NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — The Great Recession came and went, and so did the Great American Real Estate Crash. Homes were lost, and so was people's confidence in homeownership. We were amazed by the heated debate spawned by an article we wrote about Millennials who aren't interested in homeownership.

To continue our exploration of the changing face of the American Dream, we explored another recent trend — homeowners who sell their abodes and choose to rent. Some ex-homeowners were happy to make the switch, while others did so under duress. No one person's story was exactly alike.

Here are the real reasons everyday Americans consider selling their homes and becoming renters by choice:

Cutting Your Losses

Britt Reints was preparing to travel for about a year, so she spoke to real estate agents about selling her home or renting it while she was away.

"Once we found out it would take about ten years for us to even get back to even, we decided to cut our losses and short-sell the house," she says. "That obviously ruined our credit, but it also made us leery of purchasing again until we're certain we want to live in one place for at least 15 years. The idea that paying a mortgage is just like paying rent—but better—is no longer something we can just assume."

Change in Living Situation

One major reason to change up your housing situation is that your living situation is changing, too. Norm Bour made the decision to sell his home after his wife and he divorced. His house was marginally upside-down, but he worked on a loan modification for many, many months, so the divorce made the exit a practical solution, he says.

"It was just my wife and I, and cats, and lots of 'stuff,'" he says. After transitioning to renting, he shed all the excess and streamlined his possessions.

Similarly, Gayle Carson decided to sell her home after her husband passed away five years ago.

"I thought I would stay, but a home of 6,000 square feet for one person is a little costly and too big," she says. She moved closer to her son and hasn't regretted the decision.

"I am now renting an apartment and loving it," she said. "No responsibility and a lot of security and amenities."

Can't Sell Because of the Market

Tony Macrito, a 30-year-old PR manager in the suburbs of Chicago, bought a townhouse in 2006 with the intention of living in it for no more than a couple years and using any equity to buy a single-family home. But like so many other Americans, the property values in his area dropped to about half what he initially paid. He later changed jobs to a new location with a longer commute, so he moved out and rented a different place—without selling his townhouse.