Rent or Buy a Home

Milwaukee, WI

I'm a retired single lady who is currently
on rent. I've owned a home in the past
and loved it but now as I'm getting older
(65) I fear renting is best. I really miss
owning my own home. Your opinions....

Madison, AL

My DH and myself have always owned our own home (except for 1 year in an apartment when first married - 1967!). We lived 27 years in our first home and since then in this one. I love having my own place which is now in the country with five acres, gardens, etc - wonderful. But we have been looking ahead and realize the time will come (if we live, of course) when we cannot keep up with this place. Then I think it may be a relief to have someone else responsible for the upkeep, repairs, etc. At that point we will sadly sell (our children are unlikely to want to live here ever as their careers would not fit here) and rent from someone else. I hope always to have a spot for a garden or at least a sunny area for container plants. All that is in the future now - we have just both retired and are loving having time to really look after the gardens - spring is already here in North Carolina!

Virginia Beach, VA

65 is not old to buy another house. it is a buyers market so take advantage of it if you have the budget for it. Enjoy your retirement years in your own house and buy one with a yard for a garden You have a lot of years left!!! LOL!!!

Belle

Madison, AL

My only concern (if it was me thinking about buying a house - everyone has their own concerns which may be different from me) is that a mortgage at age 65 is potentially a burden. At least when you rent, you are not in debt. Recent years have shown that many seniors with mortgages have had problems while those without mortgages are free of that particular concern. Of course, if someone has the resources to buy without a mortage, it is a different situation. Then you can build equity from the start. Owning is a good feeling, but being debt-free is the best feeling in the world!

Edited to correct poor typing!

This message was edited Mar 20, 2012 5:00 PM

Virginia Beach, VA

i agree with stillwood that it is a good feeling not to have a mortgage but if you have enough to buy cash then weigh what is best for you.

Also visit a real state agent ans check out your options.

Belle

Milwaukee, WI

Thanks for all the responses. Now another question. Isn't
it better from a tax stand point to still pay on a mortgage then
to have one that is paid off?

Virginia Beach, VA

Sure it is good for tax deductions, areal state agent will answer that.

Clay Center, KS(Zone 5b)

The mortgage interest is only a plus when it exceeds the amount of your standard deduction, and also factoring in what income tax you are currently paying. I have to say get advice from an accountant or professional tax preparer. Real estate agents will tell you that mortgage interest "may" be deductible, but they are normally not prepared to accurately assess whether it will benefit you.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

From living in the woods and owning our home viewpoint, I am having mixed feelings. I love owning but realize as we age that our capabilities to maintain are more limited. We have a long drive which requires blading, about five of our 14 acres requires bushhogging, mowing which can be time
consuming, living in a wooded area, we will occasionally have trees which need removing. Particularly if they fall in the drive, etc. With health problems, my husband is no longer able to do these things and most has fallen off on me. I am capable but don't feel I will want to continue longterm.

Were I in your shoes, I would consider buying a home that would be suited to my age and lifestyle.

Regarding the interest deductions for tax purposes, you will have to have adequate income to take advantage of additional deductions. As mentioned earlier, your interest paid will probably not surpass the standard deduction amount. I would far prefer no indebtedness even though I still chose to work. Kristi

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I'd have to agree with that. All the seniors who recently lost homes to foreclosure are one of the best reasons I know to own a home free and clear. You just don't know what tomorrow will bring. We worked hard to pay off our home and be debt-free. And I intend to strive with all my might to keep it that way.





Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Amen to that! When I look at our minimum monthly overhead (being utilities and factoring in annual property taxes) I am so relieved there is no added stress of debt.

A few years back Texas law changed. Originally if your home was paid off, you could not refinance. That law was amended and we know a few elderly folks that did just that and are struggling to repay or lost their homes. So sad....

I do guess maintenance would be top on my mind for home ownership though. My Mom lived in her own home till 92 YO. She would have despised apartments or townhomes. She hated living in a town after farm life. We did not feel her home was suited to her age but it did suit her and she was stubborn enough we did not argue. lol

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

My sister and I bought a small, modest house for cash about 6-7 years ago, with proceeds from our houses before the market went bust. Our total for utilities plus insurance and taxes come to about $500 a month, and we are in an area where the cost of living is very low. Neither of us have any income except social security, so there's no extra money for repairs, etc. (I do have a little more extra money, but mine goes into the garden and whatever projects have caught my fancy.)

So far, I am able to keep up with the yard work, but there are often things I cannot do and must pay to have them done. However, I will stay in a home I own as long as I am able. I like the independence, and I don't plan to stop along the way in an assisted living facility either!

I love the co-housing idea (esp. Earth Haven, near Asheville) but all of them are out of my reach financially. Not just the buy-in, but the annual fees, which are both over and above the cost of a house and utilities.

Cuyahoga Falls, OH(Zone 5a)

Five years ago, we sold our home in the country, and moved back to the suburbs. My husband is 59 and he still works, but we opted to rent this duplex because we enjoy the services. Our landlord does the mowing and the snow plowing. If something breaks, he either has it repaired or he replaces it. He also does yearly maintenance, such as batteries for the smoke alarms, furnace filters and carpet cleaning. It is easy to live here.

