Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Want A House

I want a house to call my own. If you asked me a year ago if I wanted a house, I would probably tell you that I am by no means committed to having a house for 15-20 years in Philadelphia, PA. I like the idea of being a renter. My landlord is responsible for extreme repairs, I pay once a month, I don't pay water and I can leave when I need to. I always say I'm going to go where the job is but the reality is that the job is probably going to be in Philadelphia.

If you read my "Dear Philadelphia, I Love You" post, you know that I love this city and really feel like I can call it home. I'm now strongly considering trying to buy a house in the city. Here are my reasons:

1) Mortgages are cheaper than rent and now is a good time to dive into the housing market before things get really not affordable again. Additionally I will probably be approved for whatever loans or things I request because I have an excellent and detailed credit history.

2) Peer pressure. While many of my friends are getting married and having kids, I do not feel pressured anymore to hurry up and get those things done. I do however, feel a pang of envy when I see friends building or remodeling their first home. Many friends are going to settlement on their first home and I can't help but wish that was me too. I know it is perfectly normal for an unmarried person to reside in an apartment until they meet someone and get married and have their first child...but I don't see anything wrong with skipping a few steps and owning the house now.

3) I would go to town on DIY home improvement projects. I would love to paint and redo and landscape and repair elements of a house. I would love to decorate it to my liking and just really go to town into making it my home.

4) I want to entertain people. I do! I want a house with a decent sized living room, a kitchen I can cook in with plenty of counter space, an outdoor patio, deck, stoop, balcony (SOMETHING OUTDOORS) and a grill. I want to host a book club or a sporting party or something. My apartment can really only comfortably fit about 4 guests in it, and even that makes it feel crowded. If I had a house I could do so much more, accommodate more people!

5) I could grill! I could compost! I could grow my own mint leaves! I could have a dog! I could do so many things I can't do in my apartment right now.

The cons:

1) I'd be tethered to the same house in the same neighborhood for years and years. I'd have a mortgage looming over my head and I'm not sure I'm that financially stable to take on the commitment of owning a house!

2) I'm unmarried....what if my partner wants to move elsewhere or something. What if I have to become a landlord to pay off my mortgage! I think I would be a shitty landlord.

3) Stupid reason, I but I have no idea how buying a house works. I know that I don't have $80,000 to drop on a row home right now and I know I probably don't even have 20% of that. I'm nervous to talk to a realtor about this process because I don't want to be buffaloed into doing something I'm just trying to get more information about.

4) The job could be in Syria or Russia or Germany or even Australia. I could land the perfect international journalism job and look...I just tied myself to an $80,000 house. Perfect.

5) Commitment-fears in general oh, and I don't know what I need more right now....a car or a house. Also, my job isn't as secure as I'd like it to be. Perhaps I should wait until I have stable employment in my field with a significant salary hike.

So maybe I'll fish around for some "How to buy a house and get a mortgage in your 20s" advice and maybe "window shop" the housing market. It is a big step and a big commitment and a decision that should not be taken lightly. The idealist dream of owning a house and the reality of owning a house are probably two very different things. With careful consideration I'll look into the possibility. In the meantime, I'll continue to cook my chicken in my convection oven and enjoy the outdoor parks by me since I really don't even have a stoop I can sit on.

Until next time...

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