DH and I have been investigating a house that’s been on the market for the better part of this year in our neighborhood. It was listed at an outrageous price and needs a lot of cosmetic work inside. It’s definitely not our dream home but it is now a very good buy. We’re having a lot of difficulty justifying the purchase and the move though.
The pros include being able to own a dog, securing a place in a neighborhood we love for as long as we want, and the possibility of a tax-free capital gains investment. The cons include, but are not limited to, increased monthly expenses of $4-800/month depending on the mortgage (15 or 30 year), increased cost of utilities, and decreased freedom (to move, to take great international vacations, and to spend freely!).
One of our issues is that of “social milestones.” While it would be a huge achievement by our peers and family’s standards to own a home, we’re realizing that it may not be part of our long term plan. Everybody we know is getting married and/or buying condos/houses. The drives right now in our age group are to get married, have kids, and enjoy a deep sense of community in a nice area. They aren’t maxing out retirement accounts with the plan of stopping all contributions in 10 years. They aren’t considering living internationally at that time or planning to visit all of the continents and most of the states at least once in the decade before that.
My concerns are: What if we end up staying here 15 years? We could own a house outright by then in a great neighborhood at a decent monthly mortgage until then. We could live in an established neighborhood with the best school district in the county at our disposal. We could have an investment that may have doubled in value completely paid off and available to cash it in to fund our “early retirement” for 20 years until the traditional retirements (403b) kick in at 65. We could end up enjoying our time here a lot more by becoming a part of the community and owning a dog instead of biding our time until the next adventure.
It’s a difficult decision and the social pressures are pretty high to buy. I know not all decisions should be about money and that is something I struggle with on an ongoing basis. I’ve always tried to make decisions that allowed me the most options and I hesitate to make a decision that violates that.