Buying vs. Renting in Retirement

The decision of whether to buy or rent a home is one you’ll be faced with through many phases of life, but perhaps the most confusing phase is that of retirement. For those who have owned a home for decades, the idea of renting can seem foreign, even if it offers benefits. For those who were always accustomed to renting but may be ready to own property in retirement, it can be difficult to determine how to proceed. Regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself on, it’s clear that the decision to rent or to buy takes on added significance during retirement.

Your desired lifestyle in retirement is likely the best gauge by which to make your decision. If you’d like to downsize, travel frequently and lessen your load of home maintenance responsibilities, owning a home will likely cramp your style. What’s more, it may be a poor financial decision. If you favor a more freewheeling life in retirement, versus setting down roots, it’s best to rent. Purchasing a home that you’ll want to sell in less than five years is usually a recipe for losing money on the transaction.

Conversely, if your dream retirement plans involve cultivating your gardening hobby, taking on home improvement projects or maintaining a comfortable home for pets and grandchildren, renting likely won’t offer the amenities you’re looking for.

In the end, though monetary factors certainly play an important role in the decision, it’s often the intangibles of your unique retirement dreams that will be the driving force in helping you determine whether to buy or to rent.

Image via Flickr/leahincolor