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Feel Like a Homeowner While You Wait to Buy a Home

Are you a renter anxiously waiting to become a homeowner? We understand the current market isn’t in an ideal state and waiting for rates to come down to an affordable level can make homebuying feel like a lost cause. However, being a homeowner isn’t exclusive to just owning a home. The role encompasses many enjoyable responsibilities, such as making your space your own!

Just because you rent doesn’t mean you can’t create a space that feels uniquely yours. Many people find themselves renting for longer periods than expected due to various circumstances, such as financial planning or market conditions. While the goal might be to eventually buy a home, there’s no reason why your rental can’t reflect your personality and provide comfort, just as your future home would. So why not fulfill that part of homeownership?

The transition from renting to owning doesn’t have to feel like a waiting game. By taking proactive steps to enhance your current living environment, you can enjoy the benefits of a personalized, cozy space to help you feel like a homeowner, even as you rent.

Renting Vs. Owning

Before we get into our practical tips on making your rental feel more like a home, it’s important to understand the differences between renting and owning. If you’re waiting to buy a home, you might already feel that renting is inferior to owning, but that’s not always the case.

Renting a home offers significant flexibility and lower upfront costs, such as avoiding the substantial down payments and closing costs associated with purchasing a home. Renting also often includes maintenance and repair services as part of the lease agreement, which means renters are not financially responsible for major repairs or property upkeep. If you have these benefits right now as a renter, this can be a significant advantage if you aren’t ready to deal with the responsibilities.

You may be anxiously waiting to buy as soon as market conditions improve but you should know that it’s never too late to buy a home and when you do reach that milestone, you’ll start to enjoy its many benefits. Buying a home provides long-term stability and the opportunity to build equity. Unlike renting, where monthly payments do not contribute to ownership, mortgage payments gradually build equity, which can be a significant financial asset over time. Homeowners also have the freedom to make permanent modifications and improvements to their property, creating a space that truly reflects their preferences and lifestyle. Though it wouldn’t be permanent, renters can still enjoy the feeling homeowners get when they get to personalize their living space. Doing so can proactively prepare you on how you’d want to design your real home and allow you to have more control over your current living situation.

While You Wait to Buy a Home

Waiting to buy a home is closely paralleled to finding a new job. Job seekers may be constantly checking job boards and scrolling through postings just like a renter may spend most of their time analyzing market conditions and searching for potential properties on various home marketplaces. Focusing on something that may be out of your control can cause you to be stressed and lose focus on the present. Instead of thinking about the housing market conditions day in and day out, we suggest turning your focus toward creating a comfortable and personalized living space that makes your rental feel like a sanctuary. This step can not only improve your current quality of life but also help you develop a clear sense of your preferences and needs for your future home.

If you change your focus to a more positive hobby while in a waiting period, you can start to navigate the housing market with ease. Stay informed about market trends and save consistently, but don’t let the process dominate your life. Use this period to educate yourself about the buying process, explore different neighborhoods, and define what you truly want in a home. Engaging in activities that make you feel settled and happy in your current space can reduce anxiety and help you feel more in control. Remember, renting is an opportunity to live flexibly and without the pressures of homeownership. Embrace this phase with a positive mindset, knowing that each step brings you closer to finding the perfect home when the time is right.

Now that we’ve approached the waiting period with a more calming headspace, let’s look at some tips to feel like a homeowner as you rent.

Personalize Your Space

Owning a home is mostly about making your space your own, not your landlord’s. As your lease agreement allows, try decorating your rental to reflect your personality by choosing a color palette you love. Removable wallpaper or decals are excellent options for adding color and pattern without causing permanent changes, allowing you to infuse your style into every room. Be sure to read reviews for any decals or wallpaper you buy to ensure it’s unlikely to damage the paint and be prepared to touch up any marks it may leave behind.

