Here's Why I Own a Home, Even Though I'd Prefer to Rent

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on May 30, 2021

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Parent holds their young child up in their kitchen. Both smile.

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I don't love owning a home, but I think it's necessary for my family.

Many people dream of owning a home. Personally, I'd love to go back to renting.

I recognize that owning a home has its benefits. For one thing, mine serves as a decent tax break. I can deduct the interest I pay on my mortgage, as well as a portion of my property taxes. Plus, I like that I don't have to follow a landlord's rules -- I'm not sure our 70-pound dog would work in most rental situations. But I have a few problems with homeownership that make me long for the days when I could write out a rent check and be done. In spite of that, owning makes sense for my family.

My beef with homeownership

What do I have against home ownership? You always owe someone money for your home. Once your mortgage is paid off, you still have property taxes -- those never go away. I feel like I'll never truly own my home.

Homeownership is supposed to offer you financial stability, but I find that the opposite is true. When you own a home, you face a host of unplanned expenses -- sudden repairs, variable maintenance costs, and property taxes and insurance premiums that can rise over time. Sure, you can lock in a fixed-rate mortgage and owe the same monthly amount in principal and interest for many years. But overall, I find that my housing costs are anything but fixed, and as such, are hard to budget for.

When I rented an apartment, I wrote out a check for the same amount every month, and that was it. Granted, my rent did go up at one point, but once I had that new amount factored into my budget, I was set for the year. Homeownership doesn't allow that -- your costs can change from month to month.

Why I own

Despite my problems with homeownership, I think it's the right choice for my family for a few reasons. First, my kids need stability. When you rent, you're at a landlord's mercy -- your landlord could decide not to renew your lease. If that happens and you need to move, you could have to uproot your kids, and pull them out of their school district. And I don't want to put my children through that. Similarly, my kids play sports through our town league. If we had to move, they'd need to find new extracurriculars.

Another reason I own? It's difficult to rent a bigger house where I live. We could easily rent a townhome or apartment, but that doesn't work for my noisy family. We need our own detached house with enough bedrooms and bathrooms to give everyone ample space. Plus, we need a fenced-in backyard where our dog can run freely. And there just aren't homes the size of mine on the rental market in my neck of the woods. If I want the square footage I have, plus the privacy of my own backyard, I need to own.

I don't walk around bitter about owning a home. I recognize that it's something many adults do, and I tend to overestimate maintenance and repairs in my budget to avoid a financial crunch.

But do I miss renting? Absolutely. Not only did I find it easier to account for financially, I also liked not being responsible for fixing things when they went wrong. Owning a home means taking on a world of never-ending chores and tasks on top of the financial burden. Sometimes, for me, that's a lot to deal with.

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