There are a lot of pros and cons to homeownership that people don't think about before buying. A house is a huge purchase - don't make it blindly.

The Pros & Cons of Owning a House (From a Renter’s Perspective)

There are a lot of pros and cons to homeownership that people don't think about before buying. A house is a huge purchase - don't make it blindly.Owning a house as a primary residence has never, ever been part of my plans.

I’ve been perfectly fine with the idea of renting ever since I moved out of my parent’s house.

However, my boyfriend owns a house (he purchased it before we were dating), and I moved in with him after I left Texas since it made the most sense all-around.

A number of months have passed, so I figured now would be a good time to sum up the pros and cons of “owning” a house…from the perspective of someone who would rather be renting.

(So no, I don’t technically own the house, but I do pay rent, and I have purchased/split the cost of furniture and whatnot. My boyfriend insists it’s “our” house, so there you go.)

I find that a lot of people make it their “plan” to become a homeowner after settling down because it’s part of the classic American dream. It’s what we’ve been told and taught to do after graduating and getting full-time jobs.

However, I don’t think it’s a good idea to do something “just because” it’s what everyone else has been doing for years. I always challenge the status quo – especially when it comes to huge purchases – because I want to stick to my values, not society’s values.

My thoughts? I firmly believe a house isn’t an investment, unless, of course, you buy it with the goal of making it a rental property.

A house is also likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Why go into that purchase blindly?

Here are some of my unconventional thoughts on the subject (in slight rant form) to hopefully shed some light on homeownership for those who are thinking about it.

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can you stand the heat

Can You Stand the Heat?

It’s a simple question, really: What temperature does your house have to reach before you let the air conditioner kick on?

Well, I know not everyone has central air in their homes, but if you had to guess, what would that number be?

can you stand the heat

AC troubles

I hate to talk about this before Summer even starts, but what can I say, I’m still not used to Southern weather! It’s mostly in the 60s where I used to live, so I feel like it is Summer!

I had mentioned that our AC unit wasn’t functioning properly in my last post, and I guess maintenance doesn’t work on the weekends, so we’ve been without it for the past five days. Let’s rewind.

The issue honestly started around ten days ago, when I noticed some odd sounds coming from the closet where our unit is kept (I’m horrible with HVAC stuff so forgive my terminology; it’s a water heater with some sort of AC ventilation on top. Our actual AC is on the roof.). Then we had something of a cold front, so we kept the AC off for about four days.

When my parents came over, we turned the AC on, since my mom can’t live without it. We normally have it set for around 76 degrees, as I tend to get cold around 75ish. If I have to wear a hoodie in the apartment, it’s kind of silly to keep it cooler!

We noticed it wasn’t really making a difference in the temperature, though. It hovered around 78 degrees, and would routinely reach 80. As a result, it was also running constantly, which I wasn’t happy about. Our recent electric bill certainly reflects that. We didn’t think turning it on and off was the best idea, either, but we honestly have never had to deal with this before.

I ended up putting in a maintenance request once my dad took a look at the unit and discovered that it was frozen! There was ice all over where the air filter sits; it looked like the inside of a freezer.

Thursday

I put the request in Wednesday night, and at around 4pm on Thursday, someone showed up. Long story short, he figured out that the unit was low on freon, and refilled it, saying that everything should be fine.

Everything was fine for a short while. The temperature dropped one degree, and then stagnated. My dad looked at the unit again, and the ice was back.

Friday

I put in another maintenance request Thursday night, and R actually received a call from one of the property managers late on Friday, apologizing for the delay. He was told that backup maintenance guys would arrive within 30 minutes. It turns out there were multiple AC issues occurring throughout the complex! That was comforting.

They arrived on time and defrosted the unit. They then said they were going up to the roof to investigate further. I sat there and waited…and waited…and finally R came home, and went to look for them. They had been gone for about an hour, and we had wanted to go walking.

Turns out they got “side tracked” at the building across from us, and resumed their work on our unit. They did the same exact thing the other guy did, and refilled the freon. Upon their departure, I guess I made a skeptical face when they said we should be fine now, and reassured me everything was fine. According to this guy, there wasn’t a leak to worry about…but then where did the freon go from Thursday?? I had told them what happened!

Can you stand the heat? The hot and sweaty weekend

Sure enough, we turned on the AC, and even though the maintenance guys had an infrared reading at 72 degrees coming out of the vents, the temperature only dropped 2 degrees that night. Yet another maintenance request was submitted, but we didn’t think we would see anyone until Tuesday.

Turns out we were right, and Monday was the hottest day of all. Our thermostat read 85 degrees. Previously, it had topped out at about 81.

Thankfully, Saturday was somewhat cool, and Sunday wasn’t completely unbearable, but Monday was rough. Now, I have to say, I completely recognize that these are first world problems. We could have absolutely no access to air conditioning whatsoever. But we were still asking ourselves if we could endure the summer heat without the help of the AC. Heck, it’s not even summer yet, so it worried us a bit.

I’m usually the person that is either comfortable or cold when it’s 70 degrees out, so normally, I’d say “85 degrees? Whatever!” But this weekend has taught me that I am not invincible where heat is concerned. Plus it makes you tired, which means we had a rather unproductive weekend. We enjoyed relaxing, but I had other plans in store.

