The desire to test-drive a neighborhood by renting an apartment in Mooresville, NC is understandable. For most families, buying a house is the largest investment they will ever make. In a time of economic uncertainty, with employment continuing to sputter and many people not convinced that the recession is over, the decision looms especially large. The temptation to go slow is powerful.
Given the dismaying economic news over the past few years, people are afraid to take a wrong step. This is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make, and for many people it’s too daunting until they’ve immersed themselves in the fabric of a place.
Another economic factor is at work. Prior to 2008 people felt they had to grab a place because the competition was so great. But now that prices are still flat or rising modestly, people feel they can take time to look around. In addition, many would-be home buyers are increasingly choosy. “There’s a new group of buyers, Gen X and Gen Y. They’re used to living well, and they don’t want to make an architectural or a geographical mistake. And so they’re stepping tentatively.
And the stigma that once attached to families who rent rather than own seems to have largely disappeared.
Families preparing to make the big leap to a new area want to make sure they will land in the right place.
Finding the Right Fit
For people new to an area, a town’s personality is key. While vast amounts of information about everything from taxes to school test scores are available online, to get a sense of subtle but critical factors that determine a town’s true nature, some say there’s no substitute for sinking a few roots. Renting gives you time to see how people dress, observe their habits and eavesdrop on their conversations.
Economics play a major role in the decision to start out as renters. “Buying is such a big commitment, so permanent, people wanted to move, but don’t want to make a blind move. This way, if they don’t like it, they aren’t stuck.
New York Times