Updated: Apr 9, 2021
The whole "Buying VS Renting" debate has always been around, but I feel like in the last few years it has become more prominent. You log in to social media, and you either see a couple announcing their engagement, pregnancy or their new house. Don't get me wrong - I've got nothing against people buying their homes and I'm genuinely happy for them.
However, sometimes I do feel like having a house is the new way of showing you are successful, and that you should strive to buy a house. The conversations around this topic make me feel that those who rent are seen as less successful and aspirational because of it. I often see people commenting and saying that "renting is dead money" and that you should buy because it's an investment and mortgages are cheaper than renting. Yes, they are valid reasons, but as a single 31-year old, let me tell you something. Not all of us can afford to buy and there are actually some reasons why renting is a better option for many than buying.
You need a large deposit to buy a house
I can just hear people saying "Oh but what about the 5% deposits? And there's the H2B and LISA!" Or "Maybe if you stop eating out and buying avocados you can afford to save for a deposit"
Yes to all that. But what about the fact that a lot of us, who are single or on low paid jobs can't actually afford to save? Or those who have no other option than to rent in places such as London, where rents are over £1,000? I, for example, didn't start my career until I was 26. On a £15k salary, commuting and renting because my whole family lives in Portugal. It wasn't until 3 years ago where I started to see significant increases in my salary. But even then, I opted to buy a car instead, which would give me a better ability to get a house somewhere that didn't depend on public transport. Because of lockdown, I managed to save a bit of money, but that wouldn't even be enough to put a deposit down in the area I'd like to live. Another thing is, I like my life. I like going out for meals with my friends.
Not all of us can have help from family
One thing that sometimes annoys me is when I read those articles that say "Couple buys first home after a year of saving" or something like that. Then you read it and found out that - "I had help from my parents" or "I moved back home and was able to save £800". Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have that much luck. Growing up working-class with a single parent, my mum was never able to save much. So when it comes to getting help - I'm on my own. And I'm sure a lot of people are in the same situation.
If anything breaks, the landlord covers it
This is a bit of a controversial one, as I have heard plenty of stories about bad landlords. Fortunately for me, I've always had the kind of landlords that have fixed things whenever there was an issue - also lucky that I've never had big issues either.
But the truth is if you have a decent landlord when things such as the boiler breaking, or there's an electric fault, they will fix it. I cannot think of anything worse than buying a house and then the boiler breaking and me having to fork the money to pay for it. Actually, this image was what put me off buying a house alone, at least for now.
Renting gives you flexibility
No matter how pro-buying you are you have to admit this. Renting gives you the type of flexibility that buying doesn't give you. Most renting contracts are either carried out monthly, 6 months or a year. After that, you almost always have the option to renew, or if you want, move. This is great for young or single people, especially if you move jobs, etc.
Yes, there's the problem of if the landlord decides to sell the house. But most likely, they will give you notice and you'll be able to find a new place to move to. (We got pushed out of our previous house with a 2 weeks notice and found a house in a very popular area of Liverpool within 3 days).
Well, kinda. To be honest, the fact that I don't have a mortgage is a bit of a relief to me. Having been made redundant twice, my first thoughts were always how am I going to pay for my bills, but I always knew if it came to move in with a friend, I always had that option. Or if something happened I didn't have to worry about selling the house, or having to get into more debt to furnish or pay for the said boiler that broke. (The breaking boiler really is on my mind!)
House prices have increased during the last 20 years but salaries stayed the same and I think it's very important for people to realise this and to realise that it is OK to rent. People's circumstances are different and for some that "waste" of money is the better option. I know for me it is.
Blog post author: Alexa Pereira
Alexa is an adopted Scouser, originally from Portugal. After moving to a new country at 22 and only recently turning 30, Alexa is the perfect person to share her experiences of being a twenty-something!
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