The Great American Dream, homeownership complete with a perfectly manicured green lawn and a white picket fence. This picture was found using google search, and it represents a generic American Dream Home. As individuals we each have different criteria for our dream home, while the picture above is nice and makes me think of happy leave it to beaver families it isn't my dream home... trust me I have given it a lot of thought.
I have been obsessed with owning a home since I was around sixteen. My goal is to have a house bought and paid for by time I am 30, 33 at the latest. I know, I know, many of you are shaking your heads right now and thinking yeah, good luck. First of all, thanks for wishing me good luck, and second let me explain my motivations for homeownership.
- My Background- growing up I had little stability. We moved almost every year, sometimes multiple times a year; as such, my parents were always changing jobs and we had little financial security. Although our bills were always paid I was always told we didn't have money so I couldn't do sports couldn't have this or that, so from a young age I worried about money and security. As an adult the need for a security net has intensified as I contemplate motherhood.
- Financial Security- our biggest monthly expense is housing. While buying a house isn't always the best idea I can find houses in my area where the mortgage is significantly lower than my monthly rent, I did the math and the monthly mortgage, taxes, pmi, homeowners insurance, and additional cost for utilities together should equal roughly our current monthly rent. For us there are houses available for what we are paying in rent. When you buy your own house your building equity and eventually you will own the house meaning no more mortgage payments and no more PMI (this should disappear when your equity goes to 20%).
- Freedom- Homeownership gives you both more and less freedom if that makes sense.
- I am a little bit of a free spirit, having grown up moving everytime something got tough for my father. I don't mind moving, as long as I'm moving towards something a good job opportunity for example. Being a homeowner makes moving a lot harder because you have to sell the house before moving, rent it out, or continue paying the mortgage payments which isn't always feasible.
- Being a tenant is a little bit like living with your parents, except now your paying for the privilege of living there. Being a tenant you still have to follow someone else's rules, no painting, pet limitations, in some cases visitor/tenant limitations. Being a homeowner gives you much more freedom. You can add an addition, remodel, refinish those hideous cabinets, paint the walls, there are much less restrictions!
- Homeownership also provides a degree of financial freedom, you know your mortgage payment will never go up unless you refi, or have an arm, whereas rent often increases yearly. Once you have paid 20% of your home value you drop your PMI lowering your monthly payments and giving you more money, and once your mortgage is paid off you don't have monthly housing payments. Renting you never cease having to pay monthly!
I have been looking at buying a house for at least a year and a half, in all fairness my husband and I probably had more income then since we were both working. Now that I'm in college I don't work all the time, and although we have been making it work and had extra money for savings I'm wondering what our finances will be like when he gets home (he has been at basic and technical training for the military). My husband is guard, meaning he isn't guaranteed a full time position. If he doesn't get the position we are hoping for then it is back to his old job (for the time being), which is a pay cut.
Looking at houses off and on for that long makes me somewhat obsessed, especially if you knew how much research I have done about the process and how much time I have spent looking at houses, loan programs, first time home buying programs, loan rates, closing cost information, potential commute times, mortgage costs, etc. The crazy thing is we haven't gotten preapproved and we aren't even sure we will be buying here. Having a good secure career is more important with regards to family planning then being close to family.
Ultimately, being a planner type personality it makes sense that I am obsessed with buying a home. I am a simple girl, I married young because all I really want in life is love, family, and security. I don't need the best of everything, I shop smart, and I don't want for a lot. I don't need a lot of material things. I don't need to keep up with the Joneses. My motivations behind wanting to be a home owner are transparent.
Ultimately I will keep watching property virgins, house hunters, and other hgtv shows. I will keep looking at houses for sale in our potential markets and bookmarking ones that might work for us. We will keep saving up our downpayment.
Anyone else obsessed with homeownership? Comment below =)