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5 Reasons Why Owning a Home Can Be a Real Drag

A look at the drawbacks to owning a home.

Credit: Westwood-Hillsdale Patch
Credit: Westwood-Hillsdale Patch

In my pursuit to find the perfect house, I’ve been surprised by how many homeowners have tried to deter me from taking the real estate plunge.

It’s no secret that owning property can be a great investment but, apparently, it can also be a royal pain in the … posterior.

Here are 5 of the top reasons I’ve been given to remain a renter:

1) Hidden costs:  Forking over cash for everything from property taxes, to a new boiler, to a tree pruner can really add up. As a renter, you know exactly what that roof over your head will set you back each month, and no broken pipes are going to eat into your entertainment budget.

2) Tax letdown: Financial writer for Forbes Kelly Phillips Erb adroitly explains what a lot of my home-owning friends have complained about. “Those alleged tax advantages,” she writes, “not quite what they are painted to be.” Citing fluctuating property taxes and the fact that you cannot deduct a loss on the sale of your home, Erb’s article, '11 Reasons Why I Never Want to Own a House Again,' did give me some serious pause.

3) Stunted social life:  Research out of the University of Pennsylvania completed post housing bubble doesn’t portray homeownership in the most flattering light: “The average homeowner tends to spend less time on active leisure or with friends, experiences more negative feelings during time spent with friends, derives less joy from love and relationships and is also less likely to enjoy being with people.” Dang.

4) All tied down: Although I’ve lived in the same apartment for more than a decade, I like to think that I can move my family to Paris with little hassle, should the opportunity arise. (Come on, opportunity!)

5) The big debt: This ties in with #4 above. Although it has a marginally nicer name, having a mortgage is having a debt. Unless you have a lot of cash to burn, investing in a home puts you in the hole.

I know there are many good reasons to buy property. Topping my list is the desire to leave something substantial to my children. However, being mindful of the disadvantages helps prevent me from rushing into an imperfect place.

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages to owning property? Tell is in the comments or in a blog post.


Pat Linde-Neidermeyer January 12, 2014 at 07:49 PM
How about a few simple ones like gaining more equity in your investment every time you make a mortgage payment? Eventually getting back the money you would have given away to someone else as rent when you sell the property? Yes,yes there were those who ended up owing more than the property was worth in the crash however most homeowners did not lose real equity, since they had not overextended themselves to begin with. And there are many types of homes available which do not require great investments of time such as condominiums for those who do not wish to spend their free time doing maintenance. I believe it is still the best way to go for long term housing.

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