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Monday, April 28, 2008

A decision (for now) on buying a home

Those of you who have been reading this blog a few weeks know that I've been pondering buying a home. See here and here. I've decided that for now, buying just isn't right for me and I'm going to continue renting. A number of factors influenced this decision.
  1. I got some bad news at work regarding a promotion for the group I was hired along with. I don't want to go into details, but I will not be getting the promised promotion (and raise). Because of this dishonesty, I am looking for a new job, but for now, I have to realize that I'm financially stuck where I am for the foreseeable future.
  2. With looking for a new job, I want to know where I'll be working before I make a decision on where I live. Right now, I have a quick, easy metro ride to work. I would hate to buy in this area and then up working completely across D.C. in an area where I didn't think to look for a home.
  3. Right now, it's just me. I was out for a run the other day, and I saw some people out doing yardwork and I realized that I've come to value the free time I do have on the weekends. Yes, I spend a chunk of it catching up on all the chores I haven't done all week, but I appreciate the fact that I don't have a yard to work on.
  4. I kind of like the fact that if something breaks in my apartment, I call maintenance and they deal with it. I don't have to worry about an emergency fund to cover a new oven, for example.
  5. I can't guarantee that I'll be living in this area two and a half years from now. Maybe that's a silly reason, but it's just another factor to be considered.
  6. Given my current salary, a mortgage payment and dealing with taxes and all the other fees that go with home ownership is doable, but barely. And probably not on the type of place I want to buy.
  7. Yes, rent is not cheap. But there are perks that come with rent. No property taxes. Security on site (a nice feature for a 20-something female living alone). A gym. Someone to collect my packages when they arrive. Sweet location.
I think I have always believed that buying a home is just something you do, when a lot of people, especially in big cities, live much of their lives in apartments. I think that with where I am in my life, renting just makes more sense. And it means that I can save up more money to put towards a down payment on the perfect place when I'm ready.


Tom said...

I remember when it used to be cheaper to own rather than rent, and if you were a landlord, it was cashflow positive.

People keep saying it's the bottom, but we still have a ways to go if the price to own vs rent returns to it's historic level.

Putting 20% down and financing fixed for 30 years (with insurance, taxes and HOAs) should be cheaper than renting. Do the math : )

You will also need money set aside for emergencies when things break or you need a new roof. You will be rewarded for your patience.

J. Savings said...

I think you're doing the right thing to be honest with you. You have to go with what feels right, and it looks like you're def. considering all options :)

Esp with #2 & #4. Having recently bought myself on a spur of the moment kinda thing, I can tell you that taking the time to evaluate everything is key.

While i'm pretty happy w/ the decision all in all, I probably would have waited another year or two knowing what i know now. And this is ONLY based on my lifestyle change...it doesn't even consider market prices and all these days.

ntbeachnc said...

I can completely understand. I too live in the DC area and can't decide whether to buy or continue renting. I'd hate to wait and not be able to afford it later on. But I like some of the conveniences that come with renting.