One of my 2009 goals was to get on the path to homeownership and possibly own a home by the end of 2010 or the start of 2011. I've decided against that into the foreseeable future. Right now, I don't want to own a home.
As I think about goals for the rest of the year and the radical decisions I'll make that will likely affect me for years to come, I looked at some of my financial goals from 2009, which included getting on the path of homeownership.
So, I seriously considered it. I read a book about it. I looked at home prices in areas I was interested in living in. And then I dropped the whole thing.
What stopped me? The thought of putting down 20% of anything from $180,000 for a serious fixer upper to $400,000 or more for something as simple as a condo in downtown D.C.! If I managed to save $36,000 or twice that in cash, I couldn't imagine myself dropping it all at once and certainly not on something that would have me in debt for the next 30 years. I examined the reasons homeownership was a goal for me in the first place:
- It seemed like the grown up thing to do.
- I liked the idea of having something that was mine -- that I really owned.
- I visualized inviting friends over for dinner parties, decorating the way I wanted to, having my little cousins stay over on weekends, hosting visiting family and friends for tourist weekends, hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time and for years to come.
- I'm an independent sister who wanted to do it for herself!
None of those, not one of them, was a good enough reason to commit to the expense and responsibility of owning a home. What if I wanted to change jobs, careers, and had to move? What if I just wanted to move for the hell of it? I'd have to sell the house or hope to get renters that would essentially pay the mortgage. Easier said than done. I also have no interest in being a landlord anyway.
And the paperwork! I got nauseous filling out all the paperwork it took to buy my car! That's squat compared to homeownership. The taxes. The repairs. The upkeep. I clean my floors with a Swiffer, which is to say that I don't really clean my floors at all.
After I decided that I wasn't going to work on buying a home in the next year or so, I actually felt relieved! Just the work it would take to find the right place and buy it seemed like more of a burden than I cared to take on.
I may not always feel this way. At some point, it might become really important to me to own my own place. Maybe. But not now.
I can also find fulfillment and accomplishment in plenty of other places. I can also save and invest my money for a future that is becoming clearer to me little by little.
Those of you considering buying a home, why do you want to?
Those of you who want to stay renters, why would you continue to rent?
I'd love to read your thoughts.