I’m also just not happy that it’s going on the third try of fixing this issue. No one likes waiting around all day for a repairman, and I don’t really feel comfortable not being here, so I have to suck it up. We are both hoping that they finally figure out what is going on, as we don’t want to have this recurring issue to worry about.

At this point, I am feeling pretty grateful that we have two little fans and a ceiling fan in the living room. We’ve also been opening the windows, which provides for a decent cross-breeze. On the upside, the cats are enjoying being a little closer to the outdoors! If all else had failed, we could have gone to the pool to cool down, or to a store to bask in the glory of air conditioning. We managed!

I have to admit, when it was around 80, I think my body was adjusting to the warmer temperature. I wasn’t as bothered as I had been in previous days. So maybe we can get away with setting the AC a bit higher. More powerful fans wouldn’t hurt, either. I have to laugh as I wrote that post in July of last year!

Do you have central air, or a window AC unit? What temperature is it set to? What do you do to cool off?

apartment tour

Apartment Tour!

I’ve been meaning to get this post up, so I hope you’re all ready to take a little inside peek of our apartment!

Backstory

apartment tourIf you’re a new reader here, I just recently moved from NY to NC as my boyfriend received a job promotion and transfer. We were really looking forward to paying less for just about everything, and were excited to make this move as we’re opening a new chapter in our lives.

I am fanatical about doing research. This is not an exaggeration; R would be willing to tell you how long it takes for me to reach decisions =). I spent many days before the move, and after the move (in the hotel), figuring out what area would be best for us to live in.

Since most leasing offices closed around 6, R had to leave his job during the day to go look at apartments. Thankfully they’re really lax there, but we only had about an hour or so each day. That wasn’t going to fly.

That’s why when the special on this apartment came up, we took it. Against my “omgIcantcommittothisrightaway” mindset, we went for it on the spot. It filled me with both anxiety and excitement!

So what made me pull the trigger when I otherwise normally wouldn’t? The special was too good to pass up. The complex was having a great sale, and I can tell you with certainty we would not have looked here otherwise, as their prices are a bit high.

Our layout normally goes from $1,200-$1,300. We have a two bed/two bath setup. Yikes! We were paying $1,250 at our last place, so while we were getting much more bang for our buck, we wanted to decrease our housing costs, not increase them.

They were offering $899 base rent, plus a package that included water, cable, trash pick-up, internet and pest control for an additional $83. So all in all, we pay $982 a month for this awesome place. Electric is the only utility we are responsible for.

We basically estimated around $1,050 for costs all together when we started looking, and we are happy with what we got. R is making a decent amount more, and considering gas prices and car insurance is lower, we are still saving.

Is this truly my ideal apartment?

Some of you might remember that I posted what my ideal apartment would look like. For fun, let’s take a look back and see how close this apartment comes to ticking off all the boxes.

  • Dishwashercheck! Although it doesn’t leave things as sparkling clean as I would like.
  • Washer/Dryercheck! The unit is in a closet across from our bedroom. It’s quite noisy but it gets the job done.
  • Big kitchencheck! Our kitchen counter spans the entire wall, and then we have an island, so we have all the counter space we need and then some. We also have a few cabinets that aren’t being used. 
  • Pantrycheck! It’s on the small side, but it is enough to leave us with those unused cabinets in case we need them.
  • Two beds/two bathscheck and check! Our guest room barely has anything in it, and my intention is to use it as an office or as a little craft room. R can get painting done in there. Our cats seem to like it, too.
  • Proximity to R’s jobcheck! There is a main interstate he could have used to get to his job, but it is awfully congested. Our apartment is situated on the perfect back road that gets in there in 15 minutes or less.
  • Near a parkcheck, though we haven’t been there yet. This is horrible, but we still haven’t really explored the area. I know the place nearby has some trails.
  • Open conceptcheck! As you’ll see, the kitchen completely leads out into the living room. Then there’s a hallway that contains the bedrooms and bathrooms. I love how big the living room is.
  • Deckcheck! We have our own little outdoor space, overlooking some trees. Lots of birds pass by, I’ve seen a rabbit and R has seen a gecko.

Wow, apparently we found the perfect apartment! I just kept a mental checklist and it looks like it was spot on. I’ll mention that it’s also much quieter. There is some construction going on as they are getting three more buildings up, but they’re in the beginning stages and should be done by September. There’s also a lot of dogs here, and sometimes they get a bit carried away with barking.

Nevertheless, it’s by far much better than where we were before. We also have a pool, a small fitness room, wifi cafe, free Starbucks machine thingy, and they have plans for a dog park, saltwater pool and bigger business center.

Additionally, a huge mall is right down the road (we walked around once; mall’s aren’t our thing), along with a Super Target and tons of food options. Unfortunately, they are mostly chains, and half are fast-food, but I guess it’s good to have options, right?

Apartment tour!

You can click on each for a larger picture.

As you can see, there’s a decent amount of space being unused. The bathroom picture was taken before we actually got everything in here; we do use that! We’d like to get a coffee table to go in the middle of the living room, and eventually we’d like to get a reading chair or something in the corner (can’t see it from the picture). On the wall opposite the couch is just the TV right now, and according to my mom, it looks lost there!

That said, I am going to fight cramming a bunch of furniture in here that isn’t functional. I don’t want to be one of those people that uses their spare bedrooms for storage, either. I think we have enough right now!

Do you make good use out of the space in your house/apartment, or is it a bit crowded?