Last week, Inman surveyed readers for their best responses when potential buyers say: “I’m happy renting right now.”

As professionals who make a living off the trading of real estate, agents might want to have an arsenal of retorts to this common objection. One of the primary selling points of homeownership, of course, is that it acts as a wealth-building mechanism. Readers offered a range of ways to convey this, including by highlighting tax benefits and the folly of paying “someone else’s mortgage.”

Some readers advised asking prospective clients to explain exactly why they prefer renting to homeownership. This way, an agent can deploy rebuttals that address a potential customer’s specific concerns. Of course, sometimes renting may be the best option for someone. If that’s clearly the case, agents have an ethical responsibility to back off.

As always, be sure to only use suggested responses that align with your values and fit the situation at hand.

Why pay someone else’s mortgage when you could be building equity?

  • When renting, your entire payment is an expense. When you own, a portion of your payment actually comes back to you, and you can write off interest and maybe your property taxes and other expenses. Why would you want to have your landlord get all the benefits off of your hard-earned money?
  • The flexibility is great with renting, but owning a home provides equity and savings.
  • Although you may be happy renting, homeownership matters and can give you not only a sense of pride, but it’s an investment versus investing in someone else whom you pay rent to.
  • Do you think you could be even happier if you weren’t throwing $3,000 away every month, and it was actually giving you a tax write-off and equity growth in a property ? Why don’t we look at your options a little closer.
  • Renting means you are paying someone else’s mortgage. Why not pay your own mortgage and basically just be earning money by owning your home?
  • Do you really like throwing your hard-earned money away? Owning has so many advantages!

Use statistics to make the case

  • Homeowners have a net worth that is 34 times higher than renters. They have higher credit scores and fixed housing costs. They stay put four times longer. Their kids are more likely to graduate (+116 percent) and have higher test scores. (Note: be sure to verify the accuracy of statistics before using any.)
  • If I can show you on paper that financially it could be advantageous for you to be a “homeowner,” would you at least consider it?
  • Have you considered buying? With the amount of rent you’re paying, you could own a home.

Rent will rise. Your mortgage payment won’t (assuming you get a fixed-rate mortgage)

  • I understand; however, your rent will continue to rise. Let’s lock you into your monthly payment and build equity along the way.

Now is a darn good time to buy

  • Interest rates remain historically low, so there’s never been a better time to buy. Besides, would you really like to keep paying someone else’s mortgage? Build your own equity instead!

Reverse psychology?

  • I understand. You’d rather let someone else have the responsibility of ownership. 

Editor’s note: These responses were given anonymously and therefore are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity. Inman doesn’t endorse any specific method, and regulations may vary from state to state. 

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Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2019.

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