Renting A Home Vs. Leasing A Car: Why The Difference In Opinions?

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Everyone knows that there are always going to be differences in opinions when it comes to leasing/renting versus owning anything, but particularly when it comes to cars. The major argument is that at the end of a car lease, you walk away with nothing except for the task of finding another vehicle and continued payments. However, the same thing is true when it comes to renting a home, yet the majority of people find that form of renting totally acceptable. The question is why?

 

The reasons for choosing to rent a car are just as valid as they are for renting a home. Some people don’t know where they will be in the intermediate future in terms of family, so being able to simply turn in a coup in favor of a minivan when kids enter the picture is an attractive feature. That matches up very well with the rental home counterpart where people find it much easier to simply move at the end of a rental period if the family outgrows their rental home. There is also the argument that maintenance is much easier to deal with given the fact that so many dealerships cover a variety of minor service options with their leased vehicles. Again, this parallels the home rental situation where people prefer to leave the repairs to their landlord and not have to hassle with them on their own. In both instances it may be a simple preference to not spend a large chunk of cash that can be used for other things that are higher priorities at the time.

 

In either instance, you will walk away with nothing to show for all those months of payments, except for the responsibility of finding either another rental or purchasing. So I ask you, the readers:

 

Why is it apparently ok to rent a home, but not a car if they are so similar?

  • http://www.moneylifeandmore.com/ Lance@MoneyLife&More

    My guess would be the cost and terms. Not everyone can buy a house but most people can find a way to buy a car.

    • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I don’t know. If we’re not talking about a junker or a car that’s 10 years old with thousands of miles on it, the cost of a vehicle outright can be pretty high for a lump sum expenditure too.

  • http://twitter.com/littlehouse2009 Little House

    Thought-provoking analogy. I own my car but rent an apartment. I definitely feel like leasing a car is a waste of money (and did this many years ago), but for some reason I’m okay with renting. Now, that may be because homes in my neighborhood are selling upwards of $500K and my rent is a bit less than it would be to purchase one of these places. But you’re right; it’s odd that I feel differently about the two. Perhaps when I own my own place, I’ll look back and realize I was a moron.

  • http://twitter.com/littlehouse2009 Little House

    Thought-provoking analogy. I own my car but rent an apartment. I definitely feel like leasing a car is a waste of money (and did this many years ago), but for some reason I’m okay with renting. Now, that may be because homes in my neighborhood are selling upwards of $500K and my rent is a bit less than it would be to purchase one of these places. But you’re right; it’s odd that I feel differently about the two. Perhaps when I own my own place, I’ll look back and realize I was a moron.

  • Funancials

    When it comes to shelter – renting is the most inexpensive option available to most people. When it comes to driving – leasing a car is not the most inexpensive. Buying a car is much less of a commitment than buying a house.

    • http://twitter.com/familymoneyblog John Preston

      Good point. Although it’s the cheapest new car option.

      My theory is that in homebuying, some of the benefit (paying off the mortgage) is far into the distant future and thus easily ignored. It seems to take too much to get there.

  • http://www.onesmartdollar.com/ Sean @ One Smart Dollar

    My parents usually lease their cars and the main reason is because it’s easier in their opinion.  They only like to keep cars for a few years before they get a new one so it works out better for them

  • http://twitter.com/financialsamura Financial Samurai

    Don’t think there’s much different. Doing either leads to a -100% return with nothing to show for.

  • http://twitter.com/financialsamura Financial Samurai

    But, obviously a car is worse b/c it’s an optional expense, and housing is not.

  • http://www.moneybeagle.com/ Money Beagle

    I am in the ‘buy your house’ camp, but if I had to guess, I’d say that those who felt leasing a car is bad but renting a house is OK would point to the difference in the ease of eventually selling the asset in question, if I had to guess.  Selling a car is pretty painless where selling a house can be a pretty big and costly deal.

  • http://blog.familymoneyvalues.com/ Marie at Family Money Values

    I have never leased a car and can’t imagine paying for a lease for the 10+ years we keep our cars.  I also wasn’t aware that car maintenance is covered by the lease. 

    I stopped renting years ago – although sometimes I feel that our yearly tax bill is kind of a ‘rent’ fee.

  • http://frugalstudents.blogspot.com/ Ginger

    My issue for leasing a car, when my husband and I talked about it, is the limit of driving you can do on the lease.  It had a max of 12,000 miles per year, and huge penalties for going over.  That could cause major problems for us.