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BLOG: How to ditch renters’ shame

Written by: Natalie Crowhurst
‘Nice flat, do you own it? ‘No, I rent.’ ‘Oh…’

A common conversation, but one that can come with a huge amount of stigma and shame attached to it.

Homeownership has for a long time been considered the holy grail, and there is often huge pressure stemming from society’s warped expectations that you have to get on the property ladder by say.. your mid-30s.

However, with Hamptons’ research showing it is now cheaper to rent than buy, for the first time in six years, perceptions towards renting are changing as renting proves to be a better financial decision and lifestyle choice for many. It is clear attitudes are changing, so why the shame?

It’s time that we ditch the stigma that exists towards renters and change our outlook on renting, by reflecting on the huge benefits it brings below.

Buying yourself financial freedom

Ask yourself, is having a mortgage all that glamorous?

Everyone’s financial and personal situations differ, not all can afford to buy, nor do they want to make a huge financial commitment despite the UK’s ‘buy as soon as you can’ cultural dynamic.

Renting is in nature, non-committal, providing more freedom financially so that you can manage your finances how you like and transition far more easily between homes on your own terms.

Instead of tying yourself down with a huge financial decision, a mortgage, renting offers you more flexibility to live the lifestyle you want, without stretching yourself to meet hefty monthly mortgage repayments. With this, renters are freed from liability and the financial burden that comes with buying – nothing shameful about that!

If it’s broke, you don’t fix it

With ownership comes responsibility, but many renters forget the added benefit of not being liable for ongoing maintenance issues. While a lightbulb change is unlikely to break the bank, new, budget-tight buyers may be placed in a tricky spot if they experience mold issues, or the myriad of electrical and plumbing issues that may, and often do, occur.

Renting relieves renters of all these inconveniences and with modern-day renter-first solutions like Residently, the process to resolve and repair these issues is smooth and hassle-free.

Flexibility to live whenever, wherever

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we can live and work from wherever, whenever. There’s now a greater focus on work-life balance and wellness, and with that comes a shift towards flexibility, adventure and fulfilment.

Millennials seeking more spontaneous and flexible lifestyles, are turning to renting as a way to explore and trial new ways of living in new countries, cities and locations around the world. Be it moving to be closer to family, getting a bigger space to work from home from, or pure desire to live in another country, the non-committal nature of renting provides situational flexibility not afforded in the buyer market.

Upgrade your quality of living

Many people fail to mention that renting can actually provide a better quality of living than ownership. The difference between what you can afford on the property market compared to the rental market is often stark. In many cases, the property you rent is likely to be more spacious, modern and better located than what you could afford if you were to buy. Moreover, there is less expenditure needed to renovate and make the house feel like your home.

There’s a common misconception that with renting, comes a lack of customisation – this is certainly not true if the renter chooses their home carefully. By turning to renter-first platforms like Residently, renters can redecorate, furnish and upgrade their rentals in line with their own taste all from the tap of an app, making the process simple and streamlined.

Financial stability

Stability and homeownership do not always go hand in hand. There are numerous hidden costs that come with home-buying and ownership that can place even the most organised in a state of unforeseen panic.

Renting negates this, ensuring predictable outgoings, with rent terms, deposits and bills agreed beforehand so that renters are aware of their monthly costs and can manage their money well in advance. Having a fixed expenditure allows renters peace of mind, and also means they can plan budgets with more accuracy, allowing them to set long-term goals and plan accordingly.

Similarly, for young renters who may be saving for rites of passage like buying a car or travelling, renting will greatly simplify the process.

Taking all of these benefits into account, it’s fair to say that our shame is totally misplaced. Whilst there can be a lot of pressure to defend your lifestyle as a renter, truthfully, renting provides benefits that ownership cannot compete with – from financial freedom, flexibility, customisation, convenience and quality of life.

Natalie Crowhurst is head of renter experience at Residently

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