However, at one time we rented an apartment in a huge complex. That year and a half was a nightmare. Too many people, too many loud neighbors, dogs in a cats only building, and getting needed repairs - like the furnace and a/c - was always a long wait. I mean weeks.

I think where you rent and how accountable your landlord is makes all the difference in the world. I've known people who are very happy in a high rise, but for us a duplex with nice quiet neighbors is perfect.

One other thing that is really nice about renting, is that if you don't like it where you are, you can move when the lease is up. It isn't a major decision, like selling a home.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

My concern about renting is the potential for the lease to go higher each year. Wouldn't it be better to have a home paid for and not have to worry with the cost of a monthly rent?

Oakland, CA(Zone 9b)

I think if you are in the active phase of retirement, a home's maintenance can be endured. But you need to be financially prepared for the "big things", like needing a new roof and then discovering your car requires immediate major repairs!

So many people seem to think staying in their homes is the best. I beg to differ. I take care of our cottage home and a modest urban lot that has 2200 sq. ft. of garden beds. It's a lot of work and a fair amount of money (I spend hundreds of $$$ on fertilizer and soil amendments, for example). It's my hobby right now, so I don't mind it...BUT, in 10 years (or maybe even 5) I'm not going to want to do this any longer.

My MIL lived with us from 2006-2013 after we convinced her to sell her home. Was she reluctant to sell? Yes. Was it the best thing for her? Yes, it was. We discovered her dementia was worse than we thought. She thought everything was fine - in fact, she still does! But her Cognitive Decline continues: she can't walk across the street safely, although she doesn't realize it.

I finally convinced my DH that he had to talk to her about a retirement facility. He was so stressed out dealing with her that I was afraid he was going to work himself into another stroke or heart attack. We moved her into a beautiful, full service facility in mid-November 2013.

What a change for her! At first reluctant, she admitted within a couple of weeks she loves it there. The staff is superb (it's the third-rated facility in our state, and CA has a LOT of facilities) and she has everything she could want. Three good meals a day, people her own age to talk to who have similar interests, social activities, group outings, and 24/7 staff to take care of her. She doesn't have to worry about slipping in the bathtub (she's escorted to and from the tub) any more. We're 8 min away and see her at least twice a week.

So, rent or own? We own, it's paid off, and yet it still requires $900/mo in overhead. Frankly, we are already planning that when I decide I don't want to do full-time gardening any longer, we're selling and moving out. We will either rent, or more likely, select a senior residence facility similar to MIL's, but one more suited to Boomers like us.

Yes, these places take $$$. But when you consider it's like living in a hotel - no worries, no maintenance, emergency services included - it's ideal. We can travel as we wish, without worrying about security issues as we do now. We can cook or not, as we please.

As one ages, it is MUCH SAFER to have people around. Not just neighbors, either, but real staff who are watching out for your health and safety.

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

I just went through this scenario with my financial adviser and my CPA - they both said, at my age (63), that there was no tax advantages and the cost of keeping a home in repair could 'wipe you out', since I am widowed and have to pay to have anything done.

Crunching the numbers, they both agreed (for me) that it's better to rent than buy. That's what I pay them to do - figure these things out for me, so I'll heed their advice.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Kay, I am not sure there ever was or ever will be a "tax advantage" in owning a home. The main advantage is building equity in a home, at least as far as I can see. If a home is unreasonably expensive to maintain, something far more than utilities, I certainly can see the reason for moving, either into a low-maintenance home (which I did four years ago) or renting something. Also if taxes are extremely high (not here in Mississippi), though there is a tax deduction, that might be another good reason to rent.

Just my opinion. I am not a CPA, so consider my statements worth about what is paid for them. LOL

Ken

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Ya, Ken - that's what they said - 'there are no tax advantages' to owning a home. At my age, building equity isn't such a big deal, imho. When I die, it is one more thing my family has to deal with. For me, I didn't want that, so I will continue to rent, relax and let the owner deal with upkeep and repairs.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I'm letting a lot of the things in the yard go and not planting much anymore. Someone mows and does a bit of the yard work so that's no problem. And not very expensive either.

I like the idea that if I want to share my home with someone at some point, I can make that decision since I'm the owner.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I know there are expenses and overhead in owning my own home, but in this area you can't touch a decent place to rent comparable to what I own for less than $1200-1600 a month and that is a lot more than what my monthly expenses are in my home at the present time.
However, there is a lot to do with gardens and such and as time goes on and I am less able to manage I will likely consider selling and moving into some type of cottage-type life-style in a retirement community that is local.

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I agree. Some decisions aren't easy.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Everyone's situation is unique and we all have to consider our individual circumstances and do what is the best for ourselves. Good luck in whatever you decide, I am sure it will be the right decision for you and your loved ones.

(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

Of course one good reason to own, mortgage-free, is that if you stay in it til you need assisted living, the house pays for the assisted living.

~S~

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Yes, indeed.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Good luck against the (Georgia) dawgs, UK.

Ken (drdawg [MSU])

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks. UK isn't such a football powerhouse although better than they used to be. It's men's basketball that we love here at our house. :)

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Don't I know it. We have been to every MSU-UK football game since the mid-70's, and when we talk to UK fans, all they want to talk about is basketball. It must be tough to ONLY have NINE McDonald's All-Americans on your team. We have signed ONE in the last ten years!

Ken

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

lol.

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