the long term, then buying is a better option.

    If you are paying $2,000/month for a rental and sign a 3-year lease, that nets to $72k spent on renting and you walk away with nothing when you move – whereas if you buy a home, you could walk away with a large profit, as long as the market is steady and you get the right loan – because let’s face it, not many home owners can pay for a home in full.

    Sure there are costs with upkeep when owning your home, but as long as you make the right upgrades, you will see a return in investment while living in a space that you can call your own.

    1. I agree Melanie. If I knew I was going to stay somewhere long-term and buying fit my situation better, I would buy again.

  10. This is a decision my husband and I go back and forth on all the time. For now, our goal is getting out of debt and buying a house seems like it could really jeopardize the progress we have made.

    For us, the stable expense of renting is very helpful compared to all the unknowns that can happen when you buy a house…furnace go out? Roots block up main sewage line (yes, that happened to us in our last home!)? Owning a home can really get expensive!

    Someday we hope to own again, but it will have to be when we are more stable financially so we can enjoy the process and not be stressed…


  11. Yes! We loved owning our last home, but it just doesn’t fit our situation right now.

    1. I believe you can go to 🙂

  12. Allison

    Great advice Michelle! We currently get housing through my job and are thankful for that as it saves us so much. We too, would like to be able to own without a mortgage so saving for a house after we knock off our student loans is a top priority.

  13. I think reaching the age of 30 and not being homeowners (and having never been homeowners) threw my husband for a loop. However, your reasons for now owning right now apply to us, too! We recently moved to a new city (shouldn’t buy right away!) and don’t plan to be here for more than a few years (transaction costs of buying/selling too expensive!). Not that we have sufficient savings for a down payment here, anyway! I’d rather focus on building up a down payment fund for when we move to our forever city.

    1. Yes, definitely! Where’d you move to?

      1. We moved to Seattle last summer.

  14. Speaking as someone who bought a house where everything started breaking/dying… I say renting has some huge advantages. A home ties you down and makes moving very difficult — unless you’re lucky enough to sell right away.

    I imagine it’d be nice to take a break from the frustration of home ownership for a while. I know I daydream about it sometimes… like when something new needs replacing.

    1. Haha, I know exactly what you mean! I was so glad to sell our last house.

  15. When I graduated college, many people said I should have bought a house even though I was single with no kids…okay. It’s been a little over a year since I graduated and I’m glad I didn’t buy a house. I’ve been moving a bit recently and haven’t yet found a place to “ground my roots”.

    I’ve heard about the 5-year rule. If you buy a house, you should plan on living in it for at least 5 years in order to recoup costs and make something off of it. Where I’m living now, I am for sure not going to be here for the next 5 years!

    1. Good job on listing to yourself!

  16. I really think it depends on your situation. We were renters for a long time, and in an expensive cost of living area (San Francisco). There, both the costs of home ownership and renting were and still are outrageous. We could only afford to rent, but I appreciated not having to worry about repairs. Then my husband went to law school and we moved to a much lower cost-of-living area, and we ended up buying after he got a job there. Our mortgage for a 3 BR home is much lower than what it would cost to rent the same place, and we use the savings to pay off law school loans (yippee! ;)).

  17. Hung Thai

    There are 2 rules I live by that might be particularly pertinent for this debate: 1. If I’m going to be staying in a place for a few years, I’ll buy it. 2. If the cost of renting and mortgage is the same, I’ll buy the place. You made the right decisions though if you’re not sure about the permanence of your residency.

    1. Thanks! Do you currently own? If so, how many?

      1. Hung Thai

        yeah I currently own and have been looking to buy an investment property for a long time but it’s still a seller’s market; waiting for the buyer’s market to arrive before purchasing a second home 🙂

  18. Michael

    The problem I have with renting is being told what I can and cannot do in my living space. I understand that the landlord has to protect their investment but, for example, I don’t like paying extra to have pets and being told what pets I can and cannot have. I would also like to have the option to modify the paint, cabinets, etc. So i’m currently saving for a down payment. I don’t need a large house. My current apartment is 550 square feet and i’ve lived here for almost four years. I do like the flexibility and the fact that i’m not responsible for repairs. I have had the furnace and garbage disposal replaced without charge. I also have had the A/C repaired multiple times free of charge. Also my landlord has always taken care of yard work, pest control, etc. But I see myself staying in the area for the foreseeable future and I think i’m at the point in my life where i’m willing to accept a little more responsibility in order to have my own yard and be able to set my own rules.

    1. Yes, I’m not a fan of being told what to do either.

  19. Anita

    When owning a house is more expensive than renting a house, nobody would lease his house to others because he would pay more than he gets.

  20. Norman

    You make some great points about the renting vs. owning debate. I’ve moved around quite a bit as well and had a lot of the same thoughts you had regarding why I was currently renting. Now I’ve finally decided to live somewhere long-term and decided to buy. I think the key is to consider one’s circumstances and take a more holistic view when deciding between renting or owning.

  21. We owe a lot in taxes every year as it is and it would double without the house. That reason alone makes me glad to own, but there are many others.

  22. I agree with this post totally. It doesn’t make sense in every situation to purchase a home. You guys were smart not to buy a place in a foreign city and it gives you the freedom to do as you please instead of tying yourself down to a possible financial pit hole. This is why it’s called personal finance because no scenario is a one sized fit all solution.

  23. You could go back and forth on this forever. I think the best thing to do is spend some time weighing the pros and cons as well as what your plans are for the next 1-3 years and then just make a choice! Once you make a choice you just have to make the best of it. Life’s all about making adjustments.

  24. Tyler @ Oddball Wealth

    Buying vs renting all depends on personal preference. I currently rent, even though I know I would get more value from owning such as building equity.

    I rent for many reasons, one reason being I’m not sure where I’ll be in the next couple of years (with my career and still deciding where want to live). Also, being single, renting just seems more feasible.

  25. Brittney@ Life On A Discount

    I am a firm believer that people should do what is best for their situation. For us, we decided to buy a home. It worked for us because 1) we are paying it off within 18 years, 2) our mortgage is cheaper than if we paid rent for the same size place, 3) we plan to stay in our home for at least 10 years and will be starting a family soon, 4) we plan to use it as a rental property in the future, and 5) we bought well below our means.

    If we were going to move often or lived in a high cost of living area, we would not have purchased a home.

  26. For me, owning a home is a huge commitment! I’ve never committed to anything for longer than a cell phone, and even then I am usually unhappy in a matter of months. For me, I expect to be renting for a long time because of that.

  27. I have never owned a house, just rented 3 different homes over the span of 12 years. My husband and I are at the point where we see that buying makes more sense for us, so we are currently saving for a down payment. But, every one has a unique situation – what makes sense for one person may not make sense for another. Thanks for sharing!

  28. I definitely think there are times where it makes sense to rent. Obviously, if you’re not sure you want to stay in an area or your job might transfer you to a new place, renting makes more sense. There are also reasons to rent in insanely expensive areas instead of buying – sometimes you just can’t afford to buy! I think it really boils down to personal choice.

  29. Lindsey

    I was in this same dilemma just a few months ago. My boyfriend doesn’t want to own a house yet and I really want to. I think without saying it out loud we’ve both agreed we want to stay in our current city for awhile but he doesn’t want to deal with the upkeep of a house but the price to rent an apartment we could be owning a house and paying less.

    I’ve tried to talk him into buying but he won’t budge thoughts?