Hey, y’all! I was so glad for Monday to be over, but yesterday was like second Monday. Do you ever have days like that? Thank goodness it’s humpday!
I wanted to write today’s post because I REALLY want to open a discussion on FGF about home-buying versus renting.
To be perfectly clear, I have never bought nor owned a home. I want to- at some point (I NEED that wrap around porch, y’all!), but if you’ve been paying attention to our economy and particularly the housing market, you know that rates and demand are high and the inventory is…not awesome. I’ve been obsessing over Zillow listings for the last year and working with a realtor for the last few months as well. I even went so far as to get a letter of pre-approval from my chosen lender because I was very interested in a specific property. That was in May.
Then came June and a family vacation to South Carolina. That’s when the wheels fell off.
Y’all know that I’m from the beautiful state of North Carolina. I’ll always be a Carolina girl and I miss it every day (Go Heels!). I go down to see my family in Virginia every year and each year it gets harder to leave and come back to Wisconsin. (For reference, my father, step mother, and their sides of the family live in VA. My mother and stepdad, and his side of the family, live in Wisconsin, which is how I ended up here at 15.) My plan has always been to move back, but the question was always when. Our most recent trip down south lit a fire in me to get more serious about planning for our move back- hopefully within the next year or two. Which brings me to my decision to stay in our current apartment instead of buying a home here in Wisconsin.
My main goal prior to moving back to NC is to have at least a few thousand saved in ‘just in case’ money. Just in case the jobs we’ve found don’t work out or our chosen apartment/home falls through. When my parents moved us to Wisconsin they were totally debt free, besides our house in NC which was still for sale at the time we moved. Considering that Prince Charming and I both have vehicle loans that we’ll be paying on for the next 3-5 years, waiting to be debt free would push our timeline back by quite a bit. Generally, the rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home is to be sure you want to be in that home for at least the next five years. And if you’re looking to use any kind of down payment assistance or an FHA loan, you could be REQUIRED to stay in the home for those 5 years or be penalized (e.g. have to pay back a percentage or even ALL of the assistance you received)! We hope to be back in NC well before 2023, so buying a home here doesn’t really make sense. Voila, raison nombre un.
Reason number two references back to my savings goal. We work for the apartment complex in which we live and get a certain amount off of our rent for every hour we put in during the month. Some months we’ve owed $0 in rent! It’s a pretty great opportunity for us to save as much as we can and apply the excess to our debts. Even if we were considering buying a home in the area, there’s no way our mortgage would EVER be $0. We choose to stay where we are because saving on rent/a mortgage aligns with our goal to save up more money for our future in NC.
As ready as we are to own a home, we know we DON’T want to buy a home here in Wisconsin- for a multitude of reasons. The reason we began searching for a home in Wisconsin last year was because we’re paying more in rent than would be in a mortgage for, say, a $75,000 house. For a lot of people, this is the case, but because of high rates and more stringent requirements, most people assume they can’t qualify for a mortgage. If you’re still renting, and think there’s no hope for you ever being able to purchase a home, check out Nerdwallet’s “How much house can I afford?” calculator. Obviously, there are other factors to consider, like maintenance on the home and PMI, but if you have a deep desire to be homeowner I strongly urge you to talk to a mortgage lender and/or realtor in your area. There are various types of programs and loans for all levels of income and credit scores and owning a home may be more within reach than you thought!
What do y’all think about renting versus owning? For those of you who have bought a home, what did you learn from that process? For those of you who are still renting, why?
P.S. If you’re millennial looking into buying a home, I highly recommend Lauren Bowling’s book! Get it on Amazon HERE.