Renting vs. Owning a Home in Retirement

There are many reasons why retirees may prefer renting over owning a home. Maybe you’re ready to live in a new location closer to family, maybe you see the value in taking advantage of the hot real estate market, or maybe you desire a more flexible lifestyle that better allows you to pivot when lifestyle changes come your way. Many retirees are even looking for the same experience as that of their millennial children or grandchildren — they want to live in an all-inclusive community where they don’t have to worry about maintaining a home. What’s more, renting an apartment might be best for those who want to be within walking distance of retail shops, recreational activities, personal services and restaurants.

The desire for home ownership is deeply ingrained in us. Adding to the dream, is retiring as a homeowner without debt. Although that dream is alive and well, and something that most retirees hope for, there can be some very good reasons not to be a homeowner in retirement.

Some reasons you might choose renting over owning:

  • Cost of retirement. Either you have never been a homeowner because of the high costs, or you were a homeowner but simply needed the liquidity and access to the capital that was tied up in your home. While there are certainly ways to remain a homeowner and access some of the capital, the greatest access to capital is to sell your home.
  • You don’t want the responsibility of maintaining a house. It can be very nice to suddenly realize that the leaking faucet is no longer up to you to fix. It can be even more comforting to know that the roof that needs replacing isn’t going to come out of your pocket.
  • You’ve worked hard. You’ve earned this. Start enjoying it now. With a major amount of money freed up, you may feel more comfortable spending on vacations, cars, or other items that you have long dreamed about. Of course, this should be done with a long-term financial plan in place to ensure you can actually afford it. While many retirees can afford to do all of these things, “realizing” the cash in their homes often gives them the comfort to spend.
  • You want to choose when you see your family. Many retirees are happy to finally have their freedom and some independence from family. Others may want or need to move to be closer to children or grandchildren. Renting may allow you the freedom to spend significantly more time with family in other cities without being responsible for real estate.
  • Your social life awaits. In a retiree apartment community, the opportunity for connection is literally steps from your door. Studies show that seniors who stay socially active and engaged experience a variety of benefits, including better cognitive function. Social activities keep us sharp and mentally engaged, and also contribute greatly to emotional health.

At Sifton, we have the expertise to help you evaluate your options and guide you through a smooth retirement transition. Find out how our inclusive community can reconnect you to the vibrant lifestyle you’re craving.