Purchasing a home is going to be one of the largest investments you can make in your life. Unless you’re a real estate mogul that buys and sells property on a regular basis, purchasing a home will be the most nerve wracking process you ever endure. I recently purchased my first home and I can tell you from experience, owning a home can be such a fulfilling experience. It can also be a major pain in the ass. I’m only a few months in but so far here’s what I’ve identified as the major pros and cons.
The Financial Investment
The biggest benefit of buying a home is the financial investment. For years I paid a majority of my hard earned paychecks to greedy landlords who would only reward my impeccable record of being a good tenant by raising the rent every year. To avoid going broke, I’d have to move every 2 or 3 years. The worst part is that all the money you gave the landlord is gone forever. You’ll never get that back. If you’re single, making a lot of money, or not sure if you’ll move to a different city in the near future, then renting is the best option. Buying a home is a pretty permanent purchase, so don’t rush into it if you’re not at least somewhat confident you can handle making the payments for the next 15 to 30 years. If you do make the purchase though, it could pay off BIG…in the future. When you sell your home (if you’re lucky) then, unlike renting, you can get all the money back that you put towards the mortgage and maybe even turn a profit.
Without a landlord, there’s no one to tell you what you can and can’t do. Why? Because the house is YOURS baby! If you want to throw a party, trash the house and only clean whenever you want, then you can. I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing that since you just spent a ton of money on that house and you’d be destroying the value of the home, but hey, it’s your purchase. Do what you want. The landlord that doesn’t exist can’t kick you out or fine you.
When you buy a home and live there for a long time, you become part of a community. All the neighbors come together to help each other out and make the neighborhood better. This of course is highly dependent on where you live. So far, this is what I’ve noticed in my neighborhood. For example, my neighbor saw me struggling to bring in a large package that was delivered so he lent me his dolly. Another neighbor recommended a bunch of vendors he hired to do similar projects I now had to do. We even had one of those parades run down our block that you’ve probably seen on the news where a bunch of teachers from the local school drove by honking their horns and toting signs to visit their students during quarantine. I don’t have kids so the noise was a little disruptive, but in a pleasant way. I imagined they were honking for me and it made me feel welcome.
Everything is Up to You
Now that you own your own home, you are free to do as you want. Want to Chip and Joanne the entire house and rebuild from scratch? Knock yourself out. It will cost a lot of money but it’s your investment and you should be happy with it. There’s no landlord to run it by or fees for damages after you move out. The vision and design is all up to you to create, truly giving you the opportunity to build your own home.
Everything is Up to You
When you rent, your lease usually has most amenities included and holds the landlord responsible for repairing anything that breaks to ensure that the property you are renting is actually live-able. Well that’s no longer the case once you buy your own home. Some communities may have a Homeowner’s Association that charges you high monthly fees to take care of the lawn and the home exterior. If you don’t have an HOA, you will have to do EVERYTHING yourself. For each and every service you plan on using while living in that home, you need to call a different service provider to get set up. In some areas there may be several companies offering the same thing, so this could require some research before getting locked into any agreements. Seems like a no-brainer to set up these services, until you come across a service that you didn’t even realize was a service you had to pay for. Then when something breaks (spoiler alert: something always breaks), it’s YOUR responsibility to fix it. Unless you’re incredibly rich, you won’t be able to afford paying someone to do every job. So be prepared to get your hands dirty. Before long you will be a regular at your local hardware store. The home doesn’t come with a user manual either, so half the time is spent diagnosing the problem and the other half is spent fixing it.
Community is nice, unless you have shitty neighbors. Land one of these and you’re in for a terrible experience. It’s like having that noisy, messy, or “quick to call the cops” neighbor in the apartment next door, except they never move out.
The Financial Investment
The mortgage just covers the payment for the house. Fully expect there to be at least a few hundred dollars of services and insurance to add on top of that each month. Also, the considerable investment means you’re locked for the better part of your life. New cars, fancy vacations, unnecessary Amazon purchases all take a backseat to the monthly payments. You’ll be free of these eventually, but based on the terms of the mortgage you signed, this could take 15 to 30 years. Want more financial freedom? Make more money.
Most apartment complexes prohibit solicitation, which means you’ll never have a random business knocking on your door to sell you a service you don’t need. If you rent in a place where it is allowed, you’re in a position to end the conversation quick by saying “I’m not the homeowner”. When you own a home, you are open to every business and service looking to pester you until you give them your business. This week alone, I have had 3 different solar companies knocking on my door trying to get me to sign up for there service which requires “no down payment” and results in “immense savings”. I can’t even count the number of times ADT has been to my house offering to give me a free inspection or the number of trees they have killed sending me 2 – 3 ads in the mail every day. No matter how many times you tell them know, like the pests some of them offer to exterminate, they keep on coming back.