Is renting a home bad for your kids? Their future?

Is renting a home bad for your kids? Their future?

I just had to get this off my chest, so bear with me.  Is homeownership the only way your child will have higher self esteem, higher test scores, be part of the community? NAR says so. NAR says there is ample research to back this up. Watch the video then read on:

My profession’s trade group, the National Association of Realtors, has released an ad campaign I feel is absolutely awful, disgusting and insulting.  I hope they will pull this ad and apologize to the millions they’ve offended.

Do you think whether you rent or own is any measure of how well your kids will succeed in school?  Will their test scores be higher? Did you know that homeownership (not renting) builds communities?  Did you know that your kids may have better self esteem if only your parents owned a home vs. renting?

One thing I’ll agree with is HOME IS WHERE YOU BELONG! Yes, this is true. But what is home?  Is it the structure you live in? Is it your family?  Is it the mortgage you hold? Or the rent you pay? Well, to me, the answer is obvious.  Home is your family, home is where you find love and support.

Let me just say…  I feel I’ve been on the front lines of this banking collapse and housing crisis the last few years.  To the point, I worry I may have a photo of myself on the front door of the major banks telling me to stay out as I’ve called them to task so many times, and publicly scolded them for how they’ve treated their borrowers.  I’ve watched families almost destroyed by doing everything they could humanly (and some super-human) do to save their homes.  Some have lost everything; jobs, money, cars, friends, family.  What has been heartwarming is to see families pull together, realize that their house is JUST a house, and not their home.

I feel this campaign is a kick in the teeth to all of those parents/families/people who rent by choice, necessity or now as a result of this banking /housing market collapse have now become renters, often against their will and despite all of their efforts.  The silver lining is that many found renting has provided them even a better quality of life.  Rents are half their mortgage payments. Lower rents allowed them sometimes to be in an even more desirable school area or neighborhood.  Or live in a larger home with more amenities.  They have less expenses since they no longer have the added expenses of homeowner maintenance.  Because they rent are their children going to have lower test scores and have lower self esteem? I think not. I think it’s offensive to even insinuate.

I don’t believe for one second that whether you rent or own has anything to do with whether you are a good parent or not, or whether your student is a good student or not.  Or whether you’re “building a community.” It’s simply irrelevant because NAR gets it wrong.  HOME does not equal MORTGAGE. Home is a feeling, home is family, home is where you belong. For some, home may be multi-generational living where we’ve found some families after losing a job, or a home, or experiencing an economic disaster in their lives. This ad is aimed square between the eyes of parents everywhere who want to do what’s best for their kids, always. Feeling guilty yet?  Don’t. They’re wrong. It’s that simple.

In fact, it is the belief that some do have that losing a home makes them a failure that has made them hold on so long, and so hard.  To the point of almost losing everything. Borrowing from family and friends, maxing credit cards, all to save a home worth half of what is owed, with an interest rate twice the going rate now, and with property tax, maintenance costs and more.  I’ve had to remind some that it is just a house.  You can recover. You can rent and get out of debt, and keep your family together, and move on.  The years go by in the blink of an eye.  If buying again is in your future, and that is your choice, it will be here before you know it. If you don’t want to buy again (and some don’t!), know that you’re driving your own bus now, making your own destiny and plans.

No trade association should be making you feel you SHOULD be doing something in order to be a better parent, better family unit, or a better contributor to society and community.  When people are losing their homes, they’ve sometimes scared me with how much they dig in, how they’ll do anything to keep it… and I’ve sometimes reminded families that if a child was hurt, you’d give that house away to help them. YOU WOULD GIVE IT AWAY!  Because in the scheme of  life, it doesn’t matter. Family matters. Being together matters. Whether you have a mortgage or pay rent to someone is of no consequence in my opinion.

Our friends at Ha Media wrote an excellent post on this ad campaign, I hope you’ll check it out: An apology to my son for being a parent who rents…

If you too feel this ad is insulting and ill conceived, write to NAR today:



By |2012-08-18T18:51:19+00:00August 18th, 2012|Featured Posts, Market News|0 Comments

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Catherine Myers is a licensed real estate broker located in Walnut Creek, CA. Catherine has been serving the real estate needs of buyers, sellers and investors of the Contra Costa area since 2002. Catherine has always had an entrepreneurial hard working spirit and real estate allows the convergence of her love of helping people and the pragmatic approach of seeing dreams realized.

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