Home ownership seems to be on the minds of some of my bloggy friends, so I thought I’d weigh in on the topic.
I love browsing for homes. I check MLS daily, and I day dream about this perfect house or that perfect neighbourhood. I think about what’s important to me in a home, and what isn’t. I do all of this, but I’m in no way ready to own a home.
I guess I’ll blame it on my impatience, how I’m forever looking to the future and imagining what this will be like, or that. When I was in University, I couldn’t wait to graduate. Now that I’m out, I can’t wait to get out of debt. So, naturally, I also can’t wait to become a home owner.
Except that I’m going to wait, a good long time. Here’s why:
I’m Not Financially Ready to Own a Home
In my ideal life, I’d graduate from school and become a home owner within a few years. My house would be small but new and clean, and we’d all live happily ever after. In my alternate life, I’ve got a ton of debt to pay off. Now, I know that being debt free isn’t a requirement to be a home-owner There are lots of them out there carrying massive amounts of student or consumer debt. My problem is, I’m very risk averse. My minimum debt payments right now are about 25% of my take home pay. Adding a house payment to that mix, even with the fiance’s income, would jack up our minimum debt payments higher than I’m comfortable with in this job market.
So, I’d like to become debt free first. I’ll just feel more secure knowing that all we have to worry about if one of us loses our job, is making the house payment, not the house payment plus my student loans plus the car payment. Being debt free will also give us a chance to get a better mortgage rate and more leverage when it comes tocomparing rates.
Second of all, I don’t have a down payment. If I put a stop to my ridiculous extra debt payments, I could come up with a nice sized down payment pretty quickly, depending on where I’m looking to buy. But, as long as we’re dreaming here, I’d really like to save a whole 20% down in order to avoid having to pay extra for insurance. I don’t know if I’ll make it that far, but it’s a nice goal to aim for.
I’m Not Secure Enough in My Career to Own a Home
I haven’t even been done my undergrad for two years. I’m not sure that I’m going to stay at this job indefinitely, I’m not even sure I’m going to stay on this career path. Having a house at this point in my life would be a very big commitment to staying where I am. It’s not easy to sell a house, so if we ever wanted to move, the question of what to do with the house couldn’t be ignored.
I’m Not Emotionally Ready to Own a Home
I live in a 400 sq. ft. house, where I’m permanently house sitting for the owner. It’s the perfect situation for my fiancé and I. We get to have all of the benefits of living in a fully detached house, including a yard and gardens, but when something breaks, we can still rely on the home owner to help us fix it. In fact, all throughout my apartment living life, every time something breaks, I can’t help but think “Wow I’m glad I rent.”
Home ownership comes with a lot of responsibility and cost. Fixing things when they break, worrying about when to replace the roof and even fretting over the state of the housing market. As much as I love the idea of buying a fixer upper and going all DIY crazy on it, I really think I need more stability in my life before making that kind of a decision.
The Good News Is…
If I give myself a few years to get out of debt, then a few more years to save up a nice, fat, down payment, I imagine I’ll be pretty damn sick of renting and ready to buy a house. By then, I should feel more ready than I do right now. Right now, buying a house is something fun to dream about, something that I’d like to do some day.
Are you a home owner? When did you feel like you were ready to buy a home? I want to know!