Renting Versus Homeownership in Retirement

An older couple is standing in a home surrounding by boxes. Both the woman and man are holding two cardboard boxes and smiling.

As more and more Baby Boomers set their sights on retirement, the focus on retirement living has never been greater. Although every person’s situation is unique, there are a few qualities that most people are looking for—comfort, joy, and financial stability. 

If you’re close to retirement or have just retired, naturally, you want to experience the joys of life without worrying about money—you deserve to enjoy everything you’ve worked so hard to accomplish. 

All of this demands the question—what retirement living situation will best give you the comfort, joy, and financial stability you need? 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between renting and homeownership and what factors to consider when deciding between these two.


Independent living community


  • Lower Monthly Payments: One of the biggest advantages of renting an apartment is the (potentially) lower monthly payments. You’re paying rent as opposed to a mortgage, which usually ends up saving you money in the short term. You’ll also pay less property taxes.
  • No Maintenance Required: You won’t have to spend weekends taking care of the yard or fixing issues with appliances as they come up. Both the property’s interior and exterior are handled by the maintenance team at the property management company, meaning that you don’t have to worry about a thing.
  • Flexibility: If you choose an apartment and ultimately decide that you don’t like living there, you can always move after your lease ends. Or, you can choose to renew it if you’ve found a location you’re completely satisfied with. With renting, you’ll never be anchored into one location if that’s not what you want.


  • Apartment-Specific Rules: The primary disadvantage of renting a senior apartment is that there are far more rules to follow. You may have quiet hours, potential pet rules, and space modification restrictions. Generally, senior apartments have fewer rules and restrictions than standard apartment complexes, which is one reason to look for a 55+ community. Most senior apartments simply require that you’re within the desired age range.
  • No Fixed Payments: Another potential disadvantage is that your rent could always go up or down with little warning, adding a bit of unpredictability to your life.
  • No Equity: You will be unable to build equity the same way you would if you were in a house or other property you owned.


An older couple (blurred in the background) hold a freshly painted 3D model of a home


  • Opportunity to Build Equity: One significant advantage of homeownership in retirement is that you still have a chance to build equity. A house is an investment you can profit from in the future should you decide to sell.
  • Stability: Homeownership also provides more stability. Remember that buying a house is a more solid financial investment than most. Although monthly mortgage payments can still change, these changes usually aren’t as extreme as rental changes, and you will receive warning well in advance.
  • Potential Tax Deductions: Finally, there is always the potential for tax deductions. In Michigan, for example, you could qualify for the Homestead Property Tax Credit to extend your retirement savings even further.


  • Bigger Time & Money Investment: Of course, buying a home is also a more considerable financial investment compared to renting. In fact, home prices have gone up in 2023, and it may be some time before they go down. The moving process is also longer; mortgage underwriting alone can take a month or more to complete. 
  • Maintenance Responsibilities: You are also responsible for all maintenance and upkeep. Even if your home is under an HOA, you are still responsible for conducting all interior maintenance.
  • Competitive Housing Market: It’s not an ideal time to look for a new home, not just because of the increased housing prices but because the housing market is extremely competitive. Newly listed homes may go off the market in a matter of hours, and there is the added challenge of competing against cash offers.

Factors to Consider

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. If you’re still not sure which option is ideal for your situation, consider these factors:

Financial Savings

Do you currently have enough money saved for a down payment? Have you created a long-term budget that includes monthly housing payments? You may want to consider renting if you don’t have enough money for a down payment.


Is building equity at this stage in your life something important to you at all? If so, how important is it? If it’s not important at all, look towards other factors that would influence your decision to buy or rent.


Are you looking for a smooth transition to a new home, or are you willing to put up with a more involved process? Buying a home may not be the way to go if you need to move as soon as possible.


Are you comfortable with the idea that you may be subject to rules like quiet hours? Will you be upset if you can’t have a pet or if you can’t make interior or exterior modifications? Remember—even if you buy a home outright, if it is under an HOA, you will still likely be subject to certain rules and regulations that you must adhere to.

If you like the idea of enforced quiet hours and aren’t invested in getting a pet, look at senior apartment options in your area. If you need absolute freedom, homeownership in a community not under an HOA could be your better option.

Learn More About Renting Senior Apartments

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to retirement living, as everybody has different goals and needs.

If you’re considering moving into a senior apartment, start your search with Shelby Park Manor. We’re a 55+ independent community committed to ensuring retirees can access everything they need to enjoy their golden years comfortably.

Contact us today to learn more about our available apartments, rental rates, and amenities or to schedule a tour of our community. 

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