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5 Signs You’ll Be a Renter for Life

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I click through the photos. I download the floor plans. I drag my husband to weekend open houses. I love looking at real estate. But I have yet to buy a home. In fact, I think I might be a renter for life. Here are five signs you might be a renter for life, too.

1. You are indecisive.

Buying a home is a big decision. It will likely be the biggest purchase you ever make. And before you spend that kind of money, it’s good to know what you want. But if you find yourself singing the praises of hardwood floors one week and then talking up the benefits of wall-to-wall carpet the next, you might not be ready. Is a dishwasher a must? What about a second bathroom? Before you hand over a large down payment, you should be able to prioritize and have a good idea of what will make you happy.

2. You want to phone it in.

Yardwork. Plumbing issues. Roof replacement. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to phone a friend … or a landlord. Of course, when you own a home, you can phone an expert to fix a problem, but you have to pay them. When you rent, the majority of that responsibility falls to your landlord.

3. You like to keep your options open.

Whether you want to be able to move down the block or across the country, it’s nice to know you can. Living through the recent recession, I saw many people who weren’t able to find buyers for their homes when they were transferred to new locations or when they simply couldn’t afford to pay the mortgage after being downsized. If you want the flexibility to switch careers and/or coasts, renting may be the better option for you.

4. You want your cash elsewhere.

Maybe you want to invest in the stock market, start a business or have some cash on hand for an emergency. You may not feel like tying up your money in a home. Buying a home usually requires a large sum upfront and then a percentage of your money for the life of your mortgage. If you want the flexibility to choose where your money goes, buying a home might not be right for you.

5. You don’t understand (or you don’t want to).

Owning a home can feel like it has its own language. Between mortgages and taxes, there’s lots to learn. There are resources to help it all make sense. But if you want to remain blissfully ignorant, you can keep renting. You might even be a renter for life.

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