You’ve always owned your home — at least since that first tiny apartment years ago — but now you’re ready to leave behind the joys (and hassles) of owning property to become a renter. Join the crowd.
Over the next decade, some 5 to 6 million downsizing boomers will sell their homes and sign rental leases, the National Association of Realtors says.
If you’re planning to become a tenant, the transition isn’t that difficult. Here are tips from boomers who already relish renting:
Ask Permission to Make Changes
What if you want to paint every room indigo or knock out a wall or swap out that hideous wagon-wheel chandelier in the dining room? And would it be OK to plant some tulips out back?
The answer is: Maybe. Ask first.
One reason that renting is easier for us older adults than owning is that we do not feel compelled to make changes. A woman who says she periodically considers painting her apartment has yet to follow through. “I have thought about it, but since I can’t decide on a color, I just live with the neutral beige,” she said.
Living With Limits
When I owned my own home, I had salmon-colored walls, chocolate-colored walls, caramel-colored walls — and for a while, a bright red wall in my kitchen. Now I live surrounded by pale, cream-colored walls, and that’s just fine. At my age, I find that the color of my walls does not define the quality of my life. What a relief!
Take Care of What You Don’t Own
Nobody asked me to mop the foyer or sweep the back stairs or pick up litter in front of the building. But taking pride in my rented space and treating it as if I were the owner is a sign of respect for the property owner, for my wonderful neighbors and for the place itself.
So I change burned-out lightbulbs, put fresh batteries in the smoke alarm and install new furnace filters as needed. It’s easier to do these things myself, rather than bother the landlord.
Home maintenance, as every homeowner knows, is never-ending. Fix the leak in the downstairs shower and the front stair banister goes wobbly. The new roof looks great, but too bad about that deep crack in the driveway. Stain and seal the deck and — wait — are those termites?
Count Your (Rented) Blessings
When you rent, you immediately are relieved of the stress that comes with owning a home. When the water heater starts dribbling on the laundry room floor, you call the landlord. When the kitchen faucet springs a leak, you call the landlord. When the building needs to be painted, the landlord deals with the painters — and then foots the bill.
“I love that I’m not responsible for major repairs and I like having the yard taken care of,” said a renter. “I was surprised how much I like that!”
Other advantages to renting include:
- You can live in a neighborhood where home prices are above and beyond your budget.
- You have the freedom to move to a new neighborhood, a new city or even a new state.
- Your offspring will not have to sell your place when you’re gone.
Decide to Be Happy Now
As in so many instances, you get to decide how difficult the transition from owning to renting will be. Regardless of the circumstances — even if you are temporarily between mortgages — if you find yourself in a situation where someone else owns your living space, focus on the advantages.
Some of those advantages may seem small to others, but one couple who made do with a narrow driveway for decades now rejoice that their rented home boasts a special treasure: a two-car garage.
Excerpts - Forbes