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Who’s Happier – Renters or Owners?

There has always been a great debate over whether renters or owners are happier. Many, many years ago, buying a house was part of the American dream. You were not accomplished until you had a property in your name, and the only people who rented were the ones who couldn’t buy. Times have certainly changed. Renting has become a coveted trend, and even many homeowners have traded in their mortgage for less responsibility. In fact, many celebrities, athletes, etc., choose to rent when they are more than capable of buying a home. So who is happier?

Renters or Owners

Reasons Renters Are Happier

  • No Mortgage Payment – Having a mortgage hanging over your head is a lot to deal with, especially if the payment consumes a large portion of your income. When you are constantly thinking about making this house a great financial investment, you often forget to invest elsewhere. Plus, that huge down payment it took you years to save up could have been earning you a nice return, if it was invested differently.
  • No Fear of Foreclosure – The idea of losing the one thing you have invested your savings and blood, sweat, and tears in is pretty scary. Even when you are caught up on bills, you know that there is always a potential to lose everything.
  • More Social – Studies suggest that renters spend more time socializing with friends. This could have something to do with worrying less about foreclosure or the fact that there is less financial burden. Plus, it has also been found that homeowners tend to experience more negative feelings when they do mingle.
  • Less Burden – When you own, you are responsible for that leaking roof or the refrigerator that needs replacing. You are not affected by this “house pain” when you are a renter. In most cases, your landlord is responsible for repairs, maintenance, and appliances.
  • Stronger Relationships – A study performed by the University of Massachusetts found that married couples who own a home argue more than those that rent.
  • Greater Flexibility – If you all of a sudden decide you want to move cross-country you do not have a house holding you back. If you owned a home, you would need to deal with selling it, or at least finding a property manager to rent it out and maintain it.

Reasons Homeowners Are Happier 

  • Wealthier – Although not a rule, in most cases, homeowners are wealthier. The National Association of Realtors stated that in 2002, homeowners had a median net worth 34.2 times higher than renters.
  • Healthier – For whatever reason, homeowners tend to be healthier than renters overall. However, these findings are completely opposite for homeowners behind on their mortgage.
  • Higher Self -Esteem – Self-esteem is defined as the way one judges their own worth. The vast majority of new homeowners state that their self-esteem increased significantly after their purchase.
  • Community-oriented – Homeowners tend to be more involved in the community. However, this could be influenced by the fact that homeowners tend to have families and more established careers.
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