Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peer Pressure

I remember the first time I started hearing about "peer pressure". I was in sixth grade and was made to believe I would fall victim of this mysterious idea everywhere I turned. Luckily for me, I've pretty much always marched to the beat of my own drum, so peer pressure didn't show up much during my adolescence.

That all changed when I hit my mid-20s. Some friends got married, others landed fantastic jobs with salaries to match. As a result, real estate began became a topic of discussion more frequently. Married friends bought houses, single friends bought condos (some did buy houses), and even though I had a HUGE apartment in the city with a rent that was practically unheard of, I began to feel the pressure.

Shortly before I turned 26, in 2006, I was promoted and earned a decent salary. It seemed like everyone around me was snatching up real estate, so I started looking around. I spoke with a mortgage broker and viewed several condos with a real estate agent. I looked at my finances and realized it would be a bit of a stretch to afford even the smallest of units, but I wanted to move forward anyway. Unfortunately, I wasn't approved for a loan.

I look back on that time now and think THANK GOD. I was laid off a year and a half later, then laid off again  later that same year. If I had bought a condo, it's likely I would've had to sell. Or worse, foreclose. I've since been renting.

The rent in my apartment is less than $700 per month. Total. And since I live with The Scientist, we split that. The management in our complex is extremely responsive, efficient, and flexible. If something breaks, it's fixed. If we want to paint a wall or change the light fixtures, it's usually approved. The grounds are maintained beautifully. It's safe. We have an excellent quality of life, and we're saving so much money by renting (which is incredibly important now since we're getting married next year).

Sure, buying is still part of the plan...eventually. But for now, I'm not giving into the pressure. Buying isn't always the best option, especially nowadays. If you're looking for an apartment in your area, consider using an apartment finding service, such as UMoveFree owned by Nick Barber, which helps people find Desoto, TX Apartments.

Do you own or rent? What are the pros and cons of your living situation?


14 comments:

  1. Ugh, I am so glad I'm not the only one who's been laid off twice in one lifetime! (I personally think once is enough!) Your rent is totally cheaper than mine, and yet I would say you live in such a higher cost of living area than Orlando! My rent is $750, but I have a 300 sq ft studio with no cable, no internet (I share with my neighbor), no oven, no microwave, and no freezer. Oh and no bathtub! Haha. BUT... the pros of where I live is that I am super close to the freeway (and toll road if I want, blah), right in the middle of downtown so I can walk pretty much anywhere (if going out or to dinner downtown) and it's a safe area. It's definitely one of the nicest parts of town (next to Windermere, where Tiger Woods lives, blah) so the price is ridiculous but being able to walk everywhere is definitely a HUGE advantage!

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  2. LOVE it. Buying hasn't been a priority of mine at all yet, because I haven't committed to a place to live. Your rent is amazing, and if you can save some money while loving where you're living? KUDOS :)

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  3. Thank you! 2006 was when we pushed so many people who shouldn't be buying into buy and it was an artificially inflated market. I just read that they're coming out and saying that house prices aren't rising ANY time soon so we still have more than enough time to figure out what we really want!

    Since getting married I've heard the "when are y'all going to settle down and buy" comment over and over again. And guess what, we're not! We have no need to get into a mortgage right now in our 20s, who knows where we'll be in 2 years!

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  4. And a lot of people who bought houses during that time paid more than they are now worth and they are stuck! We are going to try and move next year to be closer to work and getting enough money out of this house to live closer to Seattle is going to be tough (selling at ALL might be tough!)

    PS-- it is possible that you didn't have peer pressure in HS because all your friends were from church? ;)

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  5. How great is hindsight?! Yeah, sure you were bummed when you didn't get the loan, but it all worked out good in the end. Sounds like you've got a great situation now.

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  6. I've thought about buying, but not seriously. Until I am making more than enough to pay a mortgage and feel established somewhere, it's not happening, which could take quite a while. Plus, owning a home is A LOT of responsibility. For now I'm happy to let someone else do the dirty work.

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  7. I rent an apt right now and LOVE my place, but I'm also dying for a house. I pay $700 + utilities and on a good month it's maybe $750-$760 total. Not horrible considering how nice my place is plus all its features & it's in a good neighborhood. However, I really want a house of my own to paint and decorate and have house projects. Heck, I wouldn't even mind yardwork! My parents said they'll help me buy a house, but I don't think I can afford it even then. So for now I'll stick with my apt (even though I feel like I'm throwing money away on rent, when I could really potentially own). The biggest pro to renting is that I'm not stuck with something in case something happens with my job or I want to move.

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  8. My 1st reaction to this post was "OMG how does she only pay $700/month?!?!" since the cheapest I've paid was $850. But I get what you're saying about the pressure to buy. Our pressure came from M's family for the house, but it just happened to be the right time for us. With low interest rates and house prices the way they are we couldn't help it (and got a great deal).

    But once you get a house then it's all the other pressures. Someone has a better backyard, or their entertainment center is cooler, etc. etc. The key is not to let it get to you. Easier said than done though.

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  9. i'm sorry, i just died when i heard your rent.

    the lowest i've ever paid was $575, when i was right out of college, and that was just my share of a super-basic apartment i split with 2 other girls. it was not within walking distance of anything.

    i'm also SO GLAD i never found myself in a position to buy! although i guess i shouldn't knock it - i now live with my boyfriend, in the condo he owns :)

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  10. I wish that I hadn't bought a condo right before law school. I mean, I knew that I would be there for three years because of school, but it actually ended up being two years before moving in with CP! So I ended up taking a loss on selling the place when I just could have rented. Oh well.

    Now we own and I LOVE LOVE LOVE our house. It is a great size for us (even if we have kids) and I love our neighborhood. Plus, we got a GREAT interest rate so I can't complain right now!

    I can't believe your rent is so low. That is AMAZING.

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  11. My rent is a lot more than that, but I'm totally cool with renting. I doubt I'd be paying less if I bought, plus I'd be out a ton of money for the down payment, closing costs, etc. I'm not all that confident in the housing market, either, and I don't want to get stuck with something that is losing value and then sell for less than I bought it for. I'm also not 100% what the next few years of my life will hold and I'd hate to be tied down to property. I feel like EVERYONE is buying, but it's just not something I'm worried about yet.

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  12. Oh my gosh I totally relate to this - people ALWAYS say to Ben and me "this is such a good time to buy." I have absolutely no desire to buy anything right now. Just because it's a good buyer's market doesn't magically mean we have the massive amount of money for a down payment, and closing costs, and the money to be able to fix anything that might go wrong. They make me roll my eyes.

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  13. The market is so strange. It's like nothing we've ever been told. We got those great jobs and salaries, and bought. Now we can't get out. But we do have a better idea of what we want now so when the time comes hopefully we'll get more of what we want. If they take away the tax benefits of owning a home though, I'll never buy again!

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  14. I like this post! I'm at the age where everyone is doing the same things- buying, marrying, having kids, etc. Not that any of those things are bad but you have to remind yourself that you don't have to be where everyone is. Unlike a lot of people who want to buy right now, I don't want to at all and don't see myself doing it until 30+. First off, like you said - I like having things taken care of! It's nice to have things fixed and maintained without having to do it all yourself. Secondly, I want to be nomadic so I'm not ready to secure myself here and thirdly, I just like the ability to save while I figure out where I want to be. And 700 rent/2 must be saving you a crapton (such lovely wording), that's beyond awesome and will be so worth it in the end.

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Talk to me, Goose.