Rolling Without Limits

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Living on a Fixed Income: Rent or Buy
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Living on a Fixed Income: Rent or Buy

Many people who live with disabilities find themselves on a fixed or reduced income due to the circumstances surrounding their limited mobility. Those who do can still find ways to secure funding to renovate or refinance their homes. But, it bears considering whether or not the added cost and responsibilities that come from such a big lifestyle change are worthwhile if you’re already happy with your rental situation. It may seem strange to choose a rental over home ownership when the options are there, but careful consideration may show either to be a better option for your living situation.

Benefits of Owning a Home

When you own a home or a condo, you can do anything you want with it. Staircase seated lift? Possible. Heated floors, you bet. You’ve got the freedom to make a home that you own into the perfect fit for your lifestyle, and the benefits also include equity in the property (should you need to refinance for medical or other financial reasons).

Additional benefits include an increased sense of community, as ownership offers a greater buy-in to the local scene than simply renting. Of course, that’s not to say you can’t become the neighborhood guru without home ownership, but it does give you an extra social boost at local homeowner and community gatherings.

The most obvious cons are the upfront expenses of financing a home as well as the ongoing maintenance needs of houses. Things you may have relied upon a landlord to take care of, from landscaping to gutter cleaning, are suddenly something the homeowner’s association requires you to handle.

Rental Benefits

Renting a home, or even an apartment, gets you off the hook for standard wear-and-tear maintenance in many areas. Landscaping can be worked into the rental agreement, especially if you have limited mobility, and true disasters like plumbing or air-conditioning emergencies fall to the homeowner to fix. This means they rarely hit your wallet the way a homeowner’s costs do when the unexpected arises.

The pros at also make another key point when it comes to rentals: You aren’t locked into one location. Whenever your lease expires, you can move across town to stay near friends and family or simply pack up and go globe-trotting as your desires and life situations change. Even in the days of AirBNB and similar services, it’s hard to find ways to cover a mortgage when you no longer consider your home a primary residence.

Other Options to Explore

Of course, rental and purchasing options aren’t the only things out there. From reverse mortgages and lease options to rent-to-own home ownership possibilities, there seems to be a financial plan that fits almost every lifestyle and budget. If you decide to pursue a less-traditional option, make sure you work with a trusted financial advisor who is acting in your best interest instead of for a commission.

Place your personal needs first and foremost in the discussion, and don’t get roped into taking on more than you can handle. Play your cards right, and whether you rent, own or go for an entirely different plan, you’ll always have a comfortable place to relax and refresh through all of life’s travails.

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