This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

I Hate Suburbia, Therefore I Rent

In a nutshell, I focus on two primary areas vis-a-vis the rent vs. buy dilemma. One, location trumps all, even if it means I cannot buy or must delay buying. And two, when I buy, it's all about growth and income, which, interestingly, is the same criteria I have for a majority of my stock selections.

An amazing number of my friends moved out of cities like San Francisco, partly for public school-related reasons, but, largely, to be able to buy a home. They buy it as shelter. They might buy it as an investment. But they buy it in an environment they absolutely do not prefer. It's an age-old phenomenon, leaving the city for the less expensive property of the suburbs.

I never understood the mindset: Giving up a lifestyle and atmosphere you love just so you can own a home. I would happily rent for the rest of my life to live in the type of environment and climate I prefer.

I cringe every time I watch House Hunters on HGTV and the couple settles for a less desirable neighborhood solely because they want to become or remain homeowners.

Over the weekend, a Bay Area couple chose a cookie-cutter property in sleepy Brisbane, a suburb near San Francisco, because they could not afford anything even halfway decent in the city. Generally speaking, I think people in that type of situation end up regretting their decision on some level.

When we discuss the buy-rent conundrum, we tend to boil it down to a debate over numbers and the supposed superiority of being an owner as opposed to a renter. While that apparent cornerstone of the runaway American dream took a hit after the housing crash and economic crisis of 2008, it's still part of our collective ethos. However, not everybody bought in to it pre-crash, and I reckon fewer will after the crash.

Quality of life and experience, it's one factor that does not come up enough, particularly among us slugs who cannot pay cash wherever and for whatever we choose. Too few people frame real estate as a growth and income investment.

If all parties involved -- bankers, real estate agents, buyers -- considered the decision to buy or rent more critically, we might not have fallen quite so haplessly into the aforementioned crisis.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.
2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
AAPL $124.25 -0.14%
SNE $27.26 1.79%
FB $81.66 -0.67%
GOOG $542.56 -0.99%
TSLA $187.59 -0.63%


DOW 17,698.18 -77.94 -0.44%
S&P 500 2,059.69 -8.20 -0.40%
NASDAQ 4,880.2280 -20.6570 -0.42%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs