Buying a House Is Overrated. Here’s Why I Did It Anyway.

hidden costs of buying a houseWhen my husband and I bought our first home last year, we were really excited. We found ourselves saying things like, “It’s just such a good feeling to know we own this. It’s ours.”

Except that, it’s not. Not really, at least. For most of us, “buying a house” just means borrowing money to buy a house. I like the way comedian John Mulaney puts it:

“Actually, we didn’t buy a house—a bank bought a house, and I’m allowed to keep my shirts and pants there while I pay it off for 30 years.”

Yeah, yeah I know. After you pay it off, it’s yours. And you can add an extra bathroom or expand your kitchen if you want. There’s no checking in with a landlord. That’s great, but do you really own something if you have to take out a loan to pay for it? Maybe my thinking is too old-school, but I’ve never considered something truly mine if I’m still paying it off. This house, while it feels like a home, is no different.  

Especially after the housing crisis, people have turned a skeptical eye toward homeownership–and rightfully so. I can’t help but wonder how many people have thought, “it’s such a good feeling to know you own this” only to foreclose and give their home back to the bank. Renting gets a bad rap, but how many renters have had their financial lives ruined over their housing decision?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against homeownership–after all, I own a home and I felt the same way before buying–but I also think it’s overrated. Whether or not renting or buying is the right decision depends on so many different, individual variables. However, people generally overshoot the pros of homeownership without thoroughly considering the drawbacks.   read more…

Buying a House Is Overrated. Here’s Why I Did It Anyway.

When my husband and I bought our first home last year, we were really excited. We found ourselves saying things like, “It’s just such a good feeling to know we own this. It’s ours.” Except that, it’s not. Not really, at least. For most of us, "buying a house" just...

read more

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kristinwong

I'm Kristin Wong. I write about money, travel, and lots of other stuff. I love exploring new topics and places. I also love helping people figure out their finances so they can make their money work for them (instead of the other way around). Want to know more? Start here.

What You're Saying

  • Laura: Yes, soo many variables. Right now, even though I kinda don’t care for our house, glad we did buy when...
  • Gary @ Super Saving Tips: The rent versus buy decision is definitely a personal one. I’ve been a renter and a...
  • Cody Red: Great article! Your being bad at math example ties into our confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance...
  • JGC: Interesting post. I’m a retired educator and spent half of my long career as a licensed counselor. The...
  • Anna Weisend: Oh my goodness. This has my brain spinning. There is a lot to consider in this post. I can’t...