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03/16/2010

Does an $8K tax credit mean you should buy a house?

For sale.001  To buy or not to buy? That is the question!  There are only two months left to receive the extended $8K, first-time homebuyer tax credit.  Signs everywhere read “Nothing like this will happen again!” and  “Don’t say I wish I would’ve bought after it’s too late!” The urgency makes me nervous.   I’ve been thinking about and looking into buying a home. I would be a first-time homebuyer.  Seems like the right time.  Right?

What would buying a home mean to me and my family?  Oh, we would have EQUITY!  A sense of SECURITY! And I think something else that would end with ITY!  When it comes down to it, buying a home freaks me out.  The amount of money for the down payment, the cost of taxes, the actual fixing of things, and the lost sense of mobility all have me saying, “is this really the right choice for me?”   I like having the opportunity to pick up and move.  That makes me feel free -- and when you have kids, a 9-5 job, and responsibilities, there’s not a whole lot to make you feel free.  But the perception of being able to still have some control over something without having to worry about selling a house feels good.  Not that I’m going to just pick up and move away, but for some reason the gypsy in me likes the option. Then the fixing, ho boy! I’m not handy nor do I like having to worry about broken heaters and what it would cost to fix them.  I personally like being able to pick up the phone and have someone else take care of it at no additional cost to me.  

Having said that, there are wonderful things about ownership. It feels like your home. You can expand, take down walls, paint, and make it YOUR HOME.  You don’t have to share walls with neighbors. I get this. I’m sure it’s lovely (especially not sharing walls with neighbors,) but to me home has always been where you make it.  It could be my mindset from having moved around as a child, or having moved almost every two years in my adult life.  Because I’ve never had a childhood home, the idea seems sort of abstract and while I’d like my daughter have a bit more permanence in her life, I think our moves are planned, calculated, and that our living freely works for us.  Maybe because it makes me happy, and happy mommy trickles down to happy kid. 

I’ve tried very hard to put my head in that space of, “Buying a home is the right thing to do.  Buying a home is the right next step. Now is the time.”  When I’m honest with myself, it’s not the right time.  It’s not right for me.  And this past week, when I came to terms with myself and said, “I don’t want to buy a house,” the amount of relief and stress that left my shoulders astonished me.  The amount of financial freedom I have -- for being a single parent, a family with one income -- allows more of a secure feeling to me than owning a home. 

 When not contemplating life altering large purchases, Mollie blogs over at Fish Food.  

This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

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