Saturday, May 29

Owning vs. Renting

I rented at two different places once I moved back to Tulsa.

I loved my apartment. It was small, but it had the space I needed. Not to say that at times living there didn't irritate me. My neighbor kept weird hours, sometimes his alarm would go off for an hour at three in the morning. I can sleep through almost everything, but the constant beep of an alarm clock drives me crazy.

When I moved to a rental house I loved being out of the apartment. However, the limited storage quickly reminded me how much stuff I own. I was also frustrated that I didn't have free rein on changes in the house. I had to run any lasting changes by the landlords. Hated that. So I started thinking about buying.

One obvious benefit to buying was that I could make any changes I wanted. I could dream as big as I wanted and no one would tell me I couldn't follow through. The drawback of course was that I would also be responsible for financing not only my dreams, but fixing anything that went wrong. Did I want that kind of responsibility? Could I afford that much responsibility?

I finally decided that I could afford the responsibility. Furthermore I wanted it. Every month I rented I would get frustrated that so much of my money was going toward rent. I would never get that money back, and really what was I getting for it? With family in town I had other (cheaper) living options, why did I continue to pay rent?

I think the answer was two-fold. The rental house was much more convenient than either of my parents' homes. Plus (I reiterate) I own a LOT of stuff. If I moved in with my parents where would I put it all? And I enjoy the freedom of having my own place. But none of those benefits justified renting instead of buying.

Despite the home buying hype I was seeing several articles saying that owning a home wasn't necessarily the better decision. And for some people it isn't. But for me I think owning my own home was a good decision. It hasn't always been easy, but I have truly enjoyed it. I am lucky to have family in town and they are a great resource. My dad is my go-to person if I have a new project I need help with or if something isn't working and I'm not sure who to call. For advice on decorating, landscaping or refinishing furniture my mom is amazing.

Mainly though owning a house is a trial and error situation. Things go wrong and I learn what to do. I try something that works and I want to share my discovery with everyone. My hope is that my experiences (good and bad) will help all of you better navigate the tricky path of homeownership.

Have you been thinking about buying a home? Recently bought? What are the deciding factors in your decision?

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