7 Worst Reasons NOT to Buy a House

By Kentin Waits on 28 February 2018 0 comments

For most of us, our home is the biggest ticket item we'll ever buy. The amount of time, labor, and money this single transaction represents demands a clear head and clear motivations. Since we already know there are a lot of terrible reasons to buy a house, let's take a look at things from the other side. Here are the worst reasons not to buy a house.

1. The market may go bust

After the Great Recession of 2008, everyone's worried about buying at the top of a bubble. But if you dream of owning a home, you've amassed a healthy down payment, can easily afford the mortgage payment and property taxes, and plan to stay in your new home for a while, stop obsessing about what the market may or may not do. Get on with the business of living in a new home.

2. You don't like the cosmetics

The triple threat of bad landscaping, garish paint, and shag carpet has made many a real estate agent go prematurely gray. But cosmetics are just that — cosmetic. They can often quite inexpensively be changed. Instead of writing off a house because it's got a case of the uglies, channel your creativity. Make small modifications as your time and budget allow. (See also: Don't Let These 6 Home Décor Flaws Ruin Your House Hunt)

3. Your furniture won't fit

I admit it; I used to watch lot of house hunting shows on cable TV. And the one conclusion I drew from this voyeuristic exercise? Too many homebuyers are terrified that the things they already own simply won't fit, no matter how generous the proportions of the rooms.

I'm not sure it makes sense to reject a home — or homeownership in general — simply because you've amassed a collection of barge-like beds, sofas, and dining room tables. Here's a good rule of thumb: Don't let things that depreciate in value dictate your purchase of something that appreciates in value.

4. You're afraid it will be a bad investment

First and foremost, houses are meant to be lived in (and hey, we all gotta live somewhere). Those who approach homeownership purely as an investment often fail to realize one important fact: Houses are often a worse investment than letting your money grow in the stock market. (See also: Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment)

If you want to own your home rather than rent, buy a home. Live in it. Sell or rent it when you're ready to move on. You may come out ahead financially, or you may not. But in the meantime, you'll have lived in the home you wanted and that has value in and of itself.

5. Renters are happier than owners

Renters may be more carefree than homeowners, but that doesn't always translate into happiness. Renting puts you at the mercy of shifting economies, forces you to deal with a rotating parade of new neighbors (with whom you may share a wall or two), and provides little opportunity to customize or improve your space. Depending on your priorities, renting may be more of a drag than a delight.

6. You're scared of commitment

So, you say you're scared of commitment. Who isn't? But by avoiding homeownership, you're actually committing to something — spending more money on rent, not building equity, sacrificing a certain level of privacy, and potentially retiring with less security. There's proactive commitment and passive commitment. Which do you prefer?

7. You're worried about hidden issues

Remediating hidden issues can be expensive, but don't let unfounded fears get the best of you. Few homes are able to keep their secrets completely. Do your homework and don't skimp on the home inspection. Hire an experienced and certified professional, attend the inspection in person, and read the final report carefully. If a home has fatal flaws, move on. (See also: Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You)

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