I’m starting to feel the home buying urge again. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s the idea that I’m just tossing my rent checks into the wind every month. Who knows.
I’ve tried making pro and con lists. And there are lots of things on both sides. If I buy, I would want my monthly payments to be less than my current rent so that I can set aside more money for an emergency fund. When you own a home, things break. I’m not sure if I want a house or a condo. I mean, ideally, I want a house. But I love the convenience of my apartment, and I’m not sure I’d get that kind of location with a house, which puts me back towards a condo. Plus there’s that pesky price issue.
This isn’t something I’d be doing soon – I’d likely start looking next spring, maybe even later. But I’ve started skimming real estate listings, just to see what’s out there. D.C. housing prices will forever make me cringe. But that’s the midwesterner in me. For the price of a two bedroom condo here, I could buy a five bedroom house on substantial land in my hometown.
I’m also not good with commitment. When I bought my car a few years back, I had a momentary freakout because I had just spent SO MUCH MONEY on something that I would have for YEARS and I couldn’t change my mind about it. With a house, multiply that freakout by a million.
I think after the first of the year, I’ll start seriously looking into this. Figure out how much I can put down and where I want my monthly payments to be and use that to find out approximately what sort of a mortgage I can get. That really will determine where I end up living. Maybe after crunching the numbers, I’ll decide to wait another year and set aside more money. I also need to figure out what’s important to me in a home. Pet friendly is key, obviously. And I want to have some sort of dedicated parking. I come back from choir rehearsals after 10:30 on Monday nights and the last thing I want to do is be hunting for street parking and have to walk a crazy distance just to get home. Not only is that miserable in December, it may not always be safe. I want at least 2 bedrooms and preferably 1.5 baths. Beyond that, I can be flexible.
And then just as I start discussing buying a house, the microwave in my apartment kitchen breaks. Less than 24 hours later, I have a brand new one installed at no cost to me. Just another perk in the rental column.
Anyone else debating the buy/rent situation?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.