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My Sister Just Bought a House… Yay?

by J. Money on Thursday, March 24, 2011

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I know I should be happy for her right now, but the first thought that came to my mind was “Nooooooooooooo!!!! Get out and run for the hills!!” haha… and then I threw up a little in my mouth. J/K, but I would have had we been switched ;)

If you haven’t guessed it already (or this is your first time on my blog), I’m not the biggest fan of home ownership right now. Or more accurately stated – I don’t believe owning a home is for *everyone*. It’s for a lot of people, and probably a ton more than it’s not for, but I think too many people get caught up in the idea of it all and jump right in before really considering it (*ahem* story of my life 4 years ago). I’m not saying my sister is doing that right now, but it does make me a little worried – esp considering she has the travel bug as much, if not worse, than I do. And that’s saying something!

6 months ago she was planning to travel around the world with her adorable little boy. She’d have a home base in Europe or South America somewhere (she couldn’t decide at the time), and would go off on little adventures here and there outside of work on the weekends (her plan was to get her employer to xfer her for 1-2 years). Again, not for everyone, but it goes to show the adventurous spirit my darling little sister has. Which we all blame on our military father ;) 3 years in one spot? Hah!

So as you can imagine, I was pretty shocked when all of a sudden she put in an offer to buy a home fairly close to my parents. Which again went against her vision, haha… That being said, it could also mean that she may be growing up? She knows she has her family as a support system near by (which is great for the wee one), and she DEF knows how affordable homes are these days – esp in the area she’s now gonna live at. This decent sized house was literally a good $100-$150k MORE just 2 years ago! How insane is that? So the fact she can now afford something her and the nephew can grow up in and expand as a family, is pretty damn good. Plus, as she told me the second I started throwing those red flags out, “she could always rent it out and travel around.” Hmm…

I agree you can always rent houses out and/or sell them whenever you choose to, but the odds that you physically go out of your way to do so, without a major life change hitting you, is somewhat small. At least in my opinion. Not impossible, just not as easy as I think people assume it is. I’ve been saying I’m gonna rent out our townhouse for over a year now! And have I gotten any closer? Anope. And if I were renting and wanted to move somewhere? You think I’d have been there by now? Ayup! Because every year you get to that point where you’re forced to make that decision — Do you renew your lease, or do you move out? You gotta make a move, and there’s a sense of real urgency there. And when you own your own house? Forget about it. Outside from crazy changes, it’s really 100% on YOU to get out there and do something about it. Something I yammer on about all day long, but know very damn well it’s even hard for me to do at times. Esp when it comes to our dang freakin’ house. I miss my freedom!

Wow, this post is starting to get long, haha….(that’s what she said). My point to everything here is this: Home ownership is not for everyone. It’s for a lot of people, but not for every last one of us Americans – and I point out our country not cuz it’s different in other cultures, but just that here we literally sell it as the “American Dream” and it’s very important to take a step back and REALLY ask yourself if it’s YOUR dream. Not society’s dream, or your parents’ dream, or even your wallet’s dream. YOUR dream. Just because something’s financially smart, doesn’t mean it’s right. A house purchase is the biggest purchase you’ll ever make in your life – make sure you truly want it!

At the end of the day though, even if I don’t understand it completely, I’m gonna give my little sis the benefit of the doubt and support her as best I can. I’ve now said my piece and it’s not like she’s gonna change her mind anyways! haha… we’re all gonna do what we wanna do, right? At least she was smart enough to have tons of money saved up. 2 years of living at home can do WONDERS for your financial situation ;) I would gladly move back into my old room for a couple of years if I could! Haha… that’s all sorts of minimalism! (don’t tell my wife though)

So, sister, if you happen to be reading this right now, I love you. I support you. And I wish you nothing but happiness! Honestly, truly. It may scare the bejesus outta me still, but more power to you if you can rock it out :) If you need anything at all let us know!

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(Emoticons by somegeekintn)


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauryn March 24, 2011 at 8:23 am

I’m leaning toward nomadic lifestyle practices, but if it’s close to “home” then I guess it can’t be too bad!

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2 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com March 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

I look into buying a house every year. I usually takes about 15 minutes and then I realize it would be stupid and I’ll be renting again next year.

