So, we are renters…

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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.

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About Sandie

A little background: A mother of 3, two boys and a girl. Married young to a good man. No longer young, but he is still a good man. Grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, lived several years in small town Alaska, spent a couple years in the city of Madison, currently residing not too far from down town Anchorage. Drink a crazy amount of coffee. Fiercely loyal to my friends. Truly rabid in my defense of family. Beyond thankful that my God loves me enough to allow me to doubt and question.

8 responses »

  1. Wow, Sandie. I am sitting here thinking two things. 1.) It is totally foreign to me that anyone would think of renting as a “2nd class” thing. Home is anywhere where you do all of the above that you so eloquently and warmly described–seems a no-brainer to me. 2.) I am tempted to think the person who made such a rude comment to you was the same person who went on…and on…and on…about how sorry they were that the precious babe I am carrying is a 4th son. I’m sorry that you have been subject to the same such flippant words!

  2. Ha ha this was a great post.
    Believe it or not who said ownership is mandatory for living a fulfilled and happy life? That commercial creator should be shot in the foot. The American Dream to own your own house, buy all you can on credit and spend, spend and spend.
    Doesn’t it feel great to feel free from debt. Heck if the roof needs a new roof than the law says the new roof has to be put on by the owner, and not the renter.
    Heck all you got to do is buy a good full-proof renters insurance policy to protect your stuff and if something happens then you get the cash and a new place to stay and the owner has to rebuild if they feel so inclined in such a rotten financial market we find ourselves in.
    Heck your story should be on tomorrow’s Today Show.
    Much enjoyed,
    michael

  3. Amen! And when you rent, you don’t “directly” pay for the $6000 drain tile installation that is currently going on in this house! Also, some people don’t like parsonages for their pastors. I do!

    BUT the most important thing about any home is…..can you have dogs live there or a least visit!

    Little E says hi!

    with infinite hope, Jim

  4. Pingback: There is a reason our material possesions are called trappings « philosophis+

  5. Interesting to note that wordpress has suggested under “Possibly related posts (automatically generated )” after the Renters Post:
    Best Buy Still A Good Bet – barrons.com
    U.K Aims to Ease Pain in Housing
    A Part of the Group
    It’s More than a Mortgage

    Maybe wordpress needs to reread your post.

  6. You know, I never really got it until reading this post. We got some of that same kind of attitude when we rented. (Ours was a different situation: land lords were really slow at fixing major issues. Ugh. It was also a cute little house, but we spent a small fortune in keeping it warm-ish because it was not heat efficient at all!)

    Having now been on both sides of the fence, I can truly understand the benefits of renting. I can also see benefits of owning! But for folks to look down on someone who has chosen something different . . . how silly and selfish. I’m sorry that you had to hear it from them, Sandie. You have a lovely house!!

  7. I want to stay in one place. I want to nurture my raspberries and strawberries. I like to have room to “loose” a truck in the back yard (which reminds me, I should pick up some more cinder blocks at Home Depot). But, that is me. You have beautiful home, but more importantly you are building something infinitely more valuable.

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