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5 Surprising Reasons Many Seniors Choose to Rent


Do you intend to stay in your home for the rest of your life?

Research by AARP suggests that 89 percent of Americans Age 50+ want to remain in their home indefinitely.

However, as they get older, many seniors are choosing to rent rather than own the home they live in.

Even those who easily afford to purchase or maintain a currently owned home are opting to rent instead. 

But, why?

Here a few of the reasons:

Renting is just easier than owning.

After his wife passed away Mike Abelson, the 65-year-old trial attorney, sold his house and began renting a 1,400-square foot apartment eight miles away in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Now he uses his downtime to enjoy warm summer evenings on his terrace.

“I pay a pretty steep rent, but it’s worth it,” Abelson said. “I don’t pay property taxes, I don’t pay for maintenance, plumbing or electrical. I don’t have to pay for the grass cutting. It’s just easier than being a homeowner.”



I might even be inclined to rent:

“We’re not about to move, but you know what? If I had it to do again, I’d never buy this house. If we had stayed where we were, we’d now have just four years left on our mortgage. But knowing what I know now, I might even be inclined to rent. For most folks, renting isn’t a bad option.”

Source: J.D. Roth is the author of Your Money: The Missing Manual.  He started the award-winning website Get Rich Slowly, which Money Magazine named the Web’s most inspiring personal-finance blog.

Why I Never Want To Own A House Again


“I’m not saying that owning a home is a bad thing. I liked being a homeowner. I just happen to like renting more. I liked that when our oven died, it was replaced – at no additional cost to me – that same day. And I liked that as I wandered through Home Depot, I happily gazed at cabinet pulls and meandered through the garden center rather than making a beeline for caulk, wood putty or other maintenance items. Maintenance is no longer my problem.”

Source: Forbes Staff Kelly Phillips Erb

These are a few glimpses into some of reasons seniors are more comfortable renting rather than owning.

But, what about an economic reason?

Is now the time to pull all of the equity out of your home before another downturn evaporates it?

What does bestselling author Harry Dent has to say about the road ahead: 


Harry Dent warns of a pending housing collapse:

“Property Prices Will Shed a Further 40% of their Values…as the greatest real estate bubble in history continues to deflate. (New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego will be hit the hardest – with McMansions and commercial real estate leading the way). Seventeen percent of mortgages are still seriously underwater. And in some States like Nevada the figure is closer to 38%. And as the economic situation worsens, these figures will only escalate again higher than before. Millions will be left owning homes that are worth less than the money they owe on them. And they will begin to default en-masse. It will be the Home-Shock of the Century!”


Why should you listen to Harry Dent?

““This is the most important forecast from the Harvard-educated business strategist and best-selling author who predicted nearly every major boom and bust of the last 25 years. For example…”

In his 1989 book, Our Power to Predict, Harry foretold of the collapse that hit Japan’s stock and real estate markets in 1990.

Then in The Great Boom Ahead, he predicted America’s completely unanticipated boom at the end of the 20th century.

In February of 2000 — at the exact moment the tech bubble peaked — he released an alert to his readers, warning them to get out of Internet stocks.

Almost six years later, in late 2005/early 2006, he warned that the U.S. housing market was nearing its peak.

Finally, in 2011 — months before the euro zone crisis began — he sounded the alarm of the coming European fiscal nightmare.

Each time, the “experts” said he was wrong. Each time, he was exactly right.”


Is it 2008 again?


In an earlier blog I talked about the reverse mortgage that I helped my mother obtain back in 2008.

She wasn’t short of cash.

However, when house prices collapsed,  my mom was afraid that further decline was possible.

She wanted to get as much equity out of the house and into cash as precaution.

At that time she was able to obtain a reverse mortgage because there was no Financial Assessment litmus yet.

It’s important to note however that today my mother might not qualify for that same loan.

So the question is:


In today’s economic environment would I recommend that my mother sell her house and rent?



Let me explain my reasoning. 

We’ve all seen housing prices make a recovery since the lows of 2010. 

In many areas the prices have almost climbed back to the “pre-crash” levels. 

Now remember why housing prices crashed…

They rose to a level that was not supported by the ability of most people in the area to afford the house payment.

So, the prices were unsustainable and the collapse was inevitable.

So now I have to ask…. did I miss something?

  • Did everyone get a massive raise since 2010? (no….)
  • Is everyone now able to afford the same house payment that they defaulted on before? (no…)
  • Are interest rates about to fall (no…they’re already close to zero….)

Housing prices have risen artificially due to market manipulation. Like Harry Dent, I expect the housing market to fall back again very soon.

Now don’t get me wrong, in the long term I’m very pro-homeownership. 

History has shown it to be a good investment and over time (taking in to account the boom and bust periods) you come out ahead owning. 

However the key phrase here is “over time.” 

Back to my Mother’s situation:

In 2008 my sisters and I believed any further eroding of my mother’s equity would take years to regain just to get back to where she already was. 

Why take the chance?

We knew that every penny of that money would be extremely critical to her care if she eventually needed to enter senior care (which she did). 

By getting the equity out we were able to safeguard that we would have the needed resources when the time came. 

Attempting to predict the future is a matter of individual beliefs. 

Some believe that we are at the beginning of a new “up” cycle and the economy, the stock market and home prices are headed to new highs with no pullback in sight.

Others believe that we have just postponed the major collapse and that it’s coming right around the corner.

Either way, if you’re in your 20’s 30’s and even 40’s, there is time to recover from whatever happens.

You might make a decision to move one way, while if you’re 60 or older you might make a decision to move in another direction because there simply is not enough time to make up a loss. 

The links below are several resources that discuss the Rent v. Own question:

fast cash for homes

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