I have to thank Churlita for inspiring this post. You should read her "Dreaming is Free" post HERE.
My parents owned the house I grew up in. We lived in the same house from the time I was about 3, until I moved out right before I turned 20. I probably would have even stayed at home longer, but by then my parents had been divorced a few years and my dad was eager to sell and get his equity out.
After that I entered the wacky world of renting. Back when I first started renting, it wasn't all that difficult to do. If you talked to the building owner or managers, they liked your face, and you had the money for first and last the apartment, house, or whatever was yours. There was some moving around when I was young. I even got as far a living in a mobile home in Las Vegas, Nevada at one point. However, with two very small children only a little over a year apart, my husband and I needed to be closer to home and ended up back in So Cal near our families.
About 17 years ago, we moved into a sweet little rental house. When I say little, I do mean little. It was an older house with only two real bedrooms and one bathroom. I had a huge yard though and the three boys we had at the time were all small and could easily share a room together. Two more kids came along, we made another bedroom by walling off a portion of the long livingroom, and life went on. It ended up being home for 14 years. I loved it and felt safe there...it was where I was raising my family. It didn't matter to me that I wasn't the owner and the landlords, while sort of jerks, basically left us alone.
In quick succession, my marriage finally gasped its last and I found out that the owners of the house wanted to tear down and rebuild on what had become pretty valuable property. I was devastated, but had no choice but to consider my options. My ex had been wanting to buy a house forever. He hated the place we lived in for all those years. Long story short, we ended up all moving into a house that he was able to buy when they were doing all that subprime lending. Technically, I am not a homeowner, but fairly close with all of the same responsibilities, etc.
Unfortunately, I now associate having my "own" home with a great deal of stress and the feeling that I have made the biggest mistake ever. Kids, don't live with someone you've learned to dislike pretty intensely. It isn't worth it. Now I spend all my free time daydreaming about being able to go out and rent a little place for me and at least the two youngest kids. However, things are different now. It would be very difficult for me, with not-so-great credit and frankly inadequate income to get into anything.
See how twisted? I own (sort of, and thats the catch) and dream feverishly of renting.