“You’re throwing your money away.”
“You need to buy your own place and stop renting.”
This is the stuff a friend of mine we’ll call Matt (not his real name) used to hear on an almost weekly basis in the latter half of 2020 and most of 2021, when mortgage rates were falling and it was more appealing to buy a home. view.
Matt is a successful person in his mid-30s who owns his own small business. He has done well for himself financially and has more than enough money in savings to make a down payment on a modest home. But he likes to rent and doesn’t want to take on the financial burden of owning a home. So whenever people pressure him to buy, he has to go out of his way to insist that his current situation is working fine for him.
If you are pressured to buy a home, it is important not to give in. Otherwise, you could end up making a huge mistake.
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Home ownership is not for everyone
There’s a reason my friend Matt likes being a renter. As a business owner, he works a lot. And he really doesn’t have time to maintain a home and deal with things like repairs.
He also doesn’t want to increase his housing costs, which he feels will happen if he moves from renting to owning. He might spend less on a monthly mortgage payment than he spends on rent. But when you throw in the costs of property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance and repairs, it’s easy to see how his total expenses can easily add up.
Plus, Matt’s income is variable – and it tends to fluctuate a lot. As such, he needs the stability of a predictable rental payment. A $2,000 home repair could end up being super stressful for him if it comes at a time when he’s light on work or weeks away from getting paid for a major project.
Therefore, Matt’s plan is to continue renting indefinitely. And every time someone tries to pressure him into buying, he rightfully shuts them down with a “not interested”.
Don’t buy a home for the wrong reason
You may want to buy a home because you want to plant roots in a community, build equity in an asset that can appreciate over time, and avoid having to follow a landlord’s rules. These are all perfectly valid reasons to become a home owner.
But you shouldn’t become a homeowner because people keep pushing you to. Your money and financial freedom are at stake, and if you feel that renting is a better option than owning, you should stick with being a renter.
It’s easy for people to talk about the benefits of home ownership. But should those same people come by and help you mow the lawn on a busy week or pay for a plumber when your water heater doesn’t work? Probably not.
So while the advice to stop renting and start owning may be well-intentioned, the choice to buy a home must ultimately be yours and yours alone. And in no way should you let peer pressure influence that decision.
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