Ask a Realtor: What’s wrong with just staying a renter? |

Ask a Realtor: What’s wrong with just staying a renter?

Joan Harned
On real estate

Dear Joan: I think I would just rather rent than ever buy a home. I am sure that sounds like nails on a chalkboard to you, but I have a lot of friends who have bought homes, only to find they needed to move quickly, or there are tons of repairs to do, or they just don’t have any money left to do anything fun after they have paid their mortgage every month. 

I feel much freer knowing that I am not tied down to one place and a big mortgage payment. Last month the hot water heater in my rental townhome died and not only did the owner have to replace it, but the owner had to pay for having the carpet cleaned and dried out. I know you often speak of home ownership as important to anyone building wealth, but I feel like I am saving more all the time by not buying and staying in the valley as a renter. Do you want to try one more time to convince me? I don’t think it will work, but I will listen.  

— Renter in Perpetuity

Dear Renter in Perpetuity: You could be the exception to the rule, but I would be surprised if you were. How long have you lived in Eagle County?  Try adding up all the rent you have paid over the years, with nothing to show for your payments. Then figure in the fact that you did not get to deduct mortgage interest for any of those hundreds of payments you made at the end of each year for your taxes. Then consider how much your rent has been going up … and how you are making the mortgage payment for your landlord, who is also having his property gain equity by virtue of the real estate market increasing in value. 

You have no control over what your rent will be in the future or the availability of the rental you are in (your landlord might decide to sell) or your ability to find another good rental in a tight rental market. If you are truly saving lots of money every month, I hope you are investing it wisely.  We have some other investments besides real estate, but none of those other investments have ever had the “return on investment” that you can get in our real estate market. 

We have had real estate investment here increase by more than 300%, which is hard to do in the stock market. I would suggest that you contact a knowledgeable, trustworthy Realtor and set a time to just explore your options. We Realtors can help you find loans with 0 percent down , 3.5% down and 5% down loans for qualified buyers on the purchase of their own home. I believe it is worth putting a pencil to it to see if it might make sense.  If not, you will be a favorite for landlords in this valley forever! Best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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