10 Reasons to Be Thankful You're a Renter

The holiday season doesn't mean you are automatically thankful for everything about life. After all, you are still among the lowly renters in a world where it feels like everyone else owns. Let's face it, owners are the ones who have it made. Or are they?

Here are 10 reasons to be thankful that you rent:

1. You're free to explore life all over your city

"First I lived in San Francisco, just south of the Mission district," says Katie Lerner, a happy renter in the San Francisco Bay area. "Then I moved to Berkeley three months later and lived out by the airport. I followed that up with a great two-bedroom by Lake Merritt, a house with three enormous redwood trees in the Berkeley Hills, then out near Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek. If I'd owned, I never would have gotten to know so many fabulous neighborhoods in this great part of the world!" Enough said.

2. It's always new to you

The minute an owner owns, they have to deal with the depreciating value of their investment. For a renter, you need only worry about the state of the property in which you live while you live there -- then you can move on to a newer and better home.

3. Not your roof, not your problem

Renting means you can pass along any problems with your building's infrastructure to someone else. Owning means you have to deal with it. As it stands, if your roof begins to leak, you need only make a call to the landlord, put a pot beneath the offending leak and keep your money in your pocket. Your building management on the other hand, has to fix it, pay for it and make sure it stays fixed.

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4. Renters get to leave, not get left

Renters have the great pleasure of packing their belongings and moving on whenever they are ready. If the new neighbors are unbearable, a renter need only wait until the lease is up, give notice and move on. Afterward, a renter doesn't have to go searching for a new, reliable, unobtrusive tenant to take over. An owner does.

5. Renters aren't gambling, owners are

When you buy property, the best way to make sure you have made a sound investment is to have a crystal ball, or some other forecasting device. Since those devices don't exist, buying has risks. Since the value of a home is far less relevant to renters, those stressors don't apply to you. Enjoy it.

6. You won't get bogged down with stuff

Renters, as a rule, accrue fewer household goods. Most rentals come with kitchen and bathroom appliances. Owning less stuff, according to therapist Robyn Kidman of New York City, is good for you. "Studies have shown," says Kidman, "that the less you own, the better you feel." Since renters are more likely to move periodically, they are similarly likely to purge their belongings every now and then.

7. Renters insurance costs less than homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance in 2005 cost an average of $764 per year. Renters insurance that same year cost an average of $10 per month totalling $120 per year. Ka-ching!

8. You can always go where the grass is greener

So when you moved in, your neighborhood was the hot spot in your city. Three years later, it is so over. While an owner will have to wait around for the neighborhood to recover it's cool, you won't. You can simply move to the next up-and-coming "it" neighborhood. And you won't lose a dime in resale.

9. Renters can invest their savings any way they want

Historically, the consensus has been that a home is always a sound investment. However, the last few years have taught us otherwise. In the long run, the money you save that would have otherwise gone toward a down payment or the upkeep of an owned property can instead be invested in retirement funds, your education or any other way you want to invest it.

10. Freedom

Renting a home means that you can live your life on your terms with very little holding you back. If a overseas dream job comes to you in August, you can move by September. You don't need to raise enough capital to pour into the cost of selling a house (some estimates say it can cost as much as $20,000 on a $250,000 home) nor do you have navigate all the steps to find renters, building managers or brokers.

So be thankful this season that you are a renter!

Joselin Linder is co-writer of "Game-Based Marketing" (Wiley and Sons, 2010).

Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estateguides that can help:

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