Why I’m Buying My First Home at 35

Here’s a personal confession, I’m 35 years old and I still rent an apartment. I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t she a financial planner?” Yes, I am and let me tell you that I would continue to rent forever if I could because in my personal opinion buying a home isn’t for everyone.

However, with all that being said, our (I live with my spouse Nick. He’s not my husband, we aren’t married, but we’ve been together for 17 years and honestly I’m sick of calling him my boyfriend, but no hard feelings) living situation has changed and instead of looking for another apartment we decided to