$ Let’s Talk Money – Part 4: Rent v.s. Buy

I wanted to record this for two reasons: 1) so I can look back years from now and reminisce about our priorities and what we were thinking at 23/24 years old and 2) I think there are some people out there that probably agree with a few points I’m about to make but haven’t ever said it aloud, because this thought pattern is so not the norm

So, here are our thoughts on buying a house (now or ever).

Now

There’s just no way.

I don’t care what kind of rationalizations people have tried to push on us:

“but you’re married now, next is a home, then a kid, and, you’ll need more space!”

or

“but it’s crazy to be still renting now, with the affordable housing, and low rates!”

or

“[dumbfounded stare] but, but, it’s the American dream; how un-American!”

Haha, okay that last one’s a joke, but you get my drift.

The pressure to buy comes from everywhere – friends, family, media, and, yes, our nation’s social norms too. And even with the ups and downs of the housing market and economy – the American dream of homeownership is still alive and well among consumers.

But we’re not going for it.

No way.

Why? Well…

1) We wouldn’t feel comfortable taking on more debt until our current debt is paid off. It would make us uneasy+ anxious and leave us feeling financially irresponsible. Plus, we want to maintain as little debt as possible once we’ve paid off the student loans so rushing into another huge investment (like buying a house) just doesn’t align with that goal right now.

2) We’re at the age where we want to put our time and money toward other things first, like a new car to replace our ’98 Lumina or a travel fund so we can visit faraway friends and family – or jet off to Ireland, Greece, Hawaii

3) Along with the above comment – right now we spend a lot of time out of our dwelling, so even if we had a home right now we either wouldn’t be around enough to enjoy it or would really resent it for tying us down + sucking up all our time/money/energy for projects & upkeep

4) Although we feel secure in our current positions, the job market still isn’t that hot so we like the ease of mobility & flexibility that renting allows us should we ever need to move somewhere to be close to new employment

5) Being new to MN, we don’t know yet what neighborhoods or areas of the Twin Cities we like best and renting is a great way to test this out. Plus, the areas that we enjoy in our 20s may not be the same areas we’d chose to live in later in the life or be the best place for when we have a kids that need to go to school.

Ever

Sure, we might think/consider/even buy a condo or townhouse one day in the far off future. But we can also see a future in which we are renters forever.

Why? Well…

1) Sometimes it’s nice for the responsibility of ownership to be in someone else’s court. We don’t have to worry about taking care of taxes, making repairs, or even paying for certain utilities. Call us lazy if you’d like but neither Mr.C nor I are thrilled about having to mow the lawn or pay for a new roof or heater.

2) Would our house have a pool, gym, and playground? I highly doubt it. The perks and amenities we get while renting are something we really enjoy.

3) We aren’t sure how we feel about the “homeownership is an investment” argument yet. Homeownership keeps wavering between being a liability and an ambition. If we could be reasonably certain the value would up over time then yes it’d be a good deal. But we’re also open to the idea of paying extra money in rent throughout our lifetime for the many benefits we feel we get as renters. To us the convenience is worth it.

4) Homeownership may be a still be part of the American Dream, but not our dream – and that only became more apparent once we moved. Growing up in a tiny town where everyone owns a home (or at least has a mortgage), it just seemed like a way life; the next step. Plus, societal norms drill it into your head that being a homeowner is the adult thing to do and you can’t be possibly happy unless you are one. Well, once we moved to the city, we realized that simply isn’t the truth and that can live a great life, be comfort and happy, raise a family, and grow old all within the walls of a 2 bedroom apartment. We aren’t the type to yearn for a background garden or a garage we can tinker in. We’d rather have cash in the bank than thousands of dollars in home improvements to boast about. We don’t ever want to buy a house because we’re supposed to. We want to buy one because we want to.

5) We like to live simply and sensibly and being renters does that for us. It’s not for everybody, but it is for us.

All in all, buying a house is a very personal choice. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

There are so many other considerations to take into account that you can’t focus on the market and current interest rates or what you’re Aunt Dotty has to say. It’s all about what makes sense for you!

And, as I’ve realized from all the reading I’ve done and people I’ve talked to, there are times when it does make sense to buy and I think Man v.s Debt sums it up quite well:

It makes sense to buy if...

If you plan to live in an area 5-10 years minimum.

If you are debt-free (before the mortgage).

And if your TOTAL housing costs are less than 25% of your take-home income.

Big one coming: YOU actually want to buy!

~

But no matter what your opinions are on this rent v.s. buy debate or whether you own a home already, are renting, hop from couch to couch, or are jet setting around the globe – I hope you’re all happy and healthy and living the life you like!

Home is where you make it. 

xo, meg

P.S. Here is a link to a great buy v.s. rent calculator. It obviously doesn’t take into account personal reasons/considerations that go into such a decisions – but it does break down everything based on your location, common fees, rate of return on investments, tax brackets, etc.

P.S.S. Here is a fun little infographic that illustrates the pros & cons of to rent v.s. buy.

P.S.S.S. We’re still plugging away at the student loan – now down to $36,676.45!

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2 thoughts on “$ Let’s Talk Money – Part 4: Rent v.s. Buy

  1. We’re in the exact same boat! We would like to buy a house eventually, but it’s way, wayy down the road for us. We’re working on being debt-free as well, and still have another at least 5 years before that happens. So we’re just enjoying the mobility that renting affords us at the moment :)

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