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Pros and Cons of Renting Versus Home Ownership

by Chris Cooper, Financial Planning Expert
September 04, 2015

Question: I have been living in my house for the past 35 years but upkeep is difficult for me now. I am deciding about selling it and renting a place. What are the pros and cons?

Answer:

(An investment advisor friend of mine and I were just talking about this, as he is now 70 and a widower.) Renting makes sense when you don’t want any of the headaches of maintaining an aging home (like I have , today I’m replacing my 15 year old air conditioner as I’m writing this), and perhaps with renting you gain other services and benefits (such as a pool, health club, social activities, and others). Many continuing care retirement communities are rentals which include meals, transportation, and access to nursing care. 

The downside: possible increasing costs of rents, changes in ownership or management which may not be as responsive to your needs or repairs, and not being able to modify or remodel your home. If any of these occur, the advantage is you can pack up and leave, if you are physically able to do so.

Many seniors are prisoners in their own homes, because they can’t leave or travel easily, may be isolated, and may get taken advantage of when trying to get repairs to roofs, siding, lawn care, tree trimming, etc. Staying in your own home can be less desirable as we age. 

Have a real estate agent and a general contractor evaluate your home for needed repairs, market conditions, and visit and interview residents of rental housing places you may want to consider for your future housing needs. Then move sooner than later, so you aren’t having to move in a crisis.

Chris Cooper is the owner and founder of Chris Cooper & Company, Inc., a fee-only financial planning firm for elderly persons and the owner and founder of ElderCare Advocates, Inc. a private geriatric care management and long term care consulting firm. As a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary, Chris can serve as  Conservator of the Person and Estate under court appointment,  as Agent under a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial matters and Health Care matters.

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