I have been renting apartments or houses for most of my adult life - minus the couple of years of home-ownership that did not work out as planned. I tend to beat myself up over the fact that I rent rather than own. I beat myself up over quite a few things so this obviously is not new. Lately, instead of beating myself up, I have started to realize a benefit of renting that I hadn't thought of before.
I get to experiment with different floor-plans, fixtures, flooring, appliances and so on without the commitment of a mortgage. Over the years, I have figured out what I like and don't like, what I want in a home and what I would prefer to live without. Here are a few things that I have figured out.
1- Hardwood floors are not a good idea for people with feet problems. Especially people who like to take their shoes off as soon as they walk in the door. My entire main floor is hardwood.
2- Black granite counter tops never seem to look clean - even after a good scrubbing. Especially in the areas around the faucets.
3- Black appliances always look like they need to be cleaned - even after a good scrubbing.
4- I love having a double oven.
5 - I do not like smooth-top ranges. Of course, it could be that mine is black.
6 - I do not like side-by-side refrigerators. I feel like I don't have enough space.
7 - Not a fan of the open-plan concept. At least not the one I have. Makes arranging furniture a little difficult.
8 - A window in my bathroom is a must.
9- Three bedrooms is must. One for me, one for my son (or guest when the boy moves out), and one to use as an office. My office is currently a corner of my living room. I work at home so this is not ideal.
10 - A garage is not just for parking cars. I need the space for my projects. I miss having a garage.
I could go on but I will leave it there. As you can see the benefit of renting is in finding out what I want when I buy a home. And that is how I am going to look at until it is time to get my own place.