4 Big Reasons I’m Thinking About Selling My Home

“It will be great,” they said. Owning your own home builds equity and gives you more security. You’ll have the pride and freedom of being a homeowner. You’ll have a place to call your own. Okay, now that I”m a homeowner, I’ve got to call BS and I have 4 big reasons.

4 big reasons I'm reconsidering home ownership: Photo of old barn with tree growing through the roof.Is owning your own home simple? I don’t think so. Is owning a home minimalist? Again, I have my doubts. I bought a home about four years ago and I kind of wish I hadn’t. 

My Home Ownership Story

I was a renter for 30 years. I’ve rented apartments, houses, studios, and even trailers. Things weren’t always perfect, but I had a place to live. And I always felt at home. Life was simple. I paid my rent and a few other bills each month and I lived fairly happily.

But people kept telling me I should buy a home. I hesitated. Then I hesitated some more. Finally, at age 50, I did it. I bought a home. Don’t get me wrong, I like my home. I just hate being a homeowner. I don’t think it supports my quest to live more simply and I have 4 big reasons.

4 Big Reasons To Think Twice Before Buying

I know there are pros and cons to homeownership. I know the list could be much longer than 4 reasons on both sides of the debate. But for me, these 4 things are enough to drive me to consider selling my house… soon.

1. You’re Tied To Your Home Like A Ball And Chain

I’ve always enjoyed the freedom of traveling and moving to new places. In the past, I could apply for a job in another town and move without too much hassle. Now, I’d have to deal with trying to sell a house. That sucks. It’s also harder to leave for more than a week or two without hiring a house sitter. I think I’d rather have my independence.  

2. It Costs More And It’s Not Really Yours

As a minimalist, I don’t need much. As a renter, I always chose modest places. I’ve never paid more than $1000 a month for rent. My mortgage is about 40% more than the last place I rented. That creates a lot of financial stress.

“But it’s yours,” people say. Bullshit! It’s the banks. They can take it away for a couple of missed payments. They can put a hold on your insurance-claim checks. The bank can cause you grief in choosing an insurance company or a contractor for repairs. And it will take years to create enough equity for it to be “an investment.”   

3. Things Break And You Have To Pay

In the first three years of homeownership, I’ve replaced the refrigerator, the heater, and the air-conditioner. I had a roof leak that led to a $20,000 insurance claim. I wound up paying about $2,500 on that claim. I’ve spent an average of $4,000 a year in home repairs and updates and the house still needs to be painted and the fence is in disrepair. So on top of my $1,100 mortgage, I’m spending another $400 per month on repairs. That’s $1,500 a month. I could rent a nice apartment in my town for half that amount. 

Knowing that my hot water heater could go out any day or the plumbing could burst does nothing but cause worry and impending financial stress

4. Home Is Not Ownership

This is my biggest reason of my 4 big reasons for reconsidering home ownership. As one who likes to practice minimalism, I also like to feel a sense of detachment to my stuff. If I own things outright, I can detach. If I rent, I can detach. But when I’m financially obligated to make payments for a given number of years, I can’t detach. In fact, a mortgage is like a prison. It’s a payment to death. 

Home is not in the ownership. A home is simply a place to sleep and eat and make memories. I don’t need a mortgage and impending repairs to make a home. I need a few basic comforts and love. That’s all.

Do You Really Want The Burden?

If you’re considering buying a home, I encourage you to think twice. Home ownership is right for some people. If you’re young and you love do-it-yourself projects, you might want to buy a home. But if you want to keep life at it’s simplest, renting could be a better option.

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16 Comments

  1. Interesting take. We bought our first home 14 years ago and when we wanted to travel full time, we rented out our house. Would that be an option for you if you wanted to move elsewhere?

    We also rent our water heater, not sure if this is an option in your town. Where we live the water is very hard so the heaters only last about 8 years, which is why most people rent them in our area.

    For us, home ownership has been fun, we completely renovated our house and enjoyed doing about 90% of the work ourselves and now that renters pay our mortgage there is the possibility of an income stream for us in a few years.

