It’s that time again. Our lease is up for renewal and, in the words of the 80’s rock band, Clash, Bonnie and I have to decide: “Should We Stay or Should We Go?”
Readers of this blog, of course, know how pleased we are with our living arrangement. That view has not changed and, in fact, it was solidified even more fully by a recent column titled “5 Reasons to Rent Versus Buy” by Kelsey Sheehy. And while we did not need convincing, her article discussed many of the very same things we considered in deciding to sell our home and move into a 55+ Active Adult community. For example:
We want flexibility One reason we selected our apartment was because we love the city in which it is located, and it is relatively close to family. Those things could change though. Any of our children could find themselves forced to move for career reasons, and there is always the possibility Bonnie and I could find ourselves irresistibly drawn to another part of the United States. Whatever the case, if we decide to move we don’t have to worry about the enormous hassle of selling a home, and all the complications and time that process entails.
We want to be maintenance-free For many years, I enjoyed doing maintenance, yard work and repairs around the house. Today, though, the mere thought of having to put up a 40 foot extension ladder to clean the gutters is enough to make me swoon. There were many good things about home ownership, but seemingly constant repairs, replacement and refurbishment … not to mention dealing with a Home Owners Association … were not among them. Today, if something needs to be fixed, I dial a number and the repair is done quickly, professionally, at no cost and … here’s the best part … somebody else does the work.
We enjoy amenities Having owned a house with a swimming pool, we swore we would never do that again … chemicals … vacuuming … repairs … safety concerns. At our apartment, the pool is always sparkling, the water temperature is perfect, and if it ever needs cleaning … well, somebody else does it. Apartment living gives us others things as well … access to a fitness center just down the hall … community games and social events … and the opportunity to join neighbors in travel to a variety of locations and attractions. When we began searching for an apartment, we did not pay particular attention to amenities … now that we are here, though, these things make our experience even more enjoyable.
We like financial predictability Though rents can fluctuate over time, we know that once we sign our lease our rate is fixed for the term of the rental agreement. When we owned a home, we found that while our mortgage amount stayed constant, property tax rates always had an impact on our monthly payment. And, as mentioned, maintenance costs in a home can be unpredictable. For example, I remember standing in my backyard at 2:00am one August night in Texas (temperature was 95) … holding a flashlight for the air conditioner repairman (who I had called eight hours earlier) … while he tried to coax my AC unit back to life. Needless to say, I do not miss either the experience or the expense of that sort of thing.
We have a good thing going We love our apartment and the city where we live. Nearby shopping and restaurants, along with a wealth of available entertainment options make this a great place to call home. Our surroundings are quiet and comfortable, and we find ourselves in the midst of some truly amazing people we have come to call friends. Put differently, we are in a very good place and, as the old saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Though Sheehy wrote her column for folks trying to decide between buying their first house or continuing to rent, the issues she raises apply perfectly to Bonnie and me. Full disclosure, we had already made up our minds about renewing our lease, but this article provided another layer of confirmation that we had made … and continue to make … the right choice. When all is said and done, this is our “me” time, and living in a 55+ Active Adult community allows us to enjoy this period of our lives to the fullest.
In other words, when it comes to renewing our lease … where do we sign?