I keep thinking of reasons why not to buy a home. Is that Unamerican or something?

Everyone I know tells me it’s time for me to buy a home. I can put down a large downpayment. I can get tax benifits out the wazoo. I’m throwing my rent money away…

But I’m a single guy with a single income, and I really can’t afford much, home-wise. And I REALLY hate the idea of a “starter” home, that I can later resell to help me buy the home I really want. I have little-to-no fixer-upper carpentry or plumbing skills. And I HATE to move. I always seem to hunker down until some external circumstance forces me to move.

I fear debt and responsibility and liability and a lemon house and mysterious market forces. You name it, I fear it.

A few years ago, we went to a financial planner. He told us about a couple he knew who had no house and no plans to buy one. Instead, they rented an inexpensive place, travelled a lot and put away a lot of savings. They didn’t want to be tied to a house and preferred to use their disposable time and income on stuff they enjoyed more than maintaining a house.

He seemed to think it was a perfectly reasonable option. The savings part is important, though.

Ain’t it great how other people always have suggestions for what to do with your money? It’s your money. Do what you want with it. Depending on your market renting or buying may involve the same monthly payment so it is truly a matter of choice. If house prices are inflated, renting may be a more sensible choice.

I’ve bought 2 houses in the last 10 years. External forces forced me to have to sell in markets that were downright hostile to sellers. I foreclosed both times. First house was on the market for 15 months, vacant for 10. 2nd house was on the market for 10 months, vacant for 2 months and priced $20k below appraisal! Both were in excellent condition and in very nice parts of town. I’ve been unlucky. Twice. I’ve cleaned up my credit to the point where I could buy again if I wanted. I won’t.

If you do have a big chunk of change sitting in a bank savings account, slap yourself silly and examine the possibilities of a municipal bond mutual fund at the least. Just a suggestion. :smiley:

You know what? Screw 'em. Do what makes you happy.

I had all the same fears. I’m single. I bought a house last year and don’t regret it for a second.

If you’re interested in the idea because you think it makes good financial sense to you, then why not try renting a house instead of an apartment? You get the feel for what to do when things break and possibly have to do the maintenance or yard work yourself. If all that still doesn’t appeal to you, consider buying a condo. Or buy something as an investment property, rent it out to other people and stay in your apartment, fear free, and let your money work for you.

You can pay people to fix stuff – you do not have to be handy to be a homeowner. Think of all the idiots and morons you know who can barely tie their own shoes… Do they own houses? I bet some of them do. All you need to know how to do is let your fingers do the walking and dial the phone. I’m a weak and pathetic, smallish, girl, fer Chrissake, and I don’t worry about the sink getting clogged. (I usually fixed the toilets in apartments I rented anyway because it was usually simple enough that even I could figure it out.)

I hate moving too, so I sympathize. But that’s no good reason for pissing your rent money away when you can instead own real estate that will increase in value. I recommend educating yourself to allay your fears rather than taking an ignorant stance and sticking to it out of stubbornness rather than any real educated logic. Let’s look at some facts, real quick, okay?

A) You can probably afford more than you think. Generally, a mortgage payment is less than rent for the same size dwelling. Go to a bank and ask what you can afford. Usually, for free, you can be pre-qualified which would give you an idea if you should bother looking or not. (Pre-approved usually has a fee attached and is a little bit more of a commitment than you want right now. Sort of like going steady whereas the pre-qualification is more like a one night’s stand.)
B) You don’t have to get a “starter” home. Do you really hate the homes with that label in your market, or do you just hate the idea? Why don’t you actually look into this before deciding you hate it? Personally, I hate the term. I made a list of stuff I wanted and found a house that had most of the things on that list.
C) Moving sucks. Pay someone else to do it.
D) Mortgage debt is good debt. It’s not unsecured, bad debt. Big difference.
E) Responsibility is not the worst thing that could happen to you. How much more responsible do you think you need to be? You’re responsible enough to write a rent check once a month. You can’t just write a lesser-amount check to a different entity once a month? And that’s additional responsibility because…?
F) You won’t get a lemon house. That’s what contracts and inspections are for.

Again, your fear is due to ignorance. You should do some reading on the internet about the process and what’s available in your area at what prices and think it over. If you still have fear… then I’ll be more sympathetic in my next post. :wink:

I hate when people say that you’re “throwing money away” when you rent. Why are you renting? Because you need a place to live, right? You’re getting that when you rent. “Throwing money away” would mean that you’re paying rent and NOT getting a place to live out of the deal. Yes, houses build equity (usually). Some houses are shoddily built and the repairs end up eating you alive, OR you can get stuck with a bad house that nobody will buy. Both renting and owning have risks.

I just moved into an apartment about a month ago. Before, I was living in a (very old, falling apart) house that we owned.

If I had my way, we’d live in an apartment for the next couple of decades, at least. When something breaks, I call the landlord and it’s almost always fixed the same day. I can take out my trash any time I want, rather than only once a week. Most of my utilities are included in the rent and are MUCH cheaper. Renter’s insurance is much cheaper than homeowner’s and we don’t have to mow, and plus I am not in debt for the next 30 years of my life. I have a parking space right in front of my door, there’s a security guard on duty every night and I don’t get woken up by drunken screaming neighbors at 3am anymore. If I were so inclined, I could walk around the complex late at night and I’d have no fear of harm.

I wouldn’t buy a house either, Jim, especially if I were single. I’d be out there taking cruises to New Zealand and saving money so I could retire when I’m 45 or so.

So in short, Jim, you go.

The argument about “throwing money away” has to do with the deductibility of the mortgage loan interest. Given the same $1,500 monthly payment for rent or mortgage, none of the rent can be used for itemizing your deductions and as a single tax filer you only get the standard deduction ($7,500?); in the early years of the mortgage loan, the bulk of your payments are interest and so your itemized deductions could be, like $15,600. You’re still spending the same amount of money for housing, but your tax bill is way lower.

Generally speaking.

You don’t always come out ahead when you purchase a home instead of rent.
We started out with a "starter home"and sold it 13 years later. We got roughly twice what we paid for it when we sold. When we took into account everything: purchase price, selling price, cost of repairs and updates, tax advantages and property taxes we came out pretty much exactly the same as if we rented and saved all the money we spent on the house. That was assuming no interest on our savings and way underestimating how much money we put into the house over the years. If you buy an older house you are guaranteed of having some pretty costly repairs in the near future. I also didn’t include decorating money or landscaping. When you live in an apartment you tend to spend less on purely cosmetic changes and nothing on the yard.

We live in an area with fairly inexpensive housing and high property taxes so that might have made the difference. I know this wouldn’t be true for every situation but I think people tend to not take into account every expense of home ownership when they look at the bottom dollar.