Sunday, December 29, 2019

I Hate Being a Homeowner

Have I mentioned that I kind of hate home ownership? Well, maybe hate-love better describes my feelings. Either way, heavy emphasis on hate. I feel like that's an unpopular opinion, but I would much rather rent than buy. It's not even close. "But home-ownership builds equity... blah, blah, blah..." yeah, I don't care. But here we are, "homeowners" (parenthesis because the bank owns it much more than we do) and the experience is so not making me feel all warm and fuzzy.

I would like to take this opportunity, before I go on, to say that I actually do love our little house. This is the love part of my hate-love feelings. Our home is cozy and it's ours, we're pretty happy here and I like being able to do with it whatever we want without asking anyone's permission. I just hate the entire process of home-ownership.

I mean, buying a home is a horrible experience. The whole exercise of finding a house you like and can afford, then getting a home loan is the absolute worst. The amount of information they want is ridiculous. Oh, you had one overdraft for thirty-six cents a year and a half ago? We're going to need you to write the underwriter a letter explaining why you're such a failure. You have too many credit cards, your credit score isn't quite right, you don't make enough money... you now have to give us your entire financial history and then wait, on pins and needles, for a stranger to pass judgment on your worthiness to have a roof over your head. It. is. the. worst.

Then, when they decide you're worthy and you move into your new place, you're responsible for everything. When you rent, someone else is responsible for things that break. Got a roof leak? Yup, that's going to cost you $350. Your gutters need to be cleaned and repaired? That's gonna cost you $500+. Your sink is clogged up and you need a new garbage disposal (us, right this very second)? That's gonna be a pretty penny.

Home-ownership comes with a million little money-sucking costs. You have to get the yard up-kept, or you have to have a husband/child/person who will mow (mine won't and I can't). If you live somewhere cold, the snow becomes an expensive nuisance. There's mortgage, insurance, and taxes which are all expected expenses. But, then there's all the little unexpected things like a home warranty, which you have to pay monthly and then you also have to pay copays, and then there's only a 50/50 shot they'll cover whatever is wrong. And all the little fixes and "upgrades." It's all on you.

Yeah, I hate it. When we lived in an apartment and the pipes burst in the bathroom, our managers fixed it and sent a company to dry out the carpet, and it didn't cost us a thing. When the dishwasher died, they replaced it and it didn't cost us a thing. They sprayed for bugs, came in to inspect the smoke detectors every month for free, and all we had to do is pay our rent. It was so easy.

But, that was in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when renting was easy. Back when the rental contract prohibited you from burning candles, but you could smoke inside. When they allowed pets without charging pet rent or having a pet minimum. Now, if you rent, you can't smoke inside. This is fine by me, but not with Matt who is a throwback to the 90s south where everyone smoked inside. There're pet minimums, if they allow pets at all, and the pet deposits are ridiculous. Then they charge you pet rent, which is kind of the most absurd thing I've ever heard of. I mean, do they charge extra rent for people's kids? Of course not. But kids have the potential to do as much or more damage than pets.

But I digress. Right now, it's Sunday, it's snowing and we have two sinks half full of muck because our sinks won't drain. When I turn on the garbage disposal, water literally sprays out the back and all over the power plug for the garbage disposal. We're going to have to call a plumber in the morning and between the sinks and the disposal, I'm expecting a $500 bill. If we were renting right now, that bill would be on someone else. Sooooooo glad we're not renters. 😤 I'm taking this opportunity to blame Matt who insisted we buy a house, rather than rent, when moving to Utah. Thanks, honey.

Home Sweet Home, Winter 2015

3 comments:

  1. Ditto your entire third paragraph! As someone who just went through this process 2.5 years ago, I can testify that buying a house is horrible--for all the reasons you outlined. Like, "We're going to need you to write the underwriter a letter explaining why you're such a failure." This made me laugh. It's SO TRUE--I literally had to write this letter, and a second one begging the homeowner to let us buy the house despite how unworthy we were, and convince him that I would love his home like no other and I'd be sure to feed his blue jays and squirrels every day, etc., etc. I've bought three homes in my lifetime now, and the process sucked all three times. This latest time was the worst, though. We were put through the wringer, and it was so traumatic that the day escrow finally closed I could barely feel any relief. Probably because this was the first time we were buying a new house and selling our former house at the same time, so we were getting hit on both ends. It took me months to recover from the process and feel like a normal human being again. I'm glad we did it, but...holy geez.

    As far as upkeep, I'm super lucky in this area because Clint is a Jack of All Trades and there's literally nothing he can't fix. I also don't have to harp on him to do it, because he's nearly obsessive about everything in the house working properly. But I have wondered how I would ever survive home ownership without him. I hope to never have to find out, but I imagine I'd have to lease a condo in Lake Arrowhead or something because there's no way I could do what he does on my own. But all in all I really do love owning my home. I love that feeling of it being "mine," and we've already put so many personal touches into this house that I can't imagine trading it for a rental that doesn't truly belong to me. I'm glad Clint gives me the freedom to love my home, because I know not everyone has that.

    Interesting post! This is some great food for thought about whether home ownership is overrated.

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    1. Oh my gosh, Jodi, that is awful! I hated the process and the only person I had to write letters to was the underwriter. Thank goodness I didn't have to write letters to the home owner, too!

      You have something precious in a husband willing to do household fixes. Mine could be handy, but make a choice not to be. He doesn't fix things or even do basic maintenance. We pay to have the lawn done, the trees trimmed, the driveway plowed. I'm not handy at all because of my depth perception issues, so between us we just contract out for all that stuff, which works fine but is sort of painful on the pocketbook.

      We got the garbage disposal replaced and the sink unclogged today, it only cost us $265, so that's a bargain! :D

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  2. At least Matt's willing to let you guys contract that stuff out. I know several women who are married to men who refuse to do home maintenance, but also refuse to pay someone else to do it. They basically imply that everything's fine the way it is (i.e. "I don't care if our grass is overgrown") and that if his wife has a problem with it, SHE should take care of it herself. Those kinds of husbands drive me nuts. It's like, look dude, either do the work, or man up and pay for someone else to do it. Don't put that shit on your wife.

    Yay for getting your garbage disposal fixed!

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