Why I May Never Buy A House


Should You Payoff Your MortgageThis article has a fairly sarcastic title. I will one day (hopefully) purchase a house, but as of right now I am certainly in no rush. I have been renting for 3 years now, and have come to truly enjoy the experience, when dealing with a responsible landlord.

First, a little background for why this is a sensitive subject in my world. I went to a high school with a lot of people who seemed like they really enjoyed going to high school. As soon as we graduated, they married people who went to our high school, and then did everything they could to purchase a house near our high school. Besides the amount of responsibility it takes to own a house, most of my friends are still trying to finish up their undergrad degrees, and still earn enough money for their “dream house”.

Maybe home ownership is truly the American Dream, but I am not so sure this is the case. I will list of some of the reasons I enjoy renting so much, even though according to my friends you “are just throwing money down the drain renting instead of buying.”

Home Ownership Is A Lot Of Work And I Am Pretty Lazy

When I first got married, we had an opportunity to rent a house at a significant discount. For a comparable area, the location would have cost upwards of $1,100 dollars and we ended up renting it for less than half that price. I was excited to get the “deal of a lifetime” and quickly accepted the living situation. What I quickly learned was I was not cut out to rent a house from a landlord that wanted nothing to do with the house. I was quickly overwhelmed with the amount of time I would need to spend on yard work alone.

When Things Break, You Are Responsible To Fix Them…No Matter The Cost

I live in the lovely state of Arizona. As most of you are aware, the weather in Arizona is perfect about 9 months a year. Those months of the year with our bad weather is very, very hot. We in Arizona are completely capable of avoiding the heat, but to do so we need an air conditioner. Not just an air conditioner, but a functioning air conditioner. My friend’s air conditioner went out this past summer in his rental property. As he watched the different air conditioning companies stop by his house to install the new air conditioner, he saw bids to replace the unit for up to $5,000 dollars. Had my buddy owned that house, he would have had to pony up that $5,000 himself. Since he was renting, he had 3 long days without AC, and then went on to live as normal without a rent increase.

When Renting From A Good Landlord, Items Are Fixed Quickly

Currently I am in an apartment complex that has won the award from the ownership company several years in a row for the way it has treated clients. We have only had 2 issues, and each one was solved within hours of making a simple phone call. One time I was out of town for the weekend, and had misplaced the key to get into my apartment. I was going to be home late on a Sunday night, and there was a service that was available for someone to come out and meet me at my apartment to let me in for a nominal fee. Everything has been lovely, and renting takes away a lot of the responsibility I either don’t currently want, or don’t have the money to pay for.

Although If You Do Rent, It Can Still Be A Terrible Experience

Our landlord was a really old lady living out of state. I would call her and she wouldn’t call back for weeks. Our air conditioning went out in July in Arizona and it wasn’t fixed for 3 weeks. The old lady left some of her belongings in the house, including a mysterious safe, which for some reason her kids needed to come and get documents out of at least twice a month. The moral of the story is, even though I was renting a house, I wasn’t really renting a house. I was of house-sitting, but her kids didn’t even let us do that. Overall it was a miserable experience, and one I was very anxious to have end.

Final Thots

Ultimately choosing to buy or rent a house is a decision only you can make. Right now, it is easiest for me to rent an apartment. In the future I hope to have children and hopefully an English Bulldog. If this is going to be the case, I would like to own my own place. Mint.com put out an excellent chart a while back that covers a lot of the issues a person should consider before they decide to rent or buy.


10 thoughts on “Why I May Never Buy A House”

  1. Matt @ RamblingFever Money

    I don’t think of rent as “throwing your money away.” Home ownership advocates will often argue that you can get a decent house for the exact same monthly payment as your rent. What they don’t factor into that payment is taxes, insurance, ALL utility bills (water/sewer, gas, electric, cable, phone, trash) and of course home improvements and repairs. After you factor in ALL of that, I would dare say that owning a home costs nearly double that of typical rent in the same area. Oh yeah, and as you mentioned, you have to factor in TIME as well. It takes a lot of time to properly upkeep a house, and time is money!

    1. Owning a home does cost a lot compared to rent. At least some of it does go into a “forced savings” situation. I am sure that there are some individuals who would do just find renting and investing the difference.

  2. I’m so glad to hear someone else say this out loud. I’m a single mom, a grad student and a part time teacher, and have absolutely zero desire to take on the responsibilities you mentioned that go with ownership. More specifically though, not only do I not want to fix things but I also don’t want to mow a lawn and shovel show. I am in the process of moving and am looking for an apartment this time because I simply don’t think a yard and snow are important enough to take time away from the other things in my life. Maybe someday when I find a husband if he wants to shovel and mow enough to promise that I will never have to do it then I could be talked back into a house, but until then I’m happy with a small apartment, taking my son to the park, and not needing to worry about getting stuck in my driveway at 6 a.m. on my way to work during Ohio winters.

    1. I rented for a long time myself when I was busy and in school. It sounds like renting is the answer for you.

  3. If you have a mortgage, you don’t own your home, it owns you. And as Matt points out in his comment, costs other than the mortgage coupled with time for upkeep can make renting pretty attractive.

  4. Well, lets say that mortgage means co-ownership. After that all depends on who owns the bigger share – if it is you fine; if it is the bank not good. Houses are one of the relatively acceptable ways at the moment to ‘store labour’ though.

  5. Elaine@mortgagefreeinthree.com

    I’ve got the opposite view – to rent my house would cost three times the mortgage amount (and I plan on clearing down the mortgage PDQ)

    But then I am pretty handy and do maintenance and so on for myself.

    My garden is for veggies and my front door is MINE – priceless security for me and two little boys.

    Horses for courses you see

  6. I rented for a long time, but when it was right for me, I bought. Whether you rent of buy will depend on the cost of living in your location and your personal circumstances.

    I’ve heard the rent is throwing your money away argument so many times. But really paying interest on a mortgage is exactly the same thing. And these days you aren’t guaranteed that your house will go up in value…

  7. Glad to hear your reasons for not buying a house. When you are ready, you will, but you realize that right not, it isn’t in the cards for you and that is perfectly fine.

  8. Being a 25 year old homeowner (that received $8,000 to purchase a home), I can completely relate to why you may want to avoid a home.

    It is a lot of work, but if you are smart, you can usually come out slightly ahead.

    That being said, you do lose your mobility for jobs (which is worth a lot of money to most).

    Honestly don’t rush into buying a home… with interest rates poise to rise, it could get ugly.

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