Buyers Beware: Homeownership Isn’t Always the Best Option

Owning a home is a staple of the American dream. Economists and armchair financial advisors wax poetic about home ownership’s immense advantages over renting. 

However, they never discuss the downside. Renting is a valid option, and sometimes it’s better than owning. 

Homeownership Isn’t Always The Best Option

While homeownership is great, it’s not always the best option. 

People toil unfathomable hours, saving and scrimping their meager incomes just for the chance of owning a home one day. They live to save for the American dream, and when they finally achieve it, they spend all their money maintaining the home they worked so hard to obtain. 

Here are some common refrains regarding home ownership’s superiority complex and why those aren’t always true. 

Renting is Throwing Your Money Away

We’ve all heard that renting is throwing money away. It’s the number one thing home ownership enthusiast scream at those who prefer to rent. 

Why throw your money away on rent when you could be building equity?

But renting isn’t throwing your money away, not exactly. Renting is paying for a service. You aren’t building equity, but you are getting a place to cook, sleep, and live—a place to call your own. You may not own it, but you get what you’re paying for. 

Mortgage Never Increases While Rent Always Goes Up

Most renters dread the start of a new lease when they’re all but guaranteed a letter telling them how much their rent will go up. 

Homeowners claim the stable payment for the life inherent in a mortgage but neglect to account for other ways their costs might increase. Though a fixed-rate mortgage may never change, some homeowners still opt for adjustable rates, which fluctuate based on interest rates. In addition, things like property taxes and homeowners insurance are constantly changing. 

The idea that a mortgage payment is stable is a myth at best. 

The House is an Investment

Homeownership is a popular choice because property is an asset. Owning your home is an investment for the future, not just for yourself but for future generations

While all this is true, it neglects some crucial facts. First, properly doesn’t always appreciate. Look at the poor saps that had to sell between 2008 and 2010 for evidence. 

Second, it’s an investment that costs a ton of money to maintain. You need to consider upkeep, maintenance costs, and the high fees associated with buying and selling. 

Over the long term, most people will make money on their homes. However, if they invested the same amount of money into any other asset, they’d also make money over time and wouldn’t have to worry about fires, termites, or natural disasters. 

Home Ownership Builds Wealth

It’s often reported that home ownership builds wealth, which relates to the idea of your house as an investment. 

However, it’s important to remember that the wealth in your home is highly illiquid. It’s inaccessible unless you sell (leaving you noplace to live) or take out a loan against the equity (leaving you in even more debt and a bad place if the market falls). 

Homeownership builds wealth mainly because it forces people to put money into the monthly investment with the mortgage payment. You’d build wealth with any asset if you regularly contributed to it monthly as you do with a mortgage. 


Homeowner enthusiasts have no rebuttal for the final reason folks choose to rent: Flexibility. 

Renters can bounce whenever they need to. New job cross country? Sure thing – bye! Neighborhood crumbling? Rent elsewhere. Outrageous rent increase? Find someplace cheaper. 

Homeowners don’t have this flexibility. Selling a house is an enormous undertaking that takes upwards of six months. You have to get the house ready to sell, find a realtor, take pictures, open your home to showings, and then deal with all the paperwork and costs of selling. It’s a nightmare. 

And that’s if property values rose. If they didn’t, owners would be out a pretty fortune when they attempt to sell, as they have to pay the remaining mortgage plus all closing costs to seal the deal. 

Should You Rent Or Own?

Whether you should rent or own is a profoundly personal decision. Homeownership comes with some fantastic benefits, but so does renting. 

Don’t let people who aren’t living your life shame you for whatever decision you make. 

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.