When you’re 28 (and 10 months), 5 years is a long time (17.341% of your life, actually). Two days ago, I celebrated 17.341% of my life as a home owner. For many, this is to be celebrated. For those who bought around the time I did (2007), it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s supposed to be a ‘great accomplishment’ and the ‘American Dream’. On the other hand, I bought at the peak of the housing market, with high interest rates and inflated home values. 5 years later, I continue to pay for both.
While there are certain advantages to owning my own place (like my upcoming home improvement project of a new kitchen back-splash, the ‘certainty’ of knowing you don’t have to move when a lease expires, and the comfort of making a place your own), there’s also a feeling that no one predicted when they encouraged me to buy 5 years ago. The feeling that you’re on a leash and can’t leave. The feeling that you can’t rent your home for what it’s worth. And, the feeling that you will never see the ‘value’ come back above water. These certainly aren’t truths that the realtor or mortgage lender sold 5 years ago. I don’t say all of this to point the finger at the real estate professionals. I take personal responsibility. But, it all lends to the point that you never know what you don’t know. You make the best choices you can with the information you have available to you at the time. 5 years ago, this was the best decision for me. Hopefully in a few more years, it will look like that again.