Johnny and I are looking forward to the day we become home owners. The money we’re currently saving each month is a little bit more toward a future down payment. We can sometimes be heard saying, “It will be so nice when we have our own house because…” as we yearn for the day that we’re no longer renters. But as Johnny and I discussed in a post earlier this year, we have some fairly substantial reasons for not yet taking the plunge into home ownership. As a recap, here are some of the reasons we haven’t done the deed of having a deed:
- We’d like to put down a significant down payment. Our initial goal was at least 20% down, and we’re hoping for that and more.
- We want to make sure we’ll be settled for at least a few years before we buy. So far our marriage has consisted of a lot of moving around!
- Johnny’s career field can be fairly transient, so we want to make sure that’s settled, too.
- We enjoy the perks of renting: no unexpected costs, easier mobility, and less responsibility.
In the past month, Johnny and I have been especially grateful for that last bullet point. Our current condo is about seven years old. It looks new, but we’ve realized things are not always as they seem. Thanks to renting, the following mishaps over the past month have inconvenienced us, but not our wallet:
- Out of the blue, our dishwasher quit working. A repairman determined that a new one was needed, and I revisited the dishwasherless and pruney-fingers days of our past until it was installed.
- Our water heater was making loud exploding noises that sounded dangerous. A maintenance guy came out and assured us that it was just hard water buildup — annoying, but nothing to worry about… yet.
- As I was doing laundry, our washing machine started shaking and leaking water. A repairman came out and did what repairmen do.
- A pipe froze in our laundry room (it’s been sub-freezing here), once again making it impossible to do laundry. Two repairmen later, and the pipe was thawed and usable again this past Monday.
- Last night, our daughter’s bedroom ceiling began leaking water from our neighbor’s snow-covered terrace directly above. Today, maintenance men worked to fix the leak before we get more snow. Meanwhile, water is now leaking directly from the light fixture in her room for some unknown reason. Hopefully all will be resolved before Christmas. And, don’t fret, she is sleeping safely in our office for the time being.
- Today during Baby Girl’s nap, as I tried to keep a good attitude about our leaking ceiling, I put in a load of laundry (still catching up on dirty laundry from the frozen pipe incident). Ten minutes later, I went downstairs to find water flowing underneath the door of the laundry room. Apparently our washer is broken once again. A repairman will be coming on Friday.
Suffice it to say that we’ve had a string of bad luck. Ya think? But our landlord has taken care of all of these expenses, and we’re out $0. The only annoyance is that sometimes our landlord’s timeline isn’t quite as efficient as our own timeline. And in a related unlucky note, last week our vacuum broke, so that’s one thing we will have to spend money on soon. Truth be told, these are all just minor inconveniences, so we really can’t complain. But we have learned a few things from them.
What We’ve Learned
- Having so much bad luck with our rental lately has made us realize how important it will be to have liquid savings and a fully-funded emergency fund once we’re home owners. Things will break. Crap will happen. We’ll have to shell out money to fix our home from time to time.
- We’ve also realized what to look out for in potential future homes. How old are the appliances/water heater/roof? If they’ll need replacing soon, we should factor that into the cost. And we should look for warning signs that the home was poorly constructed.
- We will never, ever buy without having a thorough home inspection done. Like I said, our rental looks picture perfect.
So while we look forward to the day when we can plant our own garden, mow our own lawn (oddly, we’re both excited for this), and sit on our own porch, for now — especially this past month — we’re more than happy being renters.
Home owner? Renter? Please share your wisdom.