My wife and I don’t own a home yet. We plan on settling down in an area one day and purchasing, but now isn’t the right time for us, so we’re renting. But with real estate at ‘great prices’ today, I almost feel like I’m missing something if I don’t take advantage of the market. We keep hearing that it’s a ‘buyer’s market,’ and with so many great incentives, tax breaks, and low interest rates, the last few years have looked really attractive.
All the hype of homeownership has caused me to ask myself this simple question: Is homeownership a right or privilege?
Personally, I feel that homeownership is a privilege. Our freedoms outlined in the constitution don’t include a “3 Bedroom 2 Bath home with an attached garage.” We started as a land of opportunity and this includes the opportunity to save for a home.
Who Deserves A House?
I’m not saying that only the wealthy should buy homes and the rest of us should rent. In fact, I know doctors and lawyers who make good money, have a ton of debt, and probably shouldn’t be living in such an expensive house. Having a high paying job shouldn’t be a ticket into homeownership. Likewise, a person making $25,000 a year shouldn’t be forced into renting.
It Obviously Comes Down To Personal Responsibility.
No one really deserves a house unless they have the means to buy it. The unfortunate reality (for both rich and poor) is that a lot of people had false expectations (increasing home values) and tried to live beyond their means. The idea that we need to live better than our parents, or have a bigger and nicer home than the one we grew up in will set us up for financial failure.
It’s an awesome goal to want a home of your own. To have a place I call home one day will be a great feeling. What I don’t want is to make it my ultimate financial goal. Having a house is just one part of my financial picture – things like food, shelter, clothing, a job are more important than having a mortgage and saying that I’m a ‘homeowner.'
Planning For A Home
I don’t know if we’ll buy a home while the market is down. What I do know is that we don’t want to rush into a home because it’s the ‘American Dream’ or because it’s the ‘perfect time.’ When we feel comfortable with our jobs and have enough to put down on a home we love, we’ll be closer to buying – not because it’s our right, but because we’re in a place financially to do it.
What are your thoughts? Has homeownership become a ‘right'?