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Downright Un-American: I may never be a homeowner

July 20, 2011

Unlike about 90% of the people my age that I know, I don’t have any immediate hopes/dreams/plans of buying a house.  It almost makes me feel un-American sometimes, since homeownership seems like SUCH an intregral part of the American Dream.  But I just don’t want to buy a house.

Nay, the idea of buying a house TERRIFIES me.

Maybe it’s because I live in the DC area, and so if I wanted to buy a run-down-fixer-upper-condo, I’d probably be looking at $300-400K? (and shockingly enough, D and I don’t have the requisite $60-80K down payment money just sitting around).  If I wanted to buy a typical single family home with a yard and all that jazz, I’d have to move to the suburbs, which I don’t want to do (no public transport = need to buy second car, plus NO ONE would come visit me because I live so far away, plus I would lose access to all the awesome parts of city life, like restaurants, museums, night life, etc).

I’m also very skeptical of the general wisdom I always heard growing up that “buying property is always a good investment” and “housing values are always going up”– it’s kind of like when I hear people say that buying diamonds is a good investment… I just don’t think that is always the case.  No longer can you count on your house’s value going up, no longer can you count on being able to sell your house if you want to move… all that added uncertainly makes yoking yourself to a 30 year mortgage and a specific location seem pretty scary.

Why else don’t I want to own a home? I like renting.  When things break, I call someone to come fix them and I am responsible for fixing the roof/replacing the pipes/ doing whatever other terrifying things one must fix and pay for when one owns the place.  If I don’t like where I am living anymore, I can move.  If D and I have kids or decide we need a yard or something, we can rent a house…

I guess I just don’t understand the strong urge to own.  I mean, I know almost everyone else I know has this urge to buy a home, I guess not just me.  And according to this article, I guess rental rates are on the rise in general, nation-wide, so maybe I’m not as alone as I thought?.

What about you?  Can you not wait to buy a home?  Are you happy sticking with renting for now?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2011 6:46 pm

    See: why we sadly packed up all of our belongings and moved from Columbia to North Carolina in 2005. We really wanted to own and we don’t mind labor. I’m still sad we had to leave, but we love North Carolina.

    • July 21, 2011 4:07 pm

      I think I would definitely feel differently about the feasibility of home-ownership if I lived in a different area. But I think I love the DC area too much to leave it! Good to hear that NC is nice though!

  2. July 20, 2011 9:26 pm

    And don’t forget condo fees! In addition to that mortgage you would have to pay a high condo fee in DC! You’re not alone – while it would be nice for me to own, I just don’t want to either! If its not in the cards for you in DC, its definitely not in the cards for us in New York! Plus, most of the people in our age group that we know who bought are not happy with their decision!

    • July 21, 2011 4:05 pm

      I feel like condos are the worst sometimes– all the drawbacks of an apartment with very few of the benefits of a house.

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