There have to be some positives when it comes to renting rather than owning your home, although I use the word “home” loosely because for the past 13 years I have at no time felt like it was my home and the agent and/or landlord/lady was always there to remind me the property was not somewhere I could call my own.
But there will be some who enjoy it and there will be many who have no choice, I am especially concerned for my son’s generation who are still at school and already worried about incurring debts if they go to university, thus starting their working life already owing money to the big organisations.
So for those people who are planning to or currently do rent, I am going to be a bit more upbeat and say there is an upside of renting; the main one being you can up sticks and leave relatively easily which can be a big advantage.
According to one report, one in three of us don’t get on with our neighbour and one in seven of us will move house to get away from them.
But when you own your house it’s not that simple because as we all know it takes weeks and sometimes months to get an acceptable offer and it is another two or three months before contracts are exchanged, assuming nothing goes wrong with the sale.
Then of course there is the vendor questionnaire that asks if there are any known problems with neighbours, so if you’ve had a few humdingers over the garden wall, then you have to disclose this information which may impact on your sale.
Aside from annoying neighbours, you may have visited your area of choice on a quiet sunny Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the idyllic rural setting with church bells ringing and birds singing. However, at 7.30am on a Monday the local mechanic starts work and that innocent brown building with the chimney turns out to be the local knackers yard! But if you’ve bought your house then it’s going to be a long time before your can change things; however if you’re renting, whilst the likelihood is you have signed for an initial six month tenancy, after this time you can move out if you decide the location is not for you.
Unlike that pair of bright red shoes or that enormous roll neck sweater you bought, there are no returns allowed when it comes to buying a house, once you’ve signed on the dotted line you are committed. But renting means you can ‘try before you buy’; what is it like living in that remote village miles away from the nearest shop or GP surgery? What will your trip to work/the school run be like? How noisy will it be living near a main road even with that thick row of Leylandii?
How often has someone bought a house only to find the area wasn’t quite what they thought or the commute to work was too far or having lived all their life in a town, decide to give country life a go only to find they miss the streets, the crowds and reliable public transport?
By renting, all of your questions about an area could be answered before you buy.
Then of course there is the family; what could be better for small children than growing up surrounded by fields or within walking distance of the sea or a river. But once they reach the world of teenagers they may want more than cows and long walks, they’ll want to meet up with friends, go skateboarding, to the cinema, for a pizza. But living out in the sticks means someone is going to have to taxi them around.
If you rent, you can move to accommodate your growing family and what they want out of life.
Since moving down here nearly 13 years ago we have lived on a farm in rural Somerset, in a medium sized village that was within driving distance of a small market town and on the outskirts of a larger town where everything was within walking distance.
We have also suffered the horror of having neighbours from hell who hated children and thought nothing of threatening local youngsters with the police. Because we knew we didn’t have to stay there it was manageable.
Then there are the many friends we have made that we might not otherwise have done and we frequently bump into them and enjoy a catch-up.
So nothwithstanding my dislike of renting, there are some benefits and as I continue to strive to secure our own home, I now have a pretty good idea where I would like to live, the question is will I be able to afford it?