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.

Donna Leo January 12, 2014 at 03:31 PM
I totally agree...I was told of the"tax advantage" and to this day I am not sure if it really is. There are those assessments when you buy a condominium (which made sense for me as a single person) that went toward the legal fees suing the builder for defects. The property taxes keep going up while the value goes down. There was the flood caused by a leak from the ice maker (I never hooked it back up) that went all the way through to the subfloor in the kitchen and the bathroom so I had to live in a hotel for four months (!) while that was fixed. Of course then there were the upgrades over and above what the insurance paid because if it's going to be replaced, make it so if you want to sell it will add to the value of the property. There went $7000+. Now that I'm retired and on the "fixed budget" plan the only advantage is that no one can kick me out. You're right about the water heater replacement which was another $1000. So, in short, it's tough to see an advantage to owning a home.


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