And yet…I recently started seriously looking for a house to buy.
I mean, I applied for a loan. I received my pre-approval letter. I talked through options with a real estate agent. I even went to walk through a lovely property on a not-so-lovely street.
I check realtor.com everyday. I’m not excited about many of the options that are available right now. While I wait for something appealing to appear, I read your articles about how the house you live in is not a good investment. No matter what the articles say, I always land in the same camp.
I want to own a home.
The costs of home ownership are many, but I’m not afraid of them. I grew up with a father who always had a project house – or was always working on a project in our house. I’ve demolished and drywalled and sanded and painted…
But I know there’s more to it than that.
There’s plumbing and electricity. There’s taxes and insurance.
It adds up. But I want to pay it.
I want to pay for it because I want my own space. I’ve lived with a roommate for a while now, and although it has been really nice on my wallet, it is starting to wear on my spirit. I want my own space so that I can create new routines – which is hard to do around someone who has their own. I want my own space so I can surround myself with my stuff – not a lot of it, but art and books and the style of sofa that makes me the most comfortable. I want to be able to host small dinner parties for my friends. I want my own kitchen so I can batch cook on Sundays. I want a house so I can clean when I want to and not when the chore schedule says that it’s time.
Yes, I could do that in an apartment. But, then we run into the dog problem.
I want a house so I don’t have to do the pet deposit dance. I have two dogs, and that makes renting hard. Landlords don’t usually like two dogs. When I first moved to my current city, I looked at and/or called about approximately 200 apartments. A few that allowed pets, in my desired area, were just too big. A few were way outside the city. A few were way outside anyone’s idea of a reasonable price range. I want a house so my dog’s have a yard and we can all relax because I’m the landlord and I want them there.
I want a house so I have a permanent address. I haven’t renewed my passport for several years. It expired the year I moved out of my last house, and since I’ve been renting, I don’t want to put a rental address on my passport. I understand that I could put a rental address on my passport. I do. But I want MY HOME’s address on the thing.
I want a house so I have a place to travel from and bring souvenirs home to. I think of it as having a home base. Years ago, when I was teaching at an out-of-state summer camp, one of my roommates said something like, “I am never doing this again.” She missed her home. She was taking time out from a life she loved. Besides my one dog, at the time, I didn’t have much to return to. Now, I do. I have friends and a job and a life here. Although I want to travel, I want to be able to get off the plane and feel like I can’t wait to get home. Again, I know that doesn’t have to be a HOUSE, but I want it to be.
I want a house so I don’t have to share walls with other renters. The last time I shared a wall in an apartment building, everything I owned ended up smelling like cigarette smoke. They even smoked in the bathroom, so sometimes, after a shower, I smelled like a wet cigarette.
I want a house so I can host friends from out of town. It would be nice to have them stay in a place I’ve crafted into a home, and not in the spare room of my roommate’s house. It’s hard to be hospitable – in your very best way – when you’re extending hospitality in someone else’s space, on someone else’s furniture. Nothing in my current space really reflects my own choices – besides the one where I wanted to save a ton of money and live in this same neighborhood.
But it’s time for different choices. It’s time for choices that put the artwork I’ve selected front and center.
I want a house, but I don’t necessarily want a mortgage. I will be eager to pay it off as quickly as I can.
Then, I can cross “own a home outright” off my list of dreams.
And those are the reasons why I want to own a house.
What about you? Renter or owner? Why?