A friend who is not a homeowner asked me the other day about the ups and downs of being a homeowner.
That was a tough one.
I don't want to be all "OMG!!!!! EVERYONE SHOULD BUY!!!! BEST. THING. EVER." It's NOT for everyone. Sometimes I wonder what did we get ourselves into--that soon passes. It's a lot of work and can be a lot of money. But it can also be a lot of fun and really satisfying.
I also don't want to come off as a braggart or that people who don't buy suck or are throwing their money away. Again, buying is not for everyone. It wasn't for us for a long time either, and we really crunched the numbers.
Plus, one can afford a house, but can they afford the taxes? Our new town has fairly high taxes, but it all worked out in the end for us, since our mortgage payments are pretty low. Not everyone has that happen.
Here's what I told my friend, via email:
I never thought of myself saying this, but I do enjoy having MY own home. I don't know if that's a "greedy American" way of looking at things, but it's just great. I do NOT feel any more grown up, like how a lot of people feel that they have to own to feel like they've "made it" or are "grown up." Another "up" is that while yes, a large chunk of money goes to the bank each month, it's more like they are holding it for us, in an account we can't touch. Knowing that it could be an awesome investment. At least that's how I "trick" myself, haha. Knowing that we can do whatever we want to it, within reason, of course--can't just rip out walls with out making sure they aren't the right ones to rip. Knowing that this is our little "project" that we can improve on, take care of, watch it flourish. I've always been more of a homebody than not, and very domestic, so it's like I have a canvas to express myself.
The downs...having to fix/take care of everything yourself. No landlord to call. Figuring out which things are a priority to fix/replace and what can wait. Having to budget for upgrades. For example, we really want to put in a wood stove, but they are expensive. So we need to save slowly for that, even though it would drastically reduce the money we spend on oil. Even something as "simple" as thermal curtains--to keep out the cold now and the heat in a few months--for 4 windows, it could run me like $200 or more. But then I have to look at it as how much will I save in oil for heat/electricity for AC?? It's a balancing game...
For us, most days, we're in the UP column ;-)