14 March 2009

Home buying for single parents

The 10-month work year dilemma has caused me to seriously evaluate some of my financial goals. I definitely want to pay off my debt. But what's next? I've always thought I should buy a house, and that was one of the reasons why I started this project. However, recently I had a few problems with the house I'm renting- some basement flooding, too much snow to shovel, a broken oven- and I've realized that it's really, really difficult for me to manage a house all by myself. Not only do I not have the time, but I don't have the physical strength or expertise to fix or shovel as I need to. And frankly, I don't have the money!

So, what if I did buy this house? Would I be happy because I owned my own home, or stressed financially and overwhelmed by maintenance? If you own your home, is it worth it?


LauraC said...

Financially, I think it's worth it to own our home. But it is so much work all the time, and it contains a lot of hidden financial and time expenses: heating & AC inspections, termite inspection, ongoing pest maintenance, yardwork, etc. And then unexpected things happen, like our downstairs AC computer unit died and we had to have it replaced for $500. A possum died in our crawlspace and we had to have it removed and cleaned up.

Four years seems so far away to start planning. I think it's good to have stretch goals but life can change quickly for a single mom.

libraryliz said...

For us, buying a house made sense because we are paying about what we would be paying in rent for a mortgage and taxes, and we are at least locked in to that amount (the mortgage, anyway). There are lots of unexpected expenses, but maybe you might consider a condo? I know you really like your gardening, and a condo would mean less of that, but fixed expenses (and a super) is something to consider...

Looking For Freedom... said...

Good question. Most of the time, I think owning our own home is worth it. It's nice to be able to do with it what we want to do with it. It feels less worth it when stuff breaks, because that adds unexpected costs.

Trent and I kind of enjoy moving around a lot, so sometimes all of the responsibility associated with owning feels like a ball and chain.

We have PMI and a relatively high interest rate. If we can refinance, I think owning this place will be even more worthwhile.

It depends where you live, too. We have friends in California who rent for about $1700 a month. People keep pushing them to buy - but homes where they live equal out to a mortgage of $3000-$4000 a month at the lower end of things.

Anonymous said...

That's a hard question. Yes, in some ways, but when a pipe bursts in your son's bedroom, the wall has to be ripped out, the pipe has to be fixed, the wall has to be put back together, the floors have to be replaced, and the room has to be repainted, it is an expensive pain in the ass. So, if you do decide to buy, don't forget that there are always unexpected things to replace and fix.
Oh, and that was my weekend! :)