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3 T. Penny March 24, 2011 at 9:40 am

What a strange family! :P

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4 Trinnie March 24, 2011 at 9:44 am

awww what a good brother, carin’ for your sis! You’re right…home buying isn’t for everyone. We bought our house almost 5 yrs ago and between the husband and I…I was the more freaked out…I was 26 and buying a house?!??!?!

Fortunately, here in CO Springs, it was the best option for us. We bought our house less than 5 miles away from the Army post, so home sales and values have definitely maintained in our area….

It’s still such a grown-up decision that I question everyday!

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5 Jon the Saver March 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

What a good brother J! Screw the American dream, there I said it haha. The freaking American dream is a fraud. Like seriously, it’s all about spending as much as you can, buying boats and fancy cars that you clearly can’t afford and buying too big of a house with rooms you’ll never set foot in. No thanks! live in San Diego, so buying a house is extremely stupid. Average price houses here are around 600k while I pay a measly $700/month for a 3 bedroom house with one other roommate. Do that math on that one!

Wow, look at me rant… I guess it all depends on your circumstances. Sounds like your sister was ready to take the plunge. Good for her for living at home for two years, I did that for four years in college :) My wallet is still thanking me today.

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6 Matt Herman March 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

This is a little different view, but I think buying a house is good for everyone if they can keep their budget in mind and not fall in love with the idea of owning the biggest and best house, especially for their first house.

My wife and I bought our house 7 years ago, the sale price was less than half of what the bank pre-approved us for (this was our sign that the housing market was crazy), it is now worth about 50% more than we bought it for (based on an appraisal from last year). The truth is the bank does own the own the house, but we have refinanced 3 times and put ourselves in the position where we will own it 14 years. At that point we can stop paying our mortgage and start paying for our kid’s college, so she (maybe they by then) can enter her/their adult life without a lot of debt.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t always make the best financial decisions, but I do think the decision to buy a house was one of the best I have made.

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7 retirebyforty March 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I think now is a great time to buy a house. IMO, the housing market is almost at the bottom and it can only go up from here.
I know a couple that went off to live in Italy for a year. The guy convinced the boss to let him work remotely and the wife took a year off. They had a great time and was able to rent their townhouse off to a NFL player…. I guess he was a bench warmer, but still .. an NFL player???

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8 J. Money March 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

@Lauryn – I’m leaning that route too, although not sure if the wife is totally on board ;) She loves adventures but not a fan of moving a couple times a year.
@Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – Haha, at least you’re good at knowing what you want! I actually look around too just for fun, but there’s really no way that’s happpening again anytime soon. Not against it if I KNEW I’d be settling down for 5-10 years though.
@T. Penny – Esp my brother!
@Trinnie – Hehe yeah – but you guys knew you’d be living there for a while, right? Or no? I’m totally cool w/ ownership if you wanna be settled and/or don’t mind doing home repairs – a whole OTHER ballgame I forgot to mention! D’oh.
@Jon the Saver – Oh how I want to move to San Diego!!! Cali is next on our list, so when we eventually make it I’ll give ya a shout :) Although the Mrs. really likes LA, so we’ll se where we end up landing.
@Matt Herman – No doubt about it – financially speaking owning a home can really do wonders. I’m all for that, esp on a deal! (and I’m glad you all got hooked up too, that’s awesome yo!) My main concern is that some people don’t understand that it really IS a huge commitment. If you don’t like to stay under one roof for 5+ years, maybe even 7+, then it may not be a good idea to buy – that’s all. Well, that and making sure you have the money to fix things up and maintain it, which your budgeting comment alluded to. If you have the money AND you want to lay down roots? Great! Just don’t try and convince yourself you can change based on a smart financial “investment.” There’s more to it than just the money.
@retirebyforty – Hahhahahaha that is AWESOME!!!! Do they want to come join the Redskins and rent out OUR place? :)

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9 Serendipity March 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I think a lot of people have the notion that you HAVE to buy a house to be responsible and it is a good investment. Buying a house isn’t always a good investment. I live in Las Vegas which has been hit insanely hard by the economy and I cringe when I see all of the foreclosure notices. A lot of people did stupid financing and bought homes because they thought it was good investment. Even people who didn’t do stupid financing still have lost so much because houses here are worth crap now. It just goes to show that owning a home isn’t for everyone. For myself, I like the idea of being able to leave when I want. I like that.

