Survey of Renters and Homeowners Reveals Why People Rent
Long before a prospective home or condo buyer makes the buy vs rent decision, they review the benefits of renting such as no downpayment, no financing, no contracts, no maintenance, and more time for just about everything.
They do this after they hear about how expensive owning a home is from their parents and some blogs and news reports.
Our rent vs buy choice dictates a lot about how we’ll spend our time, money, and how much stress we have to endure to live our lives.
Is it Just About Lifestyle?
Lifestyle choice may be the key decision factor for people who rent. Tenants have many wants, yet living efficiently could be important for those who have less money, need more time for work, career progress, time to relax and socialize, and enjoy their lives.
Choosing where to live, the community, neighborhood character, the commute, the cost, and the quality of our lifestyle impacts our lives and perhaps our health. Should a person take on a big mortgage and furnish a house in the burbs and spend their time and money doing maintenance/repairs? Or is better to rent an apartment near to where we work that offers amenities like pools, hot tubs, fitness centers, and retail stores within walking distance?
Here’s the kicker: Besides avoiding big, rising mortgage payments, and enjoying a convenient lower cost lifestyle, there’s more benefits it seems.
What Do Renters Do All Day?
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Apartmentlist Survey 2018
A new survey by Apartmentlist and Rentonomics dove in on the differences in how renters lived vs homeowners. They both have 24 hours to spend and it seems they spend their time differently.
Apartmentlist polled more than 12,000 prime working age adults, (25 to 54 years old), who are employed full-time with a household income of at least $50,000. This sampling consisted of over 12k responses gathered from 2013 through 2017.
They discovered some interesting things about how renters live:
- renters spend less time on household activities and childcare and they’re at home almost a half hour less each day than owners
- not having to do lawn and yard care saves renters almost an hour each week
- they spend half an hour per day on maintenance and repairs
- they spend 23 minutes less per day on housework
- they spend 21 minutes less per day preparing and eating food
That’s Just Because They’re Single, Footloose and Fancy Free!
You’d think owner’s age, marital status, presence of children, sex and income would account for these differences. Homeowners tend to have larger families, bigger properties with yards that must be moved, driveways that need snow removal, and more.
Yet, their analysis still showed similar results even when all those subject factors are removed.
Additionally, they found that renters spent more time on commuting, personal grooming, socializing and entertainment, and work. To top it off, they slept more (15 minutes per day).
Could it Still Be Perception?
The survey didn’t ask about personal wealth (ability to buy) or attitudes toward freedom and mobility.
Renters may believe they’re free to move, travel, without signing binding financial contracts and commitments. Buying is a long term commitment and it may reflect the buyer’s indifference to freedom and a carefree lifestyle. They may have their own lifestyle preference for home living to feel more secure and see their personal net worth grow.
The picture we get of renters is that they may want and enjoy more time, living efficiently, relaxing and having more fun, and avoiding household chores such as property and lawn maintenance. Their focus might be their jobs or careers.
When you buy or rent, you are likely making a lifestyle choice that could lead you down a particular path with behaviors and responsibilities with each choice. Whatever way you look at it, it seems renters have more time to socialize, relax and sleep. That might make homeowners envious.
Is there any factors you feel were missed in the Apartmentlist study? Let us know below. You can read the actual survey results here.
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