“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.
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.
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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