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Top 12 Benefits Of Renting An Apartment Instead Of Buying Real Estate

17 minute read
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It’s been an interesting year so far with rampant inflation, the stock market still trucking along, and high interest rates that never seem to come down. You keep hearing the economy is about to crash and we have a mind-boggling 34 trillion in debt but you're not seeing tons of corporate layoffs. The mainstream media and talking heads kept predicting a recession, but you feel like you are in one right now. Job opportunities seem plentiful but how is everyone still buying these expensive houses in Massachusetts? If your head is spinning; join the club. I get multiple DMs a day on social media asking me "Should I rent or buy in Boston?" so I thought it might be a good idea to hone in on the multiple benefits of renting an apartment in Boston and see if that could help you decide your housing needs.

Is your mind getting cluttered daily on whether you should rent a new apartment, renew your lease, or purchase a home?

My guess is you said yes to this challenge, and that is why you are going to keep reading this article. Even if you answered no to this question, you should keep reading because this article contains some interesting and vital information that might help you save some of your highly taxed life in Massachusetts. Before you decide to grab that packing tape and head to a more affordable state, we are going to give you some great renting strategies that might make you want to stay. For some people, the American Dream is to own a home. However, that may not be the best idea for everyone given their place in life and future potential. Just because you may be under the impression that you are supposed to buy a house, townhouse, or condo it certainly doesn’t mean that you need to. Overpaying for anything, regardless of what it is, is usually not the best solution in life.

Take a moment and think about why you think that you are supposed to buy a house. Does it mean that you have achieved success? That is not necessarily true. In fact, owning a home can be burden for some people, specifically a big financial burden. There are a ton of hidden costs that happen when you own a home. Over time, many things start to break or wear out and you will be paying out of pocket to fix these things. Perhaps paying lower rent and investing in the stock market might get you a better rate of return to buy a better house in the future? Or perhaps renting with roommates might save you a lot of money so that you can buy your first multi-family property where you end up with positive cash flow? Timing can be everything, especially when dealing in Boston real estate. Let’s open our minds to the possibilities of a well thought out plan of financial success.

boston rent vs buy

Are you supposed to buy a home because "real estate is a good investment"?

Owning a home is not for everyone. You should never buy a property for the sake of just purchasing a property. Look for a great real estate deal where you have some level of certainty that you made a good decision. Perhaps you picked up a property ten percent below market value that just needed a little work. Now you may have insulated yourself from any downturn in that marketplace. That being said; if you don’t like to sweat and lose all your evenings and weekends working on a property while you pay rent in another location for an extended period of time– you might want to double think that time, money and value equation. You will probably want to pencil the whole deal before you embark on any endeavor.

Real estate is very similar to the stock market where timing matters. The universal concept of buy low and sell high will never steer you wrong. What are the main differences between the stock market and owning real estate? For the most part, owning real estate takes more physical time and effort than the stock market. You will probably be driving to home depot a lot more when you own a property rather than logging in and checking your stocks. So, where you are in your personal life in the amount of time you must devote to real estate can also make a big difference. You may be at a period in your life where you are simply not ready for all the responsibilities that go along with home ownership or managing a triple decker you bought. Perhaps your business is booming, and you are working 80 hours per week and you just do not have time for repairs and maintenance.

You may never be ready for all those responsibilities, and that is perfectly fine. A great deal of successful people do not own real estate. Some never have and never will. So, if you decide to remain a renter for now and or for the long run that is fine. The bottom line is that renting an apartment may make you a happier person especially if you are maxxed out on time and endless life requirements.

Here are the top twelve benefits of renting an apartment instead of buying a house or condo. Perhaps this will help you with your future decisions in real estate on many levels.

