Tired of Renting? Pros of Traditional Homes, Van Living, and Tiny Homes
There are times when I wonder if paying rent is worth it. Maybe there are moments when you feel the same way.
Imagine receiving a paycheck every two weeks, and placing at least a third of it into a landlord’s pocket, never to see it again. Sure, you’re paying someone to keep a roof over your head, but it feels like you’re throwing your money away.
What if some massive, life-changing event happens and you have to relocate? Most renters require notice to vacate upfront, on top of a huge fee to break your lease. With the cost of living skyrocketing just about everywhere, it’s hard for anyone to maintain a savings account with enough money to support such a drastic move.
Granted, you signed the lease and agreed to stay for a predetermined length of time and pay a monthly rental fee, but that gets tiring. At some point, you might begin to wonder, “what alternative is there?”
Whether you dream of owning a traditional home, living out of a van, or owning a tiny home, there are definite advantages all share over renting.
If you’re tired of renting, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds as a way out is to simply buy a traditional home. If you have a stable income and excellent credit score, home buying might not seem too far out of reach.
It will be much easier to apply (and get pre-approval) for a home loan. Not to mention, if your job is stable, you’ll probably be okay with settling down in one place for a while.
Some other perks to traditional homeownership include:
Stable Monthly Payments
Most home loans include a fixed interest rate. This means that your monthly mortgage payment won’t change during the time it takes you to pay off your home loan.
A fixed-rate mortgage is standard and usually comes with lower payments, as the loan term can extend for as long as 30 years. This is great for someone looking to stay put.
Opportunity to Build Equity and Credit
As long as you don’t miss payments and always pay on time, banks will be more likely to trust you with more money as time goes on. So applying for an emergency line of credit if needed will be a more straightforward process.
Building credit is essential, and building equity in your home will guarantee that you make money when the time comes to sell it.
Freedom to Make Aesthetic Changes
Are you tired of your dingy wall colors? Do you wish you could change the light fixtures or swap out that old nasty bathroom sink for something new and fresh?
These types of changes aren’t usually allowed within the terms of a rental agreement, but for homeowners, the world of DIY renovation is your oyster.
Pride of Ownership
You’ve made the down payment and paid off lenders and closing costs. Now it’s time to wax idealistic: it just feels good to own something. Owning the place you call home. You may still have student loans and credit cards to pay off, but you will always be proud of being a homeowner.
First-time homebuyers face an expensive and long-term option to avoid paying rent. Tiny homes are an emerging trend, and while there is some red tape you’ll have to research, the benefits to owning one are life-enriching.
Energy-Efficient and Environmentally Friendly
It’s one thing to separate reusable plastic and glass from your regular trash for recycling and another thing entirely to design your entire home around the concept of being energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. A petite space requires less energy to heat and cool.
If you live near the countryside, a smaller home means more space for nature to stay right where it is – undisturbed. And if you live closer to the city, a tiny house leaves more room on your property for something like a home vegetable garden.
Inexpensive to Build
Not everyone has thousands of dollars laying around to spend on building a new tiny home. But if you’re looking to become a homeowner, you might want to consider building a tiny house. It could cost you up to ten times less in housing costs.
The average traditional home might cost you anywhere between $100k-$500k, but your average tiny home building project will cost you 10-20% of that.
You Can Move Them Almost Anywhere
Most tiny homes are on wheels, so moving them from one property to another is as simple as hauling it with your truck. Having trouble with your neighbors or neighborhood association? Hook that bad boy up and take your business elsewhere. One thing an apartment or rental home can’t offer you is the flexibility to go wherever you’d like.
Having a tiny home gives you more options. Granted, you’ll need to follow whatever governmental regulations are in place wherever you go, but at least you have the opportunity to leave if needed.
Less To Keep Clean
If you’re not the tidiest person in the world or living in a small space gives you clutter anxiety, this may not be the best option for you. On the other hand, you could see this as an opportunity to de-clutter your life. Living minimally has taken popular culture by storm in the last decade, and this is no exception.
The beauty of having a smaller living space gives you the freedom to let go of things void of value. Maintaining that tiny home clean is no longer a burden – it’s a blessing.
This option seems to be the most frightening to most people, and for a good reason. Sleeping in a van? What happens if your van goes kaput or if you’re involved in an accident?
