renting vs. buying

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Bryan is an artist, father, husband, and son (not really in that order). He works for the Department of Vetern's Affairs and writes and administers The Fireside Post with his father, Ohg Rea Tone. His writings have not been published, though they have been printed a lot.

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renting vs. buying

Dad,

My wife and I have been talking about our plans for the future, and the issue of buying property has come up, as it usually does when we have this conversation. We are comfortable with renting, and we have come to that place through a long process of evaluating our lifestyle. We do not borrow money, we live simply and responsibly, and we invest our energy into the things that matter most in our lives. The idea of home ownership has captivated us many times, but, fortunately, we have been able to evaluate our priorities and make real decisions about where we want to put out time and money right now.

I am not one that advocates buying a house for every person. Some people, I believe, are truly better off renting, and a lot of people are better off renting for a while. This is not a message that you will hear from our friends in the business of lending money. The “Why rent when you can own” slogan has reeled in more buyers than “No Money Down!” sales at furniture stores. And I personally know people who are worse off for it. Why rent? I can tell you why. I have a list. I don’t mow the lawn, I don’t call the plumber, I don’t fix the roof. I save my money, and I have seen the situations where, without savings, buying a home has been disastrous. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to witness that failure and not have had to experience it myself.

This is a big issue right now, since the sub-prime lending market has created a real strain on the mortgage industry and new homeowners both. I hope that we can begin to hear a message of “Buy when your time is right” rather than “Buy when the interest rates are right.” For me, for now, I will keep what little money I have and be glad to call the landlord when the dishwasher breaks.

Bryan

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