Re: Own vs Rent
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 13:45:53 -0700 (MST)
> I'm wondering how you'd get a hold on the variables involved.  What people
> rent and what people own are not usually comparable -- most people I know
> who are renting pay less on their rent than we do on our mortgage. On the
> other hand, they have smaller living spaces, smaller or no yards, less
> cool features...  in general, people seem happier to settle for less when
> they're renting.  (I'm thinking primarily of people with similar incomes.)

Rental markets vary widely and in some areas there just are no houses
to rent, or no larger houses. So this is an issue. But to say that
ownership is a class issue is pushing it.

In Florida, you can buy a house for $500 down and any kind of a job.
Or you can rent a house for $13,000 a month. Of course there are those
who don't have any income or job but I'm not sure that makes the whole
issue a class issue. More than money defines social class. I know many
people who are bona-fide upper class who have incomes not much higher
than mine. Of course they inherited shares in houses and personal
possessions I did not inherit. And they learned very early how to
choose a fine wine--not just an expensive one.

> We live in an area where housing prices have been increasing rapidly.  We
> couldn't rent anything close to what we own for similar monthly fees.

But for every person who buys at rapidly increasing prices, another
loses money. And as your value goes up, your costs also go up. Not
just real estate taxes but school taxes, assessments for paving and
sidewalks. Keeping up with the Joneses, etc.

The variables include all the costs of owning a home which many people
don't "see" like maintenance and insurance that they would not
otherwise pay.

In my apartment in Florida, the management office sends someone over,
usually within an hour, whenever I need a new filter on the air
conditioning/furnace, a light bulb changed in the high ceilinged
kitchen, the disposal gets plugged up (and replaces it), toilet is
clogged, drains are slow, screen door is torn, etc. All I do is pay
rent, electricity and water. They clean and replace carpets and paint
walls on a schedule.

If I wanted to live here forever I would spend the money to put in
more phone jacks and electric outlets and pretty things up here and
there. Add a closet. The management would contribute the labor (within
reason) and I pay for materials.

I'm still waiting for cohousing to be built in Washington DC but I
know it won't be as easy or as cheap to live there. It will have other
advantages but it won't be easier or cheaper.

Sharon Villines, Editor
MacGuffin Guide to Detective Fiction,
MacGuffinL, History & Criticism of Detective Fiction

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