Check for a Mortgage Downpayment

1: You Do Not Need A Down Payment

Did you know that most people need a mortgage to purchase a house because they don’t have the money on hand in order to buy the property in cash? If you apply for a mortgage, chances are high that you will need to pay a down payment upfront that equals a percentage of the purchase price of the property. That down payment percentage can run as high as 20% of the purchase price. So, if you are buying a condo for $500,000 you may very well need $80,000 in cash upfront to complete the purchase. On the other hand, if you are moving into a new apartment, on average you will only need an upfront payment of 1st month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit equal to one month’s rent.

Let’s say your rent will be $2,500 per month, that means you will only need $7,500 upfront instead of $100,000. That is a tremendous difference to say the least. You may also have to pay a brokers commission so make sure you know the policy of the real estate office you are working with – many charge different fees. It is quite possible you may have to provide over $10,000 upfront but again always ask what the total costs are upfront to avoid any surprises. The bottom line is that $10,000 is still far less than $100,000. Even if you had the $100,000 and you rented you could put that $90,000 into the stock market which could lead to a nice return on investment.

mortgage debt

2: You Do Not Need To Carry Mortgage Debt

Although some people believe that mortgage debt is considered to be good debt as opposed to harmful debt such as high credit card balances, it is still a debt. That means the mortgage information, including the current balance and payment history, are included on your credit report. If you happen to miss a monthly mortgage payment it will negatively affect your credit scores. At the end of the day; it might make sense for you to have a lower operating expense and put more of it in a wealth generating vehicle until that builds itself big enough when you can then sell it and put down more on your house or investment property? The bottom line is that you need to start thinking about a plan that works for you.

Benefits of Renting in Boston

3: You Do Not Need To Pay For Real Estate Taxes Or Homeowner's Insurance

Another financially based benefit of renting an apartment instead of buying a house or condo is the fact that you don’t need to pay for real estate taxes or homeowner’s insurance. Real estate taxes tend to be extremely expensive in Boston and surrounding areas. In fact, they can truly be a financial burden on many homeowners. The area that you live in, the size or square footage of the house, and the lot of the land that the house sits on all factor into the real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance equation.

We also must be ever vigilant that our politicians love to keep increasing taxes and hardly cut jobs or make government more responsive or efficient and this burden can shift right to your assessments and into them going into your pocket. In some cases, the real estate taxes alone can add hundreds to even thousands more to the monthly mortgage payment.

The good news is that when you rent, you do not need to worry about paying for real estate taxes or homeowner’s insurance. However, you may want to take out a renters insurance policy to cover your belonging in case there is a fire, flood or you are robbed. A renters insurance policy is significantly less money when compared to a homeowner’s insurance policy. For example, the average cost of renter’s insurance is under $200 per year, while the average homeowner’s insurance policy is closer to $1,500 per year.

Utility bills

4: Your Utility Costs Will Be Lower

Typically speaking, homes in Greater Boston are much larger than apartments. That means the cost to heat in the winter and air condition in the warmer months is also more costly if you own a home as opposed to renting an apartment in Boston. In addition, some apartments in Boston and surrounding areas include heat and hot water, which significantly reduces the utility bills. The electric bill is typically lower for apartments when compared to single family homes, condos, and multi-family homes. This is due to the fact that most apartments are laid out in a way that is far more compact and efficient, which also means they are less costly to power. For example, apartments typically have less rooms than a house. That means there are less lights to turn on and off. Fewer lights means that less electricity is being used. In turn, the monthly electric bill is lower for an apartment.

Over the last several years; with our poor energy policy in Massachusetts, we have seen our rates skyrocket.  Hopefully we can get energy costs back to normal in the coming years; but you might want to consider renting a bit longer and saving some money until we get back to focusing more on the production side of energy.

Maintenance of Property

5: You Are Not Responsible For Property Maintenance, Maintenance Costs, Or Repair Bills

One of the biggest benefits of renting an apartment is the fact that your landlord is responsible for all things maintenance related from both a psychical and financial standpoint. That means you don’t need to worry about weeding, mowing the grass, pruning the trees and shrubs, fixing the roof, or any painting at the property. Did you know that a great deal of homeowners end handling these activities during their free time? You might be shocked at how much time you will end up maintaining your house especially if it was not new construction. Get ready for that dishwasher to break, water heater to fail, central air conditioner that needs maintenance and garage door opener that wears out it’s motor. If you own the property you will be waiting at home for the necessary items and repair people to show up. You might not be going to work that day and that could cost you money. If you are a renter you can go to work and keep making money and let the landlord handle the hassle.

