As we approach our upcoming move back to the greatest state in the nation this summer (Virginia is for lovers!), my wife’s hints of revisiting home ownership again are getting harder and harder to ignore…
“Wouldn’t it be nice to finally settle down once and for all?” she likes to sneak in…
“Don’t you just hate waiting on people to fix stuff in our house all the time?” A problem we’ve been having a lot recently for some reason…
“How nice would it be to have the kids grow up with the same friends and go to the same schools and feel like they have a real “home” to come home to every day?” Well how can you argue with that??!
And then her favorite line which I never have a good rebuttal for – “Remember that time when we got kicked out of our place when I was 7 months pregnant??”
Haha… “YES! But what about all our *freedom* we have right now?? And not having to worry about all that plumbing and flooding and everything else that happens when you own a home? And don’t you just love being completely 100% DEBT-FREE like we are?? How beautiful is that?” I try retorting back… While throwing in a “and what are the odds we’re going to have another baby again anyways?” for good measure :)
*Knocks on wood*
But no matter what I throw back to her recently, she just smiles and nods as if humoring me, and then ultimately responds with something along the lines of, “All of those things are nice too, but I’m ready to have a home again. I think it’s finally time.”
And seeing how this will now make our 6th different home in 7 years, perhaps there’s some merit to this. Especially as she’s used to growing up in one consistent house her whole life, unlike me who comes from a military household.
So now, after 6 years of blissfully renting and being its #1 fanboy, I have to reconsider my
marriage views on things and come to terms with the idea of possibly – just possibly – being a homeowner again. As much as it kills me to say that…
But after a multitude of walks trying to wrap my head around it so far and heavy contemplating, I’ve come to a few realizations that’s helped me keep some sort of inner peace.
#1. It’s no longer just about *me* and what *I* want anymore. Yes owning is not my preference, but if it’s in my family’s best interest and truly makes my wife happy, can I really stand in its way? (And would I really stand in its way?!)
#2. I’m a much different person than I was 10+ years ago when we first bought a house. I now know very much what I like, and what I don’t, and even more importantly than that – my overall view on life has expanded too. I’d have to think I’d be much wiser about making decisions when it comes to owning again than I was a decade ago, right?
#3. Our finances are a lot different nowadays than it was back then too! We couldn’t even afford a down payment the last round, and now we could probably put down 50% if we had to. On top of that, our careers are much more stable and generates more income than they were back then too.
(Fun Fact: when we bought in 2007 we put 0% down and bought a house at the max of what we were approved for!! We didn’t even have a budget!!)
(Fun Fact #2: not having a budget was what actually got me stumbling onto the blogging world when I googled, “how to budget”, haha… And now here we are 11 years later!)
#4. There really are a lot of pros to owning a home if done right. Maybe instead of focusing on all the negatives as I do, I’ll find just as many – if not more – positives to owning a home? There’s no way it’s that bad if people have been doing it for centuries after centuries, right?!
#5. It sure would be nice not having to make rent/mortgage payments ever again! Since of course we’d have to try and pay it down as fast as possible similar to our first go at it ;) Any one here remember the days of the $2,000 a month Mortgage Killer Plan??
(And note that I said “rent/mortgage payments” vs “no payments at all”, since you’ll ALWAYS have some costs to cover whether it’s maintenance, property tax, HOAs, etc. Something people like to forget when doing rent vs buy comparisons.)
#6. I haven’t had a good mission in quite some time now… And I’ll admit I do much better shooting for something than when I don’t!
#7. It would probably be smart to diversify a little more. VS having a majority of our assets all tied to the markets like we do now.
#8. And lastly, when I put things in more perspective – owning a home isn’t the complete end of the world… I know I like to get dramatic up in here and say my piece, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 39 years it’s that you can ALWAYS find a way to be content no matter what’s going on in life. So long as you’re *open* to it and give it some valiant effort.
So that’s what I’ve promised my wife here at the end of all this – to remain open and *positive* throughout the next few months of hunting – and if it turns out we don’t find the right house at the right price at the right time, well, at least it won’t be ME who stood in our way, and we can go back to renting for a while longer until we do find that place.
Something my wife has also agreed to on, and she even pinky swore on it so you know it’s legit ;)
We’ll see how it goes, but for now wish us luck and that I don’t have a Freak Out Fest any time soon!! It’s only the most expensive decision you can ever make in your lifetime!! Haha…
I’ll keep you posted as we go along, and in the meantime I’ll gladly welcome any advice you may have :)
Ironically, I just emailed ownership advice to someone here recently, and after reviewing it again I can’t say it made me feel any better:
- Make sure you really REALLY want to buy a home! (There’s nothing wrong with renting)
- Make sure you’re going to live in it at least for 5-7 years
- Don’t buy anywhere close to the amount you’re approved for (banks always want you to spend more and they don’t know your budget/lifestyle)
- Be ready/okay with making repairs/upgrades
- And realize a home isn’t an investment, but rather a place where you live.
I can cross off a couple from the list confidently (#2 and #3), but it’s the rest of it that scares me!
UPDATE: We bought a house!!!
PS: If you’re new to the site and couldn’t tell, I very much love being a renter :) And if you’re bored one day you can see the progression of how that came to be over time by checking out these 11 pages of archives tagged “home ownership.” But in a nutshell: we tried home ownership a while ago and didn’t enjoy it, so we turned it into a rental property a few years later and enjoyed that even less!, then we went back to renting again and I’ve been in heaven ever since, haha… Although apparently not my wife anymore, even though I swear she was right there with me until recently!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!