Welcome to the truth about the American Dream.
Yes, everyone tells us becoming a homeowner is what we should want. Buying is good. Renting is bad! But let’s remember, no one knows what is best for us better than ourselves and God. I am here to tell you to block out society and make the best decision for you at this point in your life.
Recently I faced this dilemma. At the tender age of 29, people expected me to purchase a home instead of renewing or signing a lease. At first I was somewhat excited about the thought. The thought of having family and friends over for events, a backyard, etc. was so appealing. Then I did my research and that all changed. I asked myself these 3 questions:
- Can you truly afford a home?
- Are you ready to take on all of those responsibilities on your own?
- Would purchasing a home fit into your current lifestyle?
The answers were no, no…… NO! Sometimes we get so tied up in what society says and what others are doing around us that our reality becomes clouded. Buying a home is a HUGE deal. There is so much more to it than people know. Today I am going to discuss how I came to the conclusion that renting was the best choice for me.
Do The Numbers
How many people have heard “A mortgage payment is less than rent.”…..blah blah BLAH! Yes the “mortgage” may be less than rent but people tend to forget about homeowners insurance and taxes. Yes the “mortgage” may be $700.00, but taxes and insurance may add another $700.00 or more. If you are like me and want a nice home in a safe & clean area with great schools…taxes will be expensive! Then there are utilities, lawn services, security systems, furniture, etc. This should all be taken into account.
First things first… let’s count the coins. I grabbed a piece of paper and began totaling up my monthly income. I listed my current monthly expenses (cellphone, car note, car insurance, debt, etc.) and any projected expenses (homeowners insurance, county/parish taxes, security system, etc). For projected utility costs, I doubled what I currently pay now in an apartment. I added all these costs and subtracted that number from my total monthly income (after taxes are deducted). The remaining balance……. $1,050.00. Now some may think this would be a good monthly balance, but I am here to tell you this is absolutely NOT! Unless you want to eat ramen noodles in a grand home. What’s the purpose of purchasing a home if you cannot afford to furnish it, complete upgrades, fix things that break, and still enjoy life. It must be taken into account that groceries, household items, personal care, etc. will come out of that remaining balance. My greatest concern was not being able to save or invest like I would want. A good savings is important because with home-owning there will ALWAYS be unexpected costs.
Once you purchase a home you are responsible for EVERYTHING! You will no longer be able to call maintenance to fix water leaks, clogged toilets, etc. It will be solely up to you to find a plumber, handyman, contractor, etc. and PAY the costs. As a single female, I decided a home would be too much responsibility for just me. This is why I decided it is best for me to wait until marriage to purchase a home. In my opinion, it is a lot of responsibility for one person.
We all know that purchasing a home is a great investment, but sometimes there are investments that are better suited for different levels of life. Just as you would do with any other type of investment, you should do A LOT of research. How is the current market? Are home values projected to increase or decrease in the next year, 2 years, or 5 years? What current real estate issues are there? It’s also a great idea to see if there are other investments that may be more profitable at a given time.
Will it ever truly be mine?
Many people prefer purchasing a home over renting because of “home-ownership”. The question is, will that home ever truly be yours? When paying a mortgage, yes the home is yours to live in and to do as you please BUT do not forget as long as you have a mortgage payment, that home is not yours. Some may say “well once you pay it off and get the deed it’s yours”. Yes…..and no. The truth is that home is yours under certain terms. Even after a home is paid off, property taxes are still charged based on the value of the home. If taxes become delinquent, you can kiss “your” home goodbye.
I truly believe that purchasing a home is a great investment and something everyone should look forward to, BUT there is a time and place for everything. I have seen so many people bite off more than they can chew when purchasing a home. It is so important to be educated and to be in a position to afford a home. Do not allow social media and society to make you feel as though you must purchase a home and keep up with the Joneses. Everyone’s journey is different. Pushing for something you may not be prepared for will only set you up for failure.
I hope someone finds this information helpful.