Apartments Vs. Houses: Where Do You Stand?
I’ve been an apartment dweller all my adult life. Since I left the house at 18, I’ve lived in a communal setting with only a wall to separate me from my neighbors. I never had to be nosy because I could hear practically everything through the paper thin façade of separation – for worse or for better. I can do some maintenance on the plumbing and electrical systems in my place, but if I’m paying for it already via rent, why would I want to? Living in a house never quite appealed for many reasons: money, community, and ease were just a few reasons. However, the older I get, the more I’m starting to think this hallmark milestone of adulthood might actually mean something. I asked several other homeowners why they would want their own house, just to understand their own motivations and how they differed from my own.
“Honestly, it has to be privacy,” a homeowner friend of mine said when I asked this question. “In other places, I could hear everything that my neighbors were doing. And they likely heard everything about me too.” Having one’s own space seems to give a sense of freedom despite the roots my friend has planted in his own abode. Not to mention, the inherent privacy and having your own free standing base would be important. Being able to play “Let It Go” at full blast without having the neighbors hear that poor singing and call the police thinking an animal is in distress can be an imperative. But what if one does not like the neighbors? I could call that sweet revenge for their being up until 4 am playing Tejano on a weeknight.
Another cited that the act of owning itself was a motivator for her purchase of a home. “When you’re renting, that money is not going anywhere but in someone’s pocket. You’re not putting money towards something that you’re going to own and have it be totally yours later on.” I get it. If you rent, that property is not yours and never will be unless you buy it from the apartment owner. That’s a good reason. She also cited that she and her husband knew that they were not going to be moving anywhere else for a long time due to their jobs with the government. Also a good reason to buy a home.
One more friend said that the only reason why he has not bought a house is due to his job as well. “My job moves me everywhere for long periods at a time,” he explains. “It wouldn’t be feasible to own a home when I’m gone for a long majority of the year. Plus, if corporate is paying for my housing, it wouldn’t make sense to own.”
My own reasons? I move too much. I never stay in one place very long as my life has been a little volatile since my graduation from college in 2010, chasing other jobs and opportunities that never quite panned out as expected (resulting in moving to South America for a year to pursue teaching English). Yet, being employed with Real Estate NewsSource has me reading EVERYTHING that comes up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and various other social media about real estate. I have read the pros and the cons for owning a home. My friends along with the exorbitant amount of reading I do have demonstrated those pros for me: stability, investment, freedom even (in the sense of being able to do as you please). In this case, I can understand. You know where you’re going at the end of the day, you’re building and investing in your own self, and able to do with it as you please without risk of making someone angry – unless you have an HOA.
And there would be the con for me. If I were to own my own home, I would want to grow my own food and make the most use of the unused land called a lawn. HOAs – in my research – are less than accommodating when it concerns such things. They have left an impression that is restrictive and freedom bonding with their usual power hungry ways. Perhaps I have just drawn the short straw on all the houses I’ve lived in with HOAs, and I would be willing to accept that. But even then, many other homeowners have lamented some aspect of their HOAs, naming them in less than amiable terms. HOAs to me sound like you’re paying someone to tell you what you can do with your house that you supposedly own and should have every right to do with as you please. Seems just a little counterintuitive. But then again, amenities and added security along with some other benefits seem attractive. However, again, someone instilling rules and regulations on a property owned by someone in a community simply seems odd. It’s your property (and your bank’s if you have a mortgage). Shrug.
Anyone out there love their HOA? What experiences do you have? What other reasons do you have that could motivate someone like me to look into an actual house rather than stay in apartments?