So, while you are spending your free time doing what you like, they are working on their houses. By the way, property maintenance can be very expensive. For example, if you own a home and one or more of the appliances break down it can cost thousands of dollars to replace them. In a strange and painful sort of way; don’t be surprises if things go in bunches. Having managed countless units over the last two decades I have had instances where the refrigerator, washing machine and garbage disposal all go within 30 days! Ouch! However, if you rent an apartment and one or more of your appliances break down, you simply call your landlord to fix or replace them. If the roof is leaking or the property needs to be painted that can also costs thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. The good news is that it’s the landlord’s problem not yours.

Boston real estate

6: You Don't Need To Worry About Real Estate Values

Did you know that real estate prices tend to go up and down over time? In addition, it’s incredibly difficult to tell when the real estate market will swing one way or the other? Although this may be a tremendous concern for homeowners, it’s certainly not something that you need to worry about while you are renting an apartment. For example, if property values happen to go down you don’t need to worry about your home losing a lot of value. However, property owners do, especially if they need to sell the house or refinance the mortgage. In fact, a few property owners end up losing their homes to foreclosure because they can’t sell or refinance into a lower mortgage payment during downturns in the real estate market. Many people in Boston believe that we might be at the top of the real estate market – are they correct? Perhaps you are better at picking stocks than real estate? Maybe you like the simplicity of buying an index fund and spending your time going fishing or skiing instead of worrying about buying and selling decisions.

Community Pool

7: You May Have Full Access To Some Convenient Amenities

Did you know that far more apartments have pools compared to houses that have pools? This holds particularly true for apartments that are located within apartment complexes. Just think about spending your hot summer weekends swimming in the pool and laying around the pool instead of packing up a bunch of stuff and driving to the beach. Plus, when you’re done, all you need to do is take a 2-minute walk back to your apartment instead of packing up the car again and driving home from the beach. The community pool at your apartment complex is also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. If you purchase a home with a pool, then you are responsible for the upkeep such as cleaning the pool and adding chemicals. When you rent an apartment, your landlord is responsible for the pool maintenance. Your landlord is also responsible for the liability of owning the pool. Your apartment may include other convenient amenities such as an on-site fitness center, social center, and an on-site laundry facility.

Boston residential door

8: You Will Have More Flexibility Regarding Where You Live

Did you know that home buyers are far more restricted to areas where they can afford to buy, while people who rent apartments have far more flexibility in this regard? For example, Boston, MA and surrounding areas is considered to be an incredibly expense place to live. You may or may not be able to afford to buy a home in Boston, but chances are significantly higher that you will be able to afford to rent in Boston. In fact, there is a wide variety of apartments available that fit various budgets. Once again, you do not need to qualify for a mortgage or come up with a large down payment on an expensive property in order to rent an apartment in Boston and surrounding areas.

Downsizing to an apartment

9: You Will Have More Flexibility To Downsize If Desired Or Needed

When you own a home, it is significantly more difficult to downsize then it is if you rent an apartment. Although you may not plan to downsize until years down the road, it’s still something that you need to consider when deciding if you want to be renter for the long term or a homeowner. First and foremost, if you own a house you need to sell it in order to downsize. Once again, that may occur during a down real estate market where your house is worth less than what you can sell it for. At that point you would need to delay your downsizing if possible, from a financial standpoint. Even if the real estate market is doing well and prices are high, there are a significant amount of fees that are involved with selling a home, which of course eat into your profits. If you happened to put a lot of money into your home for renovation projects, you may not recover that money in the sales price. In addition, people who own homes tend to have more stuff. You may not be able to fit that stuff into a smaller home so you either need to throw it out, which is a waste of money, or rent storage space for it, which is also a waste of money.

