This spring, my husband went from being a post-doctoral fellow to an assistant professor. Universally from our friends and family in the same breath as “congratulations!” came the inevitable question: “Are you going to buy a house?”
And my answer is always a demure, “Nope. We simply don’t have the capital.”
Home Ownership Is Expensive
And we don’t have the capital. We don’t have the money set aside for a downpayment because there simply hasn’t been money for it. When I was freelancing hard, that money went to buying a car, an unexpected move, medical bills, etc.
Increased income shouldn’t necessarily mean a higher lifestyle right out of the gate.
Besides, I’m pretty darn happy renting.
We’ve hit bumps along the way, inconveniences, really. Our first basement apartment flooded when a city pipe burst. Our second apartment was over a garage and 23 steps to the top when we had a 4yo, toddler, and newborn. And this house (a house! finally!) has tremendously cold floors in the winter and a propensity to break things.
But any house we bought would come with inconveniences, too, and we’d be paying out of pocket for all of them.
In the last year, our landlord has replaced our oven, living room lights, HVAC unit, and dishwasher. (Our rent may have to go up soon…) We have enjoyed the perks of these upgrades without having to pay anything extra out of pocket.
Renting Is NOT Throwing Money Away
We were in Iowa five years. We planned to be here two. We may be settling here forever, or we may be moving in the next year or two. I have no idea.
Even if we had enough for a downpayment and could buy a house with a reasonable monthly payment,1 we do not have the monthly cash flow for repairs and maintenance while still contributing to our other financial goals: paying off our student loans and saving for retirement.
We’re still pretty young at just 31. There will be plenty of time to pour money into a house–repairs, paint, maintenance, property taxes, insurance, and all.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the other side of why I love renting in this season: time and babies.
1. Dave Ramsey’s calculator for this puts our “reasonable” mortgage payment at a number higher than our rent. In our area, this would buy a fixer-upper that would require a lot of time and money.