This is the one question I’m always asked when people discover I’m 35 years old, I’ve been dating BF for 16 years and we still rent an apartment. Well it’s the one question people ask after they’ve inquired on why we’re not married and why we don’t have kids.
Do you rent or own your home?
The truth is we like renting, so why should we buy a house? That’s always been my mentality towards homeownership. However if I would have bought a home when I moved out at 19 instead of renting an apartment my house would be paid off by now…literally.
Buying a house is a really big commitment and it’s also a big decision for a couple. BF and I like the carefree lifestyle of renting. We get to make the space our own without having the hassle of the upkeep and unexpected expenses. I think it’s a win-win.
I think we want a house
That being said as we get older the idea of owning a house keeps popping into my mind. The main reason is because I think it would be nice to open a sliding door and walk out into a backyard. The other reason is because even though our apartment is big (1100 sq ft) it’s all on one floor and therefore I hear Nick watching movies or listening to sports etc. I just think it might be nice for him to have a soundproof man cave in the basement.
So why don’t we just do it? We should just take the plunge, man up and buy a house. My sister has already bought two houses and she’s two years younger than me. Everyone says that buying a house is such a financial burden; in the same sentence they also reassure me that the struggle is well worth the benefit. Given our current living situation I honestly don’t think that owning a home will be much different financially than renting our apartment.
Are we ready?
BF and I currently pay $1500 in rent every month. If we were to apply for a mortgage loan I can guarantee our monthly payments will be cheaper than our rent. Of course we have to add on property taxes and the cost of insurance, but even at that our total monthly expenses will be cheaper.
I think the biggest shock for renters when they buy a home is the fact that they now have to factor in multiple monthly bills for utilities. BF and I always paid all inclusive rent, until we moved last October. We now pay for hydro which includes both electricity and hot water so that won’t change if we buy a house.
Then there’s the upkeep. This will be something completely new for us. We don’t have to worry about cutting grass, shoveling snow, watering the flowers or any other chores that come with owning a home. We also don’t have any of the appliances, gadgets and furnishings that come with having a backyard such as a lawn mower, patio furniture or a snow blower. So theses will all be additional costs.
What do you think, are we ready to buy a home?
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Oh, the “joys” of owning a home. I think you sound ready-ish to own a home; I certianly don’t know how you have stood to be a renter for so long. I like having a place that is quieter. You do seem like you understand the pros and cons of owning a home, but I’m here to tell you there are always more costs than what you have considered.
I have heard it said that you should budget 10% of your mortgage payment for upkeep and repairs. I think this is OK if you are getting a house that is less than 5 years old. Anything older than that, I think you should plan to increase that in the beginning, and then drop if later if you find that the house really is pretty solid. Things will break that you’ll never anticipate – appliance replacements are EXPENSIVE. I also find that I tend to want to spend money on a house, trying to make it a “home”, that I never really get tempted to spend in an apartment. There’s the paint, the curtains, all that. It can add up.
Basically, I’d advocate going for a cheaper home than you can easily afford. When you get ready to start looking – never tell the real estate agent the true maximum of what your budget can afford. They work on commission and want to get you to purchase as much as possible. They will always show you properties a little above the range you give them, reasoning that “you can negotiate them down”, but it’s really about their commission. Back to the point, keep that figure a little low so that you have room for all those unknowns.
I think if you can commit to have a good amount of “Oh shit the plumbing needs some major work” money in savings and don’t plan to move around a bunch that buying is a great decision. I was 23 when my (almost at the time) husband and I bought ours and we’ve been in it 6.5 years. I still haven’t overhauled my yellow Formica and knotty pine kitchen YET but it’s been a good experience. We plan to stay in our house forever (not having kids and we bought a 1 story ranch so stairs won’t be an issue as we get old) so that makes me feel better as selling a house seems like a huge hassle I never want to deal with!
But if you’re gonna buy try to do it before the feds raise the rates, these are some of the best we’ll EVER see in our lives!