I don’t rent. I have a mortgage that I faithfully pay every month with the idea that someday the place I call home will be mine in every sense of the word. It is still a ways off, but that is the hope and it was the hope when I signed all those papers in the title office before they handed me the keys. But if you look at the big picture, buying a house isn't thrifty at all.
First, I had to save up for a down payment. Then there were a ton of closing fees to contend with. I had to pay for an inspection so I'd know the house I was buying was relatively sound. Then I had to buy homeowners insurance. And twice a year I get a property tax bill.
Then there is the interest I am charged on the mortgage. LOTS of interest that will total far more than the original price of the house.
Also, if something breaks I have to fix it. I'm on the hook for all repairs, upgrades and maintenance of my house. I have to pay for water, sewer and trash removal in addition to the monthly electric bill. If the water line breaks between the house and the main I am fully responsible for that expense. Same with the sewer line. I have to pay rent for the trash bins the city requires us to use.
I have to keep a fence up on my property line. When the original one fell apart I had to replace it. I have to keep my trees pruned and healthy. I have to maintain a lawn and keep it neat so the city doesn't fine me.
When I rented a home I paid an initial deposit, rent, the electric bill for heat and lights plus a small sum each month for renters insurance. If something broke my landlord fixed it. When it needed paint or a roof he did that too. Someone showed up once a week to mow and trim and I did the watering. Water, sewer and trash was included in my rent.
If I crunch the numbers, and I have, it doesn't make a lot of financial sense to own a home. I spend much more now than I ever did as a tenant. Most people who buy a home never end up owning it. So why do it?
Originally the idea was that I would acquire equity and it would be worth much more in the future. There are a lot of rules when renting. I wanted to be able to paint my walls whatever color I wanted. I didn't want to help pay someone else's mortgage. I wanted to be a homeowner.
I realize too that homeownership isn't for everyone. It used to be frowned on a bit, I think, if people weren't inspired or motivated to buy property and were just content to rent. But I can see the wisdom in it. It is less money to rent. Even when we were living in our RV and just renting the land I found after crunching the numbers that it would have been less money to rent an apartment. We didn't really save anything, even after selling the trailer. Kind of crazy, huh?
For me, it is worth the extra expenses and responsibility because for the most part I get to do things my way. And, unless I stop paying my mortgage, no one is going to kick me out. I got evicted from the last two homes I rented because the landlords sold the properties and both times the closing was contingent on vacancy. That was no fun and I never wanted to find myself in that position again.
So what are your thoughts? Is buying a home worth it or is renting a better way to go?