When something like this happens, the average person will just drop their vehicle off at the shop and pick it up whenever it’s ready. But leaving your home in the hands of another person for a night?
Don’t let that scare you, though, because there are some definite advantages to living out of a van, whether you’re a millennial or nonagenarian.
Freedom To Go Wherever The Road Can Take You
Imagine being tired of renting and then deciding to get in your car (or van in this case), drop everything, and hit the road. Suppose you’ve taken care of your responsibilities like closing your rental lease, finding remote work, and budgeting well for the adventure. In that case, this might sound like a cinematic escape from the world of mundane nine to five living.
With the vast number of overnight rest areas and campsites, the prospect of staying in a new place every night is entirely realistic. This happens, even on the smallest personal finance budgets.
No Rent or Mortgage Payment
As mentioned earlier, if you’re tired of renting, it’s probably because you’re watching your hard-earned dollars go toward something on which you may never see any return. Living out of your van might sound like a teenage road trip dream, but realistically, it’s amazing for your wallet – even if it’s just temporary.
If you work remotely and want to take some time to save up some money, skip moving back in with your parents and take yourself on the adventure of a lifetime while you save. Living out of your van might be less comfortable than the couch in your apartment or house, but it’ll save you extra cash on home prices, mortgage insurance, and property taxes, to name a few.
Whether you live in a van, a house, or a tiny home, living a simpler lifestyle is a plus in today’s fast-paced world.
It’s easy to stress when you always worry about:
- Making rent
- Paying utilities
- Cleaning your house or apartment
- Cooking meals every night
- Your upstairs neighbors, who walk around their house wearing ankle weights
Living in a van doesn’t eliminate all of these, but it might force you to simplify them so that they’re less of an issue. Last I checked, it isn’t easy to fit an entire wardrobe inside of a van and still have room to sleep, so keep fewer shoes and clothes with you and have less to wash and fold when the time comes.
If a sink full of dirty dishes is one of your least favorite things to take care of, then simplify the problem by using fewer dishes or order food more often with the money you save not having to pay rent. The van life can be a beautiful thing if done strategically.
I’ve learned from my time as a traveler and a van dweller that you don’t need much in order to be happy. If you can live a completely fulfilling lifestyle out of nothing more than a backpack, then you can do so out of the back of a van.
Renting or living in your dream home comes with a lot of baggage that can distract you from the things that matter, like catching the sunset or stopping to feel the rain hit your face on a hot summer day, or even more importantly – the people you’re with.
Even if you only spend a month living out of a van, you’ll absolutely appreciate the little things you once took for granted. And while being tired of paying rent might be your initial motivation to live out of a van, being able to savor the little things will be the reason you end up enjoying it.
Sure, all of these rental alternatives sound pretty great. But let’s get to the meat of the matter and consider which lifestyles are best for each home option.
Owning a Traditional Home
If you’re settled into a career and are looking to plant yourself in one place for a long time, owning a home might just be your best option. If you’ve got the extra cash, you don’t even necessarily have to live there. You could just rent it out (evil laughs)!
Tiny Home Living
This option is for anyone in between wanting to travel and settle. The tiny home gives you an actual house and the wheels to take it anywhere you’d like. It’s not an inexpensive option, but this option will save you money and be much better for the environment compared to a traditional home.
Van life is for the adventurous. It’s not for the faint of heart. There may be days you want a standard bed to sleep in, and that’s okay – that’s what motels are for! While it’s the cheapest option, van living is really for anyone who wants to learn how to live simply.
They say that buying your own home is one of the most stressful experiences a person can endure. On top of that, when something goes wrong with your new home, it’s now your sole responsibility to fix said problem.
Remember, lots of steps go into homeownership of any kind:
- Mortgage loans
- Choosing perfect real estate in an imperfect housing market
- Bills to income ratio consideration
If you like to have space inside your home, you’ll probably be dissatisfied with a tiny home or a van, whether you’ve simplified your lifestyle or not. Sometimes it’s just good to have personal space, especially if you have a roommate.
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If you’re tired of renting, don’t be afraid to start exploring your options. Just be sure to think things through thoroughly before making a decision. You have to consider your lifestyle, your budget, and your needs, first and foremost.
From there, and for always, embrace life as it comes your way.