I wrote this entry in 2008, with the following passage:
Last night, Ryan and I came to the conclusion that we could possibly afford to own a home in Ithaca. The median house price there is $255,000 as opposed to where we live now, where the median house price is $1.5 million.
This was an amazing excitement and I went to sleep thinking about what color I would paint the walls and what sorts of bulbs I would plant in the garden and how much money could go towards horse shows if we were spending less on a mortgage than we would on rent.
This has become a looming possibility. We have an actual meeting with loan officer today. The house is pretty much what I was picturing, in a scary sort of way.
I'm really anxious, though, because I am worried about the commitment and the expense and whether or not Ryan thinks this is a good idea - or even whether or not I think this is a good idea. It's a difficult situation because no one can tell me whether or not it is a good idea. Everyone has their own ideals.
I don't buy into this idea that owning a house is always better. Take for example property taxes in our area. Some houses have taxes that are the same as our rent. Would it make any sense at all to buy a house when we'd be "losing" the same amount of money per year with nothing to show for it and our savings severely depleted? This house we're looking at has property taxes of quite a bit less than that but still possibly more per month leaving our bank account than if we just rented. On top of a mortgage payment, it seems potentially not worth it. So how to get around this? Do we buy out of town? We're less likely to be able to rent it out after we leave and might have a harder time selling it. Ryan is perfectly happy living in a "suburb of Ithaca" but I would rather live in town, in very specific areas (I'm such a snob) or completely out of town.
I just think it's really weird that people can be so sure about buying being the right answer - this is one of those things that goes on that long list of things that I think I didn't get a memo about. A few other selections
-Women being obsessed with babies that happen to be in the same room as them regardless of relatedness said woman has to either the baby or the parent of said baby.
-Women going to the bathroom together, among many other social behaviours that I find baffling.
-Okay, I've reviewed the list and most of it is female behaviour in general (wedding fever comes to mind, rather strongly).
But the house thing isn't female behaviour, it's just current culture: It comes down to status/conspicuous consumption. You are considered a success if you can afford a house. You are considered weird if you can't afford a house/haven't bought one by a certain age. This is not to say that purchasing a house is not the right thing for certain people at certain times in their life. I liken it to my feelings about marriage or may be more specifically weddings: there is too much pressure to do it and not enough thought about it. Similarly, before I got married, I never assumed I would get married. I just thought I would continue as I had, (because there was very little chance I'd like anyone enough to want to stay with them forever) one long term relationship after the next with a few dalliances in between, until I was a crazy lady in a long white nightgown.* I never assumed I would be a homeowner, maybe because I'm just not really all that mature enough to do adult things like "plan for the future".
Obviously there are some pluses to owning a house, but I'm pretty sure everyone is quite familiar with those. Now, off to Apartment Therapy and think about paint colours along with sofa cushions that might match them.
*From an old blog:
James told me my future today. I was telling him about a guy I went on a few dates with that I just couldn't get interested in, despite his many good qualities. He was older and I don't think he'd spent much time with a girl like me.
I was explaining to James what I meant about "like me".
"You know...different. My friends are like me...but..you know..."
"Yeah Alice, you're fucking weird."
I didn't know how to take that, however he then told me that he'd seen my future.
"You'll have you're own house and a white nightgown. You won't get married, but you'll have friends. Everyone will think you're crazy except you. You'll be one of those ladies that goes to the same restaurants all the time but always orders something not on the menu."