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“A generation of young adults who, because of high house prices, live in rented accommodation and are regarded as having little chance of becoming homeowners.”
What an optimistic definition!
If you were born in the eighties or later, you may be more than aware of what it is like to be part of ‘generation rent’. Many of our parents had already bought their first house when they were our age – and some had even started families as well. A lot has changed, what was the ‘ordinary’ is now a rarity and it doesn’t look like things are going to change anytime soon.
I am 26, living in Bristol and up until recently I felt rubbish about being part of ‘generation rent’. Some of my friends had managed to secure their first mortgages and I felt like I couldn’t escape the photos of new sets of keys and house renovations posted on Facebook. In honestly, I felt jealous that buying a house wasn’t on my agenda yet.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying if it is the right thing for you, and I am so happy and proud of my friends who have worked hard to get to where they are.
I voiced my renting concerns to a couple of close friends and family – and realised that the only reason I felt like this was because I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself. ‘Society’ says that you should go to school, get a good education, a job, then move on to buying a house, getting married, having kids and then live happily ever after.
But why? Why was I so hung-up about owning the four walls around me?
I realised that obsessing over budget sheets and figuring out how to put every penny I had to spare into savings wasn’t going to make me happy. Sure, I was happy to save – but I could still spend money on making great memories staying in my current living situation.
So instead of seeing ‘generation rent’ as a bad thing, I started to look at the things that I loved about not owning a home. It turns out that there are some really great reasons to hang on to your money for a bit longer and enjoy living without so many responsibilities.
I hope some of your will read this and realise that you don’t have to follow the ‘normal’. Everybody has a different story and ultimately if you are happy renting for the time being, then that’s great.
Here are some of the reasons I love renting:
I don’t live in fear of breakages
We all know that once you buy your own home, everything becomes your responsibility to fix if things go wrong. When you rent, you don’t need to fork out hundreds of pounds if the heating stops working or there is a leak in the bathroom – because it is your landlords obligation to keep your property fit for living in. When I think about all of the minor problems we have had in our homes over the years – we’ve saved a lot of money.
We can move whenever we want, wherever we want
Most tenancies lock you in for an initial period of 6-12 months, but after that you are free to up and go whenever you please. As a renter who has lived in three different flats in two counties, having the freedom to move at our leisure has come in very handy. We decided to relocate just over a year ago from Cheltenham to Bristol, and looking back, if we had owned our old house this would have been so much harder to do. With renting, we just gave our month’s notice, found a flat we liked in the city and moved two weeks later. No ties, no dramas. And if we decided we wanted to move on from where we are now – it would be the same.
You might be able to live in an area where you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy
In some areas, in particular cities – you are able to rent somewhere you would never be able to afford to buy. I complain all the time about how high our rent is, but when I put it all in perspective I have nothing to complain about really. We live right in the city centre, in walking distance of work, Cabot Circus and many bars and restaurants are only two minutes away. I once looked up how much our flat would be to buy and was shocked to see that it was almost £400,000. There is no way we would ever be able to afford a flat for that much, let alone a house so whilst we are able to live in the city centre (albeit renting), we want to make the most of it!
There is no big down payment
Another pro of renting is the absence of a big down payment to secure your home, meaning that you don’t have to part with all of your savings. Often a deposit is six weeks rent, and providing there are no damages to the property when you leave, you will get all of this back. Some agencies charge fees to take properties off the market or to have contracts drawn up which can be frustrating, but when you look at some of the fees that are involved with buying, it can be a drop in the ocean.
You can rent properties already furnished and utilities may be included
Depending on what you are looking for, many flats and houses can be rented already furnished. If it your first time renting you might not want to spend a lot of money on furniture or white goods – so this is a more affordable option. I’ve also known instances where some utilities are included in the monthly rent, meaning that you don’t need to worry so much about how much water or electricity you are using.
I still think my ultimate goal is to own my own place one day, however I am quite happy to be renting for the next couple of years whilst I save for a bigger deposit. I like not having the responsibilities of owning a home, I love the location of where we live – and now I have more time to build my dream home via Pinterest!
If you want some good ideas and inspiration on how to style your rented space without knocking any holes in the walls or ripping up the carpet, I recommend Home for Now: Making your rented space or first house beautiful:
Have you felt under pressure to get on the property ladder? Let me know in the comments.