Latenight pondering

James and I and the kids, all working and homeschooling and..mumming, I guess, from home are really feeling the squish of our teensy flat. From a practical standpoint it’s almost ideal. It’s *really* close to the train and bus stations, across the street from the supermarket and our doctor, high above street level, allows cats, has high ceilings, and has really low rent. I’d be reluctant to leave for all of those reasons. Thing is, James really needs an office and the kids can’t share a room forever at the very least. I really wouldn’t mind a private garden either.

So, now that James is established as a career man, the choice is now whether to buy or rent our next place. I had always assumed, like most, that renting is throwing money away and buying is a surefire savings plan. The recent housing troubles made me a bit curious about that apparent reality though. For example, look at this blog post. The idea, basically, seems to be that renting and conservatively investing the money that would have gone towards a mortgage and the various costs of home ownership is a wiser decision.

I had also assumed that what we pay as renters to the landlord must more than cover their mortgage on the place plus agency fees, home repairs, etc. Looking at mortgage calculators, I just can’t see how this could be the case. I don’t understand the mechanism that allows us to rent a home that we could never afford to buy.

Of course inseparable from the argument are the emotional issues. On the one hand, I fear the commitment that home ownership requires. We seem to need a bit of mobility, at least in the near future. On the other hand, I really would like to paint my walls, take on strange landscaping projects, bore holes into the walls without fearing landlord wrath..

Anyway, this post really is an appeal for comments. I know there are many wise and experienced folk out there who could help inform our choices. Please?

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8 Responses to “Latenight pondering”

  1. fairylaura Says:

    Unfortunately I have no proper advice, but I’ll give you my opinion:

    If you can get a house that you can comfortably afford, including any potential interest rate rise (last housing crash the interest rates over here hit 15%), buildings insurance, savings fund for wear and tear (like boilers, washing machines, roof tiles), then, as long as you love the house and want to stay there, maybe go for it. But only buy a house you love. If house prices drop you don’t want to be stuck in a house that’s inadequate.

    A friend of mine has – just – sold her house. She got so fed up with owning that she’s going back to renting. The house, as it started to show signs of wear, was starting to take more and more of her money, and finally she realised that she was starting to hate it. So she’s sold, and is moving out this weekend. Yay! She’s looking forward to the mobility as well as living in a house that will be much nicer than any house she could afford to buy.

    At the moment I rent, but even could I afford a house I wouldn’t buy. That being said, I’m going to be moving in with Troy, who has a mortgage, so I’d better get used to it!

    See! No useful advice at all!

    Laura

  2. rasjane Says:

    Okay, I finally solved my identity crisis

    I’m not sure I have great advice either. I love our house because I have the dirt to dig in, I can alter it if I have time or inclination (big if) and I have my own 4 walls. It hasn’t been too bad keeping up on mortgage and all that. But, yeah, it is a lot more expensive. We could rent for nearly the same price, but the landlord is responsible for repairs and whatnot. I hate having to arrange service. Obviously, we feel the pros outweigh the cons.
    I’d say keep renting in your situation just because you don’t know what you will be doing in the next 3-5 years. Buying a house and then having to sell it before you’ve recouped even your loan fees would suck bog water.

    • rosgen Says:

      haha, you funny. 🙂

      I do really hate feeling that there is the ghost of the landlord breathing down your neck. Also, having cats makes me extra paranoid, particularly as the whole bloomin’ place is carpetted.. But yeah, no idea what we’re doing in the next few years!

      ‘suck bog water’ hehehe, i miss listening to you people talk. 🙂

      • rasjane Says:

        Us people as in the family we opted to merge our DNA with, or us people as in the crazy Yanks?
        Just curious. 😉

      • rosgen Says:

        Uh, well mostly you, Grandma R, my sisters, and my step-mom from Louisiana. 🙂 My family womenfolk I suppose. The menfolk mostly come up with horrifying things to say. 😉

  3. Anonymous Says:

    You know, I really wish I had greater advice than “what they said: Ditto”. We’ve owned and then rented a few times over. Owning feels permanent, it feels mine. It feels safe and rooted. I can decorate and CARE. Those are all intangible emotional things. Renting doesn’t give me that feeling (currently renting) I feel “up in the air” which is okay during certain parts of life. Then there is the practical side of it. For a bit more than we pay in rent we could own. A bit more makes a difference though…have to come up with that extra couple hundred.

    Owning has the headache of having to do it all yourself. Can’t just place a phone call. It’s more resonsibility. ANd no ‘get up and go’ it’s like having another child. I couldn’t wait to offload our last house, now I can’t wait to own again.

    We are in the same place you are. We have rented for quite awhile here in our state and are ready to put down roots. Buy? Build? Remodel? Get a modular/mobile type home to save money? If we own how soon could we sell if we wanted get up and go. Ah, choices. And frankly, will I be happy with any choice made? For awhile maybe. I hate being locked in to any one thing. I”m an eclectic homeschooler, why can’t I be an eclectic home owner/renter??!!

    • rosgen Says:

      Yeah, a mortgage seems like a much scarier commitment than marriage even. I’m sure James will love that, hehe.

      Hmm..that’s good. I can say that I’m not noncommital or wishy-washy, I just want an eclectic lifestyle! Similarly, I can say, rather than having less self-awareness about my future plans, that I’m just refusing to be boring and predictable. 🙂

      I think the main thing is to own a home by the time I have grandkids. I would like to give them the sorts of experiences that my grandparents gave me.

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