13 Things I Hate About Being A Homeowner

I bought a house about 4 years ago. People told me that it’s a smart investment. They said I’d get a bigger tax write-off. They told me I’d gain equity. There are days I like being a homeowner. But there are as many days that I hate being a homeowner.

Things I hate about being a homeowner: Photo of front of a charming home. Until October 2013, I’d been a renter. People said I was throwing my money away. Now that I’m a homeowner, I’m not so sure that’s really the case. Homeownership does have its advantages, but there are a lot of problems that come with the territory.

1. Monthly Payment

As a renter, I was always able to spend less per month than I’m currently paying for my mortgage. In fact, my mortgage is about 20% more than any of the rentals I’ve rented. That makes finances tighter than they’ve ever been before. I’ve wound up having to work overtime to keep up with all the expenses.  

2. Water-Sewer-Garbage

Another added expense is the water-sewer-garbage bill. When I rented, this bill was always covered. As a homeowner, I pay an extra $60 to $80 per month. That’s money that I could use to pay down credit card debt. 

3. Yard Work

I don’t mind work. But sometimes the yard work seems endless. There’s landscaping, mowing, watering, and weeding in the summer. Fall brings the nuts and leaves of the walnut trees. Winter includes shoveling snow and scraping ice. It’s constant. I’ve had to buy hundreds of dollars of yard tools, too. 

4. Painting

My house was in fair shape when I bought it. But houses need to be painted every 5-7 years. My house is no exception. I’ll be shelling out several thousand dollars to get the house painted this summer. If I had it to do over, I’d by a brick house with a hip roof.

5. Home Repair

When you’re a homeowner, shit happens. Not including insurance claims, I’ve had to get a new refrigerator, a new dishwasher, a new gas furnace, and a new air-conditioning unit. That’s about $10,000. Granted, I didn’t need a dishwasher, but I figured it would be good for resale. I also didn’t need the furnace, but the old one was from 1956. I decided to update so we wouldn’t wind up freezing in January. 

6. Insurance Claims

In February 2016, we had a wind storm. It damaged part of a fence and part of the roof. Then it rained. The rain damaged two rooms in the house. I was promised by both the insurance company and the contractor that I’d only be paying a $1,000 deductible. After eight slow months of repairs, I wound up paying several thousand dollars out of pocket. 

7. No Tax Write-Off

“You’ll get a tax write-off,” they told me. Guess what? I didn’t get a tax write-off. Why? Because I bought a modest home. I was excited to see my tax accountant, only to discover that my mortgage payment was so small that I still didn’t reach the standard deduction. I guess you have to buy a McMansion to get a tax write-off.

8. Too Much Space

I know that some people love big houses. I don’t. My home is only 1200 square feet, but I dream of a house half that size, maybe a condo. I have more space than I want. I have more storage than I know what to do with. And although I have minimalist tendencies, it’s still easy to start filling up that extra space. That means too much stuff.  

9. Higher Heating Costs

My rentals were always smaller homes or apartments. The heating was always fairly reasonable. It’s still not too bad, but it’s an extra $50-$75 per month. Again, I could use that money for paying down debt or for my daughter’s college fund.   

10. Interest

Think about it. My home cost $140,000. My mortgage payment is a little over $1000 per month. I have a 30-year loan. That means I’ll be paying more than $300,000 by the time I pay off the house. I don’t plan on staying that long, but I’ll need to stay 10 years to make a little cash when I sell.

11. Less Freedom

When I rented, I could take a short trip whenever I wanted. As a homeowner, I need to keep up with the house work. If I leave for a few weeks in the summer my lawn will overgrow. Since buying a home, I feel more tied down. Although my daughter and I still take planned vacations, we take way fewer spontaneous weekend trips.  

12. Neighbors

Fortunately, I have pretty good neighbors. However, there’s a halfway house about nine houses down the street. I get some questionable foot traffic passing by my front yard. When I rented, if I didn’t like something a neighbor was doing, I could either complain to the landlord or move away. It’s not so simple as a homeowner. 

13. Extra Stress

With all the extra expense and extra responsibilities comes extra stress. I think my stress level has nearly doubled since the days of renting a simple two-bedroom apartment back in 2006/2007. Stress is something I’m trying to decrease, not induce.   

Being A Homeowner Isn’t As Great As They Say

Do I regret buying a house? Not really. But I’m not sure I love it either. If all goes well, owning a home will have a payoff. I hope to sell my house when my daughter goes off to college in about eight years. I might have enough equity to buy a small condo in a lower-cost-of-living region. That would make it all worthwhile.

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8 Comments

  1. Your “13 things” hit home with me. Being two retirees with family miles from us, we are left with a modest home that is too big and trying for us. As we get older, homeownership is financially and physically exhausting; it is nearly impossible to sell since we have been underwater since the financial crisis. It’s not an investment, it’s an albatross around our necks!

    1. I feel that too. But fortunately, our market has been on an upswing and I can see that I could do well to sell my home now or in the future.

  2. I’m with you. Owning a house has not been something I’ve loved. Lots of responsibility with only a little reward. We are getting ready to sell and it is even more nerve wracking. Looking forward to downsizing.

    1. Congrats on getting ready to sell. I’m tempted to sell now because my home has increased about 60K in value in less than four years. But I will likely wait until my daughter goes to college a few years up the road. I just hope the market holds out.

  3. I envy people with small homes for heating/cooling and all sorts of reasons, and I envy those with trailer homes that can just pack up and move whenever they want. But I am grateful…so incredibly grateful that as a sole parent I was able to step off the rental roundabout and buy my own cheap place with the help of the bank. Fast forward 4 years and the value of my average sized home has gone up $200k and I am just about to buy my first investment property! Not bad for a sole parent who was left with a tiny baby and $43k worth of debt at the end of a horrid divorce 8 years ago. I look forward to retirement (plenty of years to go yet lol) where I will sell both properties, buy a tiny apartment to stay in when I’m not off travelling the world somewhere. 🙂

    1. We are in almost the exact same situation. I’m a single parent who bought a moderate home that has increased 30% in value in the past 4 years. I think we might be setting ourselves up for being able to downsize and live much smaller in the future. Keep it up!

  4. We’re enjoying our townhouse, which avoids many of the issues you bring up, and for us, it is quite a bit cheaper than renting.

    No yardwork, no exterior painting or repairs, not too much space (1250 square feet), cheap heating/cooling because we’re an interior unit (windows on only 2 sides of the building).

    We do get the tax write-off, with nothing close to a McMansion, so I guess it depends on prices and property taxes where you live. Our townhouse is “starter home” quality, nothing fancy.

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