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The Rewards of Renting

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relax and enjoy the rewards of renting

It's still the Australian dream, but for many of us who live in places like Sydney, living in our own home might be a little out of reach for now.  A popular way to enter the property market these days is to make a purchase but choose to rent it out, while renting another place for yourself elsewhere. The idea of 'buying where you can afford' and 'renting where you want to live' enables people to begin the journey of investing in property without necessarily making too many compromises about where they would most like to be living. Others are on the seemingly perpetual saving wheel, squirreling away as much as they can week by week to build up an acceptable deposit.  

Understanding that purchasing property is a long term goal helps one to accept renting for the short term and allows time to to plan ahead, learn to budget, build up a good credit history and research how it all works.   Check out the very in-depth Endeavour Mutual Bank home buyer's guide here.

But, while you save, strategize and sleuth the market you still have to live somewhere, and not everyone has parents with a granny flat...

So while it might feel like a compromise to some, renting enables you to live independently of family, have a space of your own and the experience of paying a large sum regularly to keep said roof over your head (see it as practising paying off a mortgage). Whether it is rented or partially owned by a financial institution, it is important to have a sense of home, wherever that may be. However as a renter this can be hard... nesting isn't made easy when you know your lease will come to an end, and of course sometimes there is evidence of past residents in rental properties that seem a little more obvious to the naked eye such as unrecognisable stains in the carpet, cracks in the tiles and marks on the walls.... of course not all rentals have these, but you get the idea.  If you owned the place you'd fix these things in time with a Bunnings gift card and few spare weekends, but when it's not your own place making changes can be harder.  

So how does one nest and make a space their own if they can’t renovate to their little heart’s content?

  • Depending on how long you plan to stay at a place, one can often negotiate having the place refreshed in various ways.  Things such as painting the walls, requesting a new built-in wardrobe, or new blinds can all give a property a fresh boost. Some people even manage to negotiate getting new carpet as part of entering into a rental agreement.
  • The longer you stay somewhere, (provided you are a good tennant and you have a relatively understanding property owner), the better. For the owners, if you put in a request to freshen up their property, it helps to demonstrate you are looking after and maintaining the property. For you it gives you a sense of (feigned) ownership, a connection with the place, as you make your mark and create a space where you feel at home.   If you enjoy where you live you'll be more likely to take particular care of the property.
  • Any improvements to the rental property is tax deductable for the owner, so often they will be more accommodating that you think!  Ask if the owner will pay for the cost of paint if you provide the labour – nothing like a fresh lick of paint. Win win for both parties.  So next time your rent goes up, take it as an opportunity to ask for something to be updated.

Investing some time and energy into your home, regardless of whether it’s a rental is worth it, as it will improve your quality of life and happiness. And nothing beats walking into your front door and feeling at home and welcomed straight away.

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.