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10 Justin @ MoneyIsTheRoot March 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I just bought a house last year and Im still seeing the values drop all around me. The shortsales and foreclosures arent in as good a shape as my house was when I purchased it, but their values as comparables dont reflect that!

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11 Craig March 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm

It’s scary to think that some people just haven’t learned from the past few years. If you’re able, though, it seems like this is the best time to become a homeowner. Just don’t make the mistake of buying too much for your budget.

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12 Kim @ Say What?! March 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Home ownership definitely isn’t for everyone. I can see why you’re worried. For me, home ownership was something I dreamed of for years and worked really hard to research and make it happen. But others, who claim to be so envious, make no steps toward financial responsibility, or just simply can’t stay in one place for long enough to make it believable. I hope your sis truly did think it out and it ends up being a decision she can live with.

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13 StackingCash March 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Wow, your aversion to home ownership is identical to my aversion to the stock market and anything related to it, like 401k’s and Roth IRA’s. It really comes from getting burned from the choices we made regarding the two. My home is my financial foundation whereas your 401k is yours. I bet you wonder how I can say my home can be compared to your 401k especially since I live in the devastated Las Vegas market. Well the first key was that it was affordable to me to the point where I was able to pay it off quickly. It is also located in a decent neighborhood. My rent now consists of just property tax and insurance which runs about $250/month. Short of a cataclysmic event, I do believe my home ownership aids in my financial security.

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14 Braden Jageman March 25, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I totally agree. I’ve been renting my whole life and don’t plan to stop! I often find that when I travel I end up spending less per month than I would have paying rent or a mortgage. My parents are even taking the hint and once they find a sucker to buy their house they’re spending the leftover cash to explore the world and just pay rent.

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15 Momma Star March 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I’m with you on the whole house buying ordeal. It’s def not for everyone including myself in the time being. I do have a long term goal to one day save enough money for a down payment on a home but I have a feeling once that time comes around I will not be able to make the leap. The math I’ve done with home ownership doesn’t out way renting. You can say I’m not a fan of home ownership right now. :)

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16 Edwin @ Cash The Checks March 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Buying a house isn’t for everyone. I bought one and for me the main reason was that I didn’t want to be paying for rent when I’m 70+ years old. It’s right for a long-term approach but with the market the way it is now renting is looking like a good idea.

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17 J. Money March 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Hey guys — sorry for the delay in responding, just got back from Dallas over the weekend :) Had Love Drop #3, baby!!

Here are some responses:

@Serendipity – Yep. There are other ways to “invest” too than a home (If you can even call that an investment? I’m still on the fence with that one). For those who don’t think home ownership is for them, but wants to put money into something, there are a TON of investment vehicles that could add up over time and do just as well!
@Justin @ MoneyIsTheRoot – I know, that sucks right? Have a few near us too – pretty sick.
@Craig – Right. If home ownership IS for you, and you have the money to really rock it out, then it’s DEF a hell of a great time to buy – no doubt about it.
@Kim @ Say What?! – Me too :) She’s a smart cookie, so I’m sure she’ll be really happy with the decision. I’m just playing the role of devil’s advocate to get the ol’ brain juice flowing.
@StackingCash – Nice! That is awesome!!! And yes, def. interesting that 401ks to you are like homes to me, haha… Although for me – even though we DID get burned by the turn of the economy – it’s more about feeling “stuck” than losing a crap ton of money. Even if our house was worth the same, or a lot more, I’d still be freakin’ out ;) Except then I’d have sold by now! haha… but yeah, totally get what you’re saying. I like that we’re all different :)
@Braden Jageman – Awesome!!! That’s a dream for me — traveling the world and not having any huge attachments to worry about. Good for you and the fam :)
@Momma Star – Haha, yeah. Ya neve know though – sometimes the people that come into your life change your views on stuff like that. I often wonder how I’ll feel about it all if/when we ever start having kids :) As long a you do what you think is BEST at the time, you’ll totally be okay though. If you and I are both still online by that point, let me know what you decided, haha…
@Edwin @ Cash The Checks – For sure, home ownership can def. be great in the long term if it fits your personality.

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