Community pool

10: You Will Build A Sense Of Community

When you live in an apartment complex it provides you with an opportunity to engage with more people who you have something in common with. What do you have in common with your neighbors exactly? It’s the fact that you live in the same building or apartment complex. Yes, a sense of community also exists if you own a home that is located in a neighborhood, however the closer proximity of apartment living creates an even bigger atmosphere of community. In many cases, people who live in apartments end up building lifelong friendships with their neighbors. On the other hand, if you rent an apartment and have a neighbor, or multiple neighbors that you do not like or get along with, chances are you will only need to deal with them for the short term. Many people who rent apartments only live at a particular apartment for a year or two. If you own a home and dislike your neighbors, you may be stuck with them for years on end.

Tenant moving in

11: You Can Move a Lot Faster With a Quick Sublet

You just landed that dream job and they want you to move to Texas within 30 days and start having a huge impact in their company. You know your apartment is great and there is a high demand in Boston for apartments and rooms. You talk to your roommates and mention you will leave the TV and couch behind and that you will find a renter. You call your landlord and they say no problem as long as you find a good tenant. You put up an ad and all of a sudden you have 15 applications within 12 hours. Getting tons of activity on your sublet is quite common in the Greater Boston area. There is no question that if you are neat person that keeps their apartment well with nice furniture and pleasant environment that you could be packing your bags in two weeks or less. You really can’t sell your property and move that fast. So if you are still advancing your career and opportunity is knocking – renting maybe the answer for you.

12: You Are Not Sure City Living is Going to be for You

You grew up in the suburbs where a large back yard and less traffic is the pace you are comfortable enjoying. You are not sure that the speed and hustle of the bright lights and big city are your thing. Maybe you are light sleeper and noise and distractions just are not your thing. Perhaps trying to wiggle in and out of that tight parking space will get on your nerves after some time. We get it; city living is not for everyone. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences. So before you drop substantially more money on a house than renting an apartment; perhaps you check it out for a year and see if that type of living is for you. Renting gives you the quicker and less painful option of making your retreat back to the type of living you enjoy most.

Make the Best Choice for You

In conclusion, renting an apartment can be the best choice for people who would like to avoid all of the hassles and expenses that are involved with home ownership. For example, if you don’t want to do property maintenance tasks during your free time or pay for anything maintenance related, then you should rent an apartment instead of buying a house or condo. If you do not want to worry about the financial related issues that are involved with owning a home, then you should rent an apartment instead of buying a house or condo. Want to live in a place that may have more amenities than your typical house does? Then you should rent an apartment instead of buying a house or condo. If you would like to have the ability to move with ease, or make more friends quickly then you should rent an apartment instead of buying a house or condo.

If you need help renting an apartment, Boston Pads is here for you. In fact, we are Boston based real estate specialists. You can find apartments in Boston and surrounding areas by using the area’s largest real-time database right here. You won’t find outdated or fake listings like other real estate portals. We know that providing you the most accurate and transparent information builds the best relationships for the long run. We want you coming to our website for all your real estate needs.

Our apartment search service is second to none. In fact, the Boston Pads website is your number one source for everything apartment related. You can even calculate how much you can afford to spend on rent each month by using our Rent Calculator. We look forward to finding you the best home of your dreams.

Demetrios Salpoglou

Demetrios Salpoglou

Published April 8, 2024

Demetrios Salpoglou is the CEO of which is an information and technology based services company that provides cutting edge resources to real estate companies. Demetrios has developed over 90 real estate related websites and owns hundreds of domain names. Demetrios also owns and operates six leading real estate offices with over 120 agents.

Demetrios has pulled together the largest apartment leasing team in the Greater Boston Area and is responsible for procuring more apartment rentals than anyone in New England – with over 130k people finding their housing through his services. Demetrios is an avid real estate developer, peak performance trainer, educator, guest lecturer and motivational speaker.

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