and we are OK with that. No, that is not true, we are not OK with that, we are GOOD with that. There are a number of reasons that we have chosen to rent at this time in our lives.
The fact that we rent, and not own, really seems to bother many people. We have had people apologize to us when they hear we rent. As in “oh, I’m sorry, I am sure you will get to buy someday”. Yep, probably, but not right now, and not in the near future.
It has been interesting to see how renters are perceived as 2nd class citizens.
I imagine many people think we must not be fit to buy a home, that our credit is destroyed or something. That we are not responsible enough. I don’t think this is the case, we have owned before, when we were very young, before the days of “anyone can get a mortgage if they are breathing” lending. Now, I would imagine that our credit file is just unusually thin. We pay cash for our cars, don’t use credit cards, don’t even have cable or satellite tv. I do have a library card and nearly always return my books on time.
I know that I am supposed to want to own a home, that is the American Dream, right. Somehow not wanting to own is viewed as suspect. Something must be wrong with a person who CHOOSES not to buy a house. How unpatriotic that they don’t want to contribute to the economy in this manner. Trust me, I love our country. And I do contribute to the economy, I can guarantee you that even the property taxes on this house we live in (our home) are included in our rent.
We have decided not to buy, and we probably won’t buy anytime soon. We don’t know how long, really, that we will be here, could be 3 years, could be 5. Could be more, and although Alaska’s housing isn’t in the same state as the rest of the nation, there is no real assurance that we could come out ahead or even, should we buy and then sell in the next 3-5 years. So we will rent. Maybe, in 25 years, when we haven’t left Alaska, we will regret this choice to rent right now… But, should Dave get the chance to work, say in Norway, I will feel a whole lot better if we can just give our 30 days notice, schedule the movers, and wave goodbye.
We have been fortunate in our last 2 rentals. They have been great little houses, houses we would have bought, if we were in a buying frame of mind. We have also been really fortunate because we have been able to rent for several hundred $$ a month LESS than we would have been paying on a mortgage for those same houses. This has enabled us to make some different choices. I get to stay home, because our expenses are lower. We can put more away toward retirement (5 years of poverty level living, we have some catching up to do). The landlord is the one who gets to take care of the water heater when it breaks.
So why I am telling you all this? here is why:
I was talking to someone today, and was told “I have heard it’s such a cute house, like a real house, not a rental”. This isn’t the first time I have heard this, and not the first time that I have heard it from this person. This is someone who hasn’t even seen this house, or the last house we rented. And very well may never see it. In part because it is not “our house”, and therefore not really worthy of the effort it would take to visit.
I know it is silly, but that “like a real house” hurt.
Whether or not I make the monthly payment to a guy named Keith or to Wells Fargo Mortgage services, this is where we live.
This is our HOME.
Where my kids play, where I cook our meals. I take pride in having the lawn look good, and try really hard to keep the house clean and neat (not my strength, but I never stop trying). Our art is displayed on the walls, our books are on the shelves. Where friends and family can visit into the wee hours, or stop by for coffee on the way to Costco, or Prudhoe Bay. Where the neighbors can stop by to borrow an egg, or Sunny’s Girl Scout troop can meet for a movie night. Where the boys can practice fencing in the backyard, or the kids can climb trees and generally raise a ruckus. This is where we LIVE. Really live. We visit with our neighbors, we invite people over for dinner. This is what we have chosen, a darling little house in a charming older neighborhood.
So when you come and visit, don’t feel bad that we are “just renters”, because really, for us, it is a 1st class life.