    1. Renting out is always an option and a potential income. I would need pay down the mortgage and refinance to make any monthly profit. That would be a few years down the road.

  2. I tend to agree. I’m currently renting due to relocation, however I’m letting the house i have a mortgage on ( i agree – the bank owns most of it, not me). So I’m on both sides of the equation at the moment. My only concern is what would happen when i retire. Rents in the UK are higher than mortgages and a paid off home will reduce living costs in retirement when income is also significantly reduced. That one reason is what keeps me hanging in there. When i sell my house i will probably buy another in my new location – although smaller this time so i can pay it off quicker!

    1. I think if we can pay something off before we retire it’s an advantage. I lean toward selling my current home in a few (6-10) years and buying something smaller in a lower-cost region than I currently live. Potentially, I should be able to buy something outright at that point.

  3. We owned our last home a little farm place of 31 acres it was beautiful and paid and i loved it out there but to keep it up after we retired we couldn’t have retired at all we both would have had to keep on working to pay ins and light/heating bill and other bills plus upkeep —- well we sold and are now renting a 900 sf apartment at the tone of $175 rent per month so our total monthly expenses are about $500-$600 a month we pay everything except water/sewer/garbage.
    I have always said it isn’t the cutest apartment in town but it is the cheapest.

  4. Hmmmmm excellent points. I’ve only ever co-owned houses, but got out of the mortgages easily because my name wasn’t on them. In general I wasn’t a fan because I’m not big on yardwork or house maintenance. I’m a renter again. I dream about buying a house for my son and me. But you do make great points… I definitely have to consider what it would actually mean for me.

  5. I think there are efficiencies for larger families or for people who do do not desire as much mobility. It’s good that you know what you prefer for yourself, but this decision is complicated and personal. There is exposure to higher rent in the future rather than a paid off property as well.

    1. Agreed. I actually have a love/hate relationship with homeownership. I could see owning something smaller with low maintenance if I could have it paid off outright in the future. That said, I probably won’t sell here until my daughter is on her own in 6-8 years.

  6. Agree with a caveat. We finally left the homeowner status a little over a year ago and I have absolutely loved being a renter. Save for preferring better appliances, the rest is sweet. That said, I can’t see paying this much every month in retirement, so our plan is to buy a couple of rentals and have them paid off so that we can pay our own rent from the money we collect on the rentals.

    1. I rented for 35 years before I bought. Renting was much less stressful. But owning has financial benefits. It’s a conundrum for sure.

  7. Good and bad on both sides of the argument. We have been fortunate enough to have bought early and then moved countries (from London to Australia), which enabled us to totally pay off our mortgage due to the vast difference in real estate prices. But I appreciate that doesn’t happen often. My main barrier to renting again would be that I always have rescue dogs and not all rental properties allow them.

    1. Yeah, I’m seeing future financial benefits of keeping my home, too. I won’t rush to the selling decision, but I can see how selling could provide great benefits when the timing is right.

  8. Your story and others here show there is not one right answer. Each person has to weigh their pros and cons.

    Personally, I enjoy real estate and buying and selling. We’ve been lucky in the market and now have several rentals. For the most part, we have great renters and it provides a additional income stream.

    We also just “bought” a new home for no money down via a VA loan, so we’re also in that traditional large mortgage payment.

    We do love the home and it’s more pragmatic to keep the rentals for long term rather than sell them to pay off the new home as that would be killing the goose that lays the golden egg for a delicious Sunday dinner and no income down the road.

    We also rent our business space, so we are on all sides of the equation, as renters, landlords and homeowners and each has it’s pros and cons.

    To each their own! If I were single, it’s probably be nomadic. As I have a homebody type of family, buying makes sense for us and I get my travel in, but come home.

    1. My brother had rentals for years, but was not the best manager. I’m not sure he ever really made much of a positive income from them. I know I would not want to be responsible for rentals. Perhaps, I could retire and rent out this house and buy something smaller, but that’s the most I would do. For me, I think it comes down to what I’d like to do with my time. I really go back and forth on this topic. Thanks for the input, Cindy!

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