Is it just me, or is everyone obsessed with the idea of buying a house? I get it, I really do. I would love to have my own house so I could decorate and have my own space and – most importantly – get a dog.
But, because buying a house seems like an almost impossible task, there is so. much. pressure on young people to buy a house as soon as humanly possible. It’s all anyone talks about on Twitter, it’s constantly in the press and no doubt your friends and family are always reminding you about it too.
I feel like renting is often looked down upon or thought of as a bad thing, but it’s actually pretty good. Especially for those of us who want to be independent, but aren’t anywhere close to being able to afford buying a house yet. So, if you’re feeling a bit disillusioned with the constant house buying chat, here’s a little reminder of the reasons why you shouldn’t feel bad about renting.
1. You don’t have to pay for repairs and maintenance
In the past couple of years, my landlord has had to fork out for a new boiler, washing machine, dishwasher, shower and mattress for me. If I’d had to pay all that on my own, it would have added up to a pretty hefty total. But I didn’t have to pay a penny, so all my savings remained firmly in my bank account.
If your boiler breaks in the middle of winter, you don’t need to scrape together thousands of pounds just to replace it. Building maintenance, roof repairs, structural damage… not your problem. Someone else has to deal with that, and – more importantly – pay for it too.
2. You can personalise it with your own homeware
Many people’s biggest problem with renting is that you can’t decorate how you would like. It’s true that many rentals won’t allow you to paint or redecorate (although some private landlords will!), but you can totally customise it with your own homeware.
Go crazy with the cushions, buy nice kitchenware, put down a couple of rugs, swap around your bedding, add lamps and accessories and all your favourite little nick nacks. It will start to feel like home in no time, and will reflect your personal style.
I’ve given my bedroom a little update recently thanks to a new bed set* and bed spread* from JD Williams. I love the waffle texture of the duvet set and the button detail makes it look very grown up. There’s something rather lovely about crisp, fresh white sheets, isn’t there? And of course, no bedroom is complete without a blanket or two. This navy one from JD Williams looks very sophisticated and it’s also really, really cosy.
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3. You can move any time you want
The process of selling a house can often be long and stressful, not to mention potentially expensive. When you’re renting, on the other hand, you can pretty much move whenever you want.
You’ll probably have a contract for six months or a year (although these can often be ended early if you give a couple of months notice), but after that you can move somewhere new with very little hassle. This is ideal if you have a job that requires you to travel around a lot, or if you just get itchy feet and like to discover new places.
4. You can be more independent
Personally, I would rather rent my own place and take a bit longer to buy a house than live at home with my parents in order to quickly save up a deposit. Having my independence is way too important to me, and renting allows me to live exactly how I want.
Renting also gives you the opportunity to live with friends (or strangers, if that floats your boat) or on your own. It also gives you a ‘practice run’ if you rent somewhere with a partner, just to make sure you get on well living together before you commit to buying a house!
5. You can practice being a homeowner
Speaking of practice runs, renting also gives you the chance to see what it’s like being a homeowner, without the responsibility of actually owning somewhere. You’ll get used to setting up council tax and utility bills, managing your household incomings and outgoings, and organising things like contents insurance.
You’ll also have to do all the practical things like learning how to reset the fuse box, defrost the freezer, depressurise the boiler or bleed the radiators – but your landlord or letting agents are always there to help if you don’t have a clue.
6. You can live close to the city centre (or wherever you want)
Houses near Edinburgh city centre are expensive. I could never afford to buy a place in the location I’m in now, but by renting I can afford to live just a 10 minute walk away from the centre of the city. I’m in my mid twenties and honestly, being able to nip to the shops or go out for a spontaneous Sunday brunch is way more important to me than living in some obscure, faraway suburb just because it’s the only place I can afford to buy.
Whatever is important to you – being close to the city centre, living by the beach, having a short commute to work – you’ll no doubt be able to find somewhere to rent that fits the bill.
7. You can gradually add your own furniture
In Edinburgh, furnished flats are the norm, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to end up with someone else’s horrible old hand-me-down sofas. Before you move in, it’s always worth asking if the landlord can remove any items of furniture you really don’t want – they may be able to move it to another property.
Even when flats are furnished, they usually only come with the basics like beds, sofas, wardrobes and dining tables. You can then add in your own furniture with things like bookshelves, side tables, desks, storage cabinets and chairs. When you’re renting, it’s easier to add pieces of furniture gradually as and when you can afford them, rather than feeling like you have to rush to furnish a whole house. Plus, when you do get round to buying somewhere you’ll already have half your furniture!
8. You only need a small deposit
As long as your reference checks work out or you can provide a guarantor, you usually only need around one and a half month’s rent as the deposit. Depending where you’re renting, this will probably be less than £1,000 rather than £20k+ if you’re buying a house.
That makes it much easier to save up enough money to move out of home or upgrade to a more expensive flat. And even better, you’ll get your deposit (or most it, hopefully!) back when you move out.
If you’re a renter, what are your favourite things about living in a rented property?