Monday, July 30, 2007

Renting vs. Owning Your Abode

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 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.


evil-e said...

I am currently taking the parental invite and saving as much money as possible so I can buy my own house of Evil.....I rented for a very long time and all it did was contribute to my brokeness. I look forward to the day I say, "I am in the market". Hopefully not too much longer.

AlienCG said...

I have only been a homeowner for less than a year, but I am happy with my decision. Luckily my parents are very cool and allowed me to live at home until I was able to move out without straining my finances.

Tara said...

Right now I'm quite happy renting. I like the fact that maintenance is on site, that they are friendly and helpful and that the cleaning staff and most of the leasing office is friendly. I don't like having to fork over money for the washers and dryers, but I don't have to do that much laundry anyway.

Someday I would like to own a little house in the area with a front porch and room for a dog and a few cats. I'm having a huge Blogger party when that happens.

minijonb said...

the whole "rent" vs. "own" debate has worn me down over the years... i now think "steal" would be the best option.

MrManuel said...

I own, and it is stressful as hell. Hold interest rates! Hold!!!

l.b. said...

Evil-E: That is wonderful of your parents. You are a fortunate son :-)

AlienCG: So now E is following in your footsteps! Excellent.

Tara: I know we will all be looking forward to your big Blogger housewarming party.

MiniJonB: Wow, one I had neglected to consider! Sounds like my kind of option.

MrManuel: Go ahead and feel free to do your "Interest Rate Hold" dance :-)

Churlita said...

I love your post. It's all so tricky isn't it? I keep going over things, but until I get the cajones to actually go to the bank and check out my options, I'll never know for sure whether I can afford a home or not.

l.b. said...

Thanks Churlita. It is certainly tricky in my mind! You should definitely see if it is something you can do.