Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why I Do Not Want To Buy A Home

Recently, Jim at Bargaineering blogged about the reasons why someone shouldn't buy a home within 5 years of graduation.

As I read the post, I thought about my own situation: I graduated from college a year-and-a-half ago, I'm in my 20s, single and debt-free. I found a job with a fantastic company that I love and that continues to treat its employees like gold. Based on the track record of current employees, it would be so easy for me to "put down roots" in my city and buy a place, since I expect to be with the company for a while. There's a first-time homebuyer's tax credit also working in my favor and real estate prices are rather low. However, the reasons that Jim outlined (and some others of my own) are exactly why I have no desire to buy now or in the near future!

  • Loss of Flexibility. My company has a few other offices around the country and around the world, and what if I decide I want take a position at one of those for a few years? Or, if I get a job with another company in another city that would be better for my career? Renting makes it so easy to just get up and go!

  • Home Prices. In my Southern California city, home/condo prices are still VERY expensive, even though they have dropped from their highs a few years ago. I do not have any sort of savings for a downpayment, and a decent place here would require a LOT of money for the downpayment and mortgage.

  • Maintenance. I am not handy. I do repairs, except the occasional lightbulb, and I'm usually too short to even do those! If the toilet breaks or there's a burst pipe... those costs would all be on me, and they would definitely not be cheap and can easily add up! It's so much easier to call the landlord to fix whatever is needed and deal with the responsibility. Some of my maintenance fears would probably disappear if I had a man in my life, though... ;)
I am a very happy renter and plan to stay that way for quite a while longer! I really like the apartment that I am renting now. It's huge and in the safest neighborhood of my city, very walkable, near a library, all grocery stores and a mall!

What are your reasons for not buying a place? Conversely, what are your reasons for buying one or wanting to buy one?


Anonymous December 12, 2009 at 3:25 PM  

Most of my friends in the Midwest bought houses right after graduation, some within a month or two. It worked out for some, but at least two have serious regrets, and one sold his house already.

I'm like you. Too expensive, too little idea where I want to be long term! Renting is still way way cheaper in LA

TeacHer December 12, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

I'm with you on this. I love HGTV, and seeing people buy houses and fix them up and decorate them, but I want to wait several years before I plunge into the real estate market myself. Like you, I want to be in a very secure place financially, and sure of where I want to stay.

The whole "buy ASAP" mentality is still really rampant in our parents' generation - my mom is always bugging me to look at prices and find an agent, and she's constantly saying stuff like "renting is just throwing money away." (My mom also doesn't pay any household bills, so I sometimes think she's a little out of touch with what things actually cost. ) But a lot of my family members think it's stupid that I make a salary and am not looking to buy.

Like getting married, I think buying a house is only worthwhile when you're 100% ready - if you're not there, don't do it!

Small Budget, Big Style Chick December 12, 2009 at 10:34 PM  

I also don't feel quite ready to make that step home ownership. As a young professional I like the flexibility that renting offers, I could pick up and move with relatively little trouble because my landlord never made me resign a lease after the first year I lived in my apartment. I know several people my age and younger that are homeowners, but everyone's timeline and finances are different. Do it when it feels right for you!

sara l December 23, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

I was 5 years and 2 months from graduation when we bought. Over those 5 years I moved twice (once across the country), went to grad school, got engaged, and traveled.

I love our house 99% of the time I have no regrets but I'm glad that I waited. (The 1% is when I hear about things like a couple taking 7 months to travel around the world)

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