Personal touches like art and photos can also make any space feel more like home. Consider creating a gallery wall with framed pictures of loved ones or artwork that inspires you. These elements can significantly enhance the warmth and individuality of your rental, making it a true reflection of you. If you’re unsure of your ability to make these changes in your rental, don’t hesitate to check in with your landlord.

Decorate With Quality Furniture

Buying furniture is another great aspect of owning a home, but it can be enjoyed by a renter, no matter their budget. To be proactive, consider choosing timeless and versatile furniture pieces that can transition with you when you move. This way, you can visually imagine these pieces in the houses on your wish list. Investing in high-quality items such as a comfortable mattress, sturdy sofa, and durable dining set not only enhances your current living experience but also serves as a long-term investment.

Quality furniture not only lasts longer but also provides a sense of stability and continuity as you move from one place to another. Multi-functional pieces like storage ottomans or extendable tables can also help maximize space in a rental, ensuring that your home remains stylish and functional. Keep in mind that quality furniture doesn’t always equal new furniture. Check out your local marketplaces to see if anyone is selling affordable furniture that appeals to your overall design vision.

Develop a Green Thumb

We understand that honing a green thumb isn’t natural for everyone, but incorporating indoor plants can improve air quality and add a touch of nature to your home. Plants like succulents and snake plants are low-maintenance options that can thrive in various lighting conditions, making them ideal for rental living.

If you have a balcony or a yard space to work with, starting a small herb garden can also bring life and freshness into your rental. Growing herbs like basil, mint, or rosemary not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also provides fresh ingredients for your cooking, making your rental feel more like home and lived in. If taking care of live plants raises concerns, several artificial options contribute to a visually appealing and harmonious environment, just as real plants would.

Customize Lighting

With innovative and affordable ways to level up the lighting in your living space, there are many options to enhance your rental’s ambiance. These options include using floor lamps, table lamps, and string lights and leveraging ‘smart’ lighting that can be controlled by an app. There are also wall lights that can stick to your wall without drilling or wiring. Proper lighting can change the mood of a room dramatically, making it feel more inviting and warmer.

Replacing harsh overhead lights with softer alternatives or installing dimmable lights and smart bulbs that can change color and intensity according to your preferences can add a personalized touch and increase the comfort of your rental.

Get Involved in Your Community

You may be wondering why you need to get involved in your community if you’re going to buy a home sometime soon. Community involvement doesn’t need to be a personal hobby, but building relationships with your neighbors by participating in community events and frequenting local shops can create a sense of belonging and prepare you for how to get involved in your next neighborhood.

Embrace Flexibility

When you own a home, it’s extremely rewarding and enjoyable. However, some homeowners start to get nostalgic about renting and think back to when they had lower costs of living and shared amenities. Before it’s too late, make sure you fully appreciate the benefits of renting, such as the freedom to move and the lack of maintenance responsibilities. Renting offers unique advantages that homeownership doesn’t, allowing you to experience different neighborhoods and lifestyles without long-term commitments.

Embracing the rental phase of your life can make the wait for homeownership more enjoyable and less stressful, helping you to live fully in the present while preparing for the future.

Your Time to Buy Will Come!

Waiting isn’t fun, but by focusing on the present and the aspects of your living situation that you can control, time will fly and you’ll have the keys to your next home before you know it. We say ‘next’ home because your rental space should also feel like a home. By personalizing your space, investing in timeless furniture, and getting involved in your community, you may just start to feel like a homeowner. These small, thoughtful improvements can make a significant difference in your day-to-day comfort and happiness

Remember to embrace the journey of renting instead of wondering when it’ll be over. Planning for your future home takes time, so use your time wisely and make the most of what you have. While you wait to buy, you now have all the power to enhance your current living experience and prepare you for the joys and responsibilities of homeownership.

As you personalize and decorate your rental space, we have several resources for you to leverage before your time to buy a home is near. Consider these 8 things you should know before you buy a home and be ready for the first steps in your homebuying journey.

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