The more I think about it, the more I want to put home ownership on the back burner in my list of financial goals. Right now, without divulging too much personal information, my rent is lower than my mortgage payment would be if I had a 20% downpayment, no pmi, and no taxes! So for me to buy this house, I would pay significantly more to live in the same house.
Of course, I would be gaining equity. But how much? The mill rate in my town is high, so I would be paying significant property taxes. I would get a tax break for owning a home, but I don't make enough money to pay much in taxes anyway. I don't live in a town that is highly desirable, so the property values are fairly stable. In fact, they've gone down, like everywhere else, but never went up really high, like everywhere else in my state.
In addition, right now I don't pay for water, and I don't pay for repairs.
And finally, in a way, renting saves me money somewhere else- decorating. My kitchen is terribly outdated, but I would never remodel it, because it's not my house. I wouldn't buy new furniture, because I don't know if it would fit in my next place. I'd like to fix up the basement, but not as a renter.
So... I don't know. I feel like I *should* want to own a home, but I'm not sure why I feel like I should. Is it because I really want to, or because I feel like that is what is expected of me? I'm going to take some time to really think this over, especially because if I decide it's not a priority, then I can switch to the summers-off schedule with a much less guilty conscience.