This post is my reply to the Globe and Mails article posted today titled “saying no to the home-ownership dream”. The author Noreen Rasbach uses several reasons to justify her title. However, only 1 reason is valid and it is simply because it applies to her personal situation.
As someone who lived in rent, bought a condo and then settled into a house I would like nothing more than to debunk her reasoning one at a time.
Shoveling Snow: there is nothing dreadful about shoveling snow if you don’t have a 1 mile driveway. When you buy a house try to pick one with a garage. You save time from cleaning the snow off of your car and it takes you at most 20 minutes to clear a normal driveway using the proper push shovel for snow clearing. How many times do we get snow storms? About a dozen times at most.
The cost of Repairs and Renovations: did you take the time to shop for your house? Why didn’t you pick a recent construction? In that case renovation expenses are not mandatory and repairs should be few if non existent unless you are really unlucky. How about choosing a house that is in good shape or that went through recent renovations if recent construction isn’t available? Did you hire a professional house inspector before closing the deal?
When it comes to renting you will get what you pay for most of the time, the cheapest there is out there in renovations or repairs. That is if you are lucky to have an owner who is not looking to squeeze every penny possible out of his building. A different kind of effort is required for renovation and repair in you rented apartment: it is waiting on the owner’s promises and having to repeat your requests.
If you insist you’re getting a quality service in your rented apartment, it probably is because you are paying higher than average rent. In that case, I am sorry to tell you: you are wasting your money.
Expense overhead: the 40% figure you mention is exaggerated and I can say that based on experience. Paying more for heating should not be overkill if your house is properly isolated. Keep in mind that you are also paying a small extra for a superior life style. Expenses will definitely skyrocket if you are talking about a mansion, if someone avoids buying more home than he needs for himself and his family the difference will not be that big.
House price appreciation: you do not buy your main residence because you are speculating on real estate. You buy it because you need a place to live and because you are choosing a life style. The forced saving is also a huge plus as it becomes part of your nest egg. Not to mention that after you make your last payment on the mortgage you free up a significant amount of monthly cash flow.
Finally, your frequent relocation from one city to another justifies your preference to rent but it in no way justifies killing the home ownership dream.