What I Don’t Want Our House to Be

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Buying a home can be wonderful, but it can also turn into a money pit. Here are our priorities to make sure we land on our feet on the other side of home ownership.

Our latest financial obsession has definitely been saving for a home.  We want our home to be a place where our family can grow.  We want it to be a place where we can play outside.  We want it to be a place where we have enough room for all of the people in our family.  We want it to be a place where we hold family dinners with our extended family; a place where memories are born.

However, there are several things we don’t want our home to be.  They’re what make this saving process so important, as impatient as we may be.

We Don’t Want Our House to be a Starter Home

We plan on only doing this once.  We don’t want to buy and then upgrade in a few years.  We want to find something that’s modest, but can actually accommodate our needs long-term.  There are a litany of reasons for this.  Emotionally topping the list is the fact that at one point in my life, I moved five times in one year.  Moving is such a drain, and I can’t even imagine the stress of it now that we have kids.

But there are financial reasons, too.  We don’t want to buy a home, hope that it’ll sell for a profit, and then have to shell out ludicrous amounts of money in realtor fees in the process.  We also don’t want to live somewhere for so short of a time that all of the money we’ve spent in the first few years “paying off our mortgage” has actually just gone to interest without building any equity.

We Don’t Want Our House to Be a Financial Burden

While we want to buy enough house, we don’t want to buy so much that it becomes a financial burden.   Finding the right lender will be key when we’re shopping around for the best interest rates.  Finding a good home inspector will be of the utmost importance so that we don’t hit too many costly and necessary home repairs right after we move in.

But another important factor in not buying too much house will be the utilities.  Even if we have a super low mortgage payment, it will be all for naught if we’re spending a crazy amount of money just to heat our home.  Buying too much land that needs to be manicured would be costly, too, even if we do want a place for our kids to play outside.

We Don’t Want Our House to Be an Investment

I understand why people get into realty.  It can be a great investment if you manage everything properly.  But when we’re buying a house that we’re going to be living in, I don’t want to look at it as an investment.  To me, and investment is something I have the capability to sell off in return for financial gain.  The plan for us is to buy a house, pay down the mortgage (either quickly or over the course of the loan; we’ll have to see what our other financial priorities are at that point,) and then live the rest of our lives only paying property taxes.

If we viewed our home as an investment, it means there would be a potential to sell it for money somewhere down the line.  If we sold, we’d either have to garner enough of a profit to buy another house outright, take out a new mortgage on a new place, or go back to renting.  The second two would cost us money monthly, which would kind of be defeating our goal.  The first one I view as unlikely to happen.  I may be very wrong.  As we all have learned,  housing markets can change in the blink of an eye, nonetheless over the lifetime we plan on living in this house that we’re saving for.

How do you feel about your house?  Did you have a starter home or consider your house an investment?





19 thoughts on “What I Don’t Want Our House to Be

  1. Petrish (@Debtfreemartini)

    I agree that if you look at your home as an investment you may buy something that you don’t love, but something that would have a large appeal to the buyers market. You know I don’t see anything wrong with these reasons and I wish you the best of luck.

  2. Kate

    Sigh, I’ve been thinking about home buying for awhile too, but various financial situations have come up that delay the process. The market in the Pittsburgh area seems to be changing pretty quickly, so I wish you all the best for that perfect place!

    1. femmefrugality

      I hear you…that was us for years. And we still have a long way to go, but since we made it a serious priority we’ve been able to chunk some change away. I hope it’s not changing too quickly, because we’re not ready quite yet regardless. Would you stay up north? Avoid those Allegheny county taxes!

  3. kay ~ lifestylevoices.com

    You’ve really thought this thing through perfectly. I can tell you, as someone who has bought 2 homes for investment purposes, that it never really feels like home when you do that. It’s a very transient feeling. Best wishes on getting everything you want in your home, Ms. Femme. I love your priorities! 🙂

  4. donebyforty

    I love your thinking around this purchase: you’re looking at the home in all the right ways. Buy it for life, buy it once if you can. Houses are a huge pain, buying and selling. I tell everyone I can to take a long hard look at renting.

    1. femmefrugality

      Exactly. I’m trying to minimize my housing stress long-term. Rent is getting outrageous. But I’m sure I’ll find the grass a little greener on this side of the equation once I own, too.

  5. Jason

    I really like your thinking here femmefrugality, taking a truly long-term perspective. We’ve just recently purchased a new home that I’m sure we’ll be in forever, but it’s taken us three ‘steps’ to get here – apartment, ‘starter house’ then our current family home. I wouldn’t change anything about our journey, as we’re very fortunate to end up where we have, but those costs of buying and selling each time are extraordinary!!

    Best of luck finding a great,permanent family home!



  6. Chela @SmashOdyssey

    I´m definitely with you on the not wanting a starter home, especially for emotional reasons. I absolutely hate moving–it´s so draining and stressful–I don´t want to ever move with plans to move again in a few years!

  7. Tre (@houseoftre)

    We bought a starter home and sold it for about what we paid. Now we are looking for our forever home, but haven’t found it yet. Part of the challenge is defining what we really want in our forever home.

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  9. Healthfulsaver

    We have been in our starter home for 15 years! Another consideration is taxes. We are in a very high tax state with excellent schools. We get the perks of a high tax state but our taxes are reasonable because our house is 3 bdrm/1bath. We could add a bath, but that increases our taxes.

  10. Aaron

    This is an awesome perspective. If you don’t view your home as an investment, only a place to live, then you never have to worry about “what the market is doing”, and you’ll never leave a place you love because it’s financially beneficial.

    Great piece!

  11. Cat

    Home buying won’t be on the horizon for us for a long time, if ever, but were it to be, I’d feel the same way about it. I’d want to by the house where I was planning to stay, move in, and be done with it. We’ve been in our apartment for more than 15 years now, and when I think of all the memories we’ve made in 15 years, it makes me sad that we will leave it at some point. If I were to get a house, I wouldn’t want to have to do that again. So I wish you good luck and godspeed getting your savings together and getting into your new home, and getting there for the long haul!

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