Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is A House Worth The Effort?

I've been wondering if owning a house is worth the effort to maintain one.

(I suppose that I should start by pointing out that I wouldn't care to buy a house now.  At the very least I'd first like to see some sign that Greece has defaulted on its debt and will not pay its creditors.  Or first I'd like to see the U.S. go bankrupt or actually pass a balanced budget.  I suppose that even when the dramatic event that everyone [whose opinion I'd be interested in] seems to think finally comes, then there won't be a spectacular crash or pandemonium.   But instead more of a resignation of being amid another great depression.)

Owning a house, even owning a mortgage, has definite advantages:

-a place to keep your stuff
-a place to do what you want with few-ish limitations
-building equity
-can't get kicked out

There are also many drawbacks to owning a house, or mortgage:

-monthly payments for utilities
-the hassle of arranging utilities
-maintenance of the property
-repairs of the property
-property taxes
-long term commitment
-concern about resale

I find building equity much more appealing than essentially throwing it away.  Even if I were fabulously wealthy I can't see owning a really big house, a big garage would be good, a bigger house means more to clean, maintain, and pay taxes on.

I don't know what I'll decide in the future, but I am struck by how few advantages to owning a house that I could think of.


  1. It's not the number of advantages, it's the relative importance of the advantages. Every decision is an both economic decision and an emotional decision. The question to ask is: What best suits the life YOU want to live?

    1. That's true but I wanted to look at "all" of the advantages and disadvantages before I decide.

  2. And you absolutely should. You need to know what they are, and balance that information with what they mean to you personally.

    Due to the housing collapse, my mortgage is far less than I'd pay for rent. That's why I stayed in my free-and-clear house in Hooteville for 7 months while my husband worked here and shared a one-bedroom apartment. For us, owning is nearly all "advantage."

    For you, it might be a good investment, but it could also be more trouble than it's worth.

    You're being smart by considering the whole spectrum; and you're young and single so you have options.

  3. Depends. I own a house; it's a bit of a hassle, but not too much. On the other hand, having a mortgage really ties you down.

    If you're single and not planning on marrying any time soon, I'd recommend buying something really cheap and getting the mortgage out of the way. Fix it up a little and when you want to move sell it at cost. In retrospect that's what I wish I'd done.