I was doing my usual daily reading of financial news and came across US News 8 Smart Money Moves for 2008. One of the 8 smart moves was to "Rent, Don't Buy" which helped reinforce my hesitation to buy a house this year. I then started searching more about Renting instead of Buying and found these great articles: Why rent? To get Richer at MSN Money, 6 Money Dilemmas including Buy or Rent at Money, and Rent, Grow Rich, Be Free at Millionaire Mommy Next Door Blog.
I'm really struggling on whether I should buy a house or not this year. I'm starting to think that if I'm struggling this much then maybe now is not the best time for me to buy but on the same token if I'm going to buy a house within the foreseeable future I feel like now's the time. In the next 3 months I'm being transfered back to Atlanta after working and living out of town for the last year. Now that I'm finally settling in one location for the long term, have a sizable down payment (well over 20% of any house I'd choose), and with real estate prices falling it would seem that in the coming months would be the ideal time to buy a house for me.
Here's my hesitations for holding off buying a home:
I'm not sure if I'm ready to make the committment of owning a home and all of the work it entails. I don't think I'm ready to start giving up a potion of my weekends to maintaining a home, I do work in construction so I enjoy building things but I enjoy my current maintenance-free lifestyle. Every time I visit my mom I end doing her "Honey Do List" it always feels like she's got to have something done, yard work, HVAC cleaing, etc etc, and I just don't know if I'm ready to take on that. That's strike 1 against home ownership right now.
I also don't know if I'm readying to stay put for several years. Committing to one location and one house for years seems scary. Heck, I have a hard time committing to watch a movie from start to finish half the time, who am I kidding trying to buy a house that according to this great calculator by KJE which compares the financial aspects of buying vs. renting I need to own and stay put in the house I buy for at least 6-8 years to break even. At this point in my life 6 years seems like a really long time. That's strike 2 against homeownership.
On top of that I'm still a single woman, who at some point in her life would like to settle down and have a family and I can't see the home I buy this year to be the same one I'd want to have a family in. So it makes sense to wait, although I think its some what silly ---- its not like I want a knight and shinny amour to come and "save me" and then support me, I think I'm perfectly capable of taking care of my self and possibly a future family - its just that the cute little townhouse or house that's small enough for just me to take care of right now probably won't work with fido, junior, and hubby in toe. That's strike 3 against buying a home -- I guess three strikes and home buying gets put on hold.
I think for at least the next year I'm going to hold off on the house and continue to rent, we'll see where I am financially and mentally next year and reevaluate my decision then. I'm not planning to never buy a house, eventually I want to have my own place I can take pride in, but whether this home comes into my life now or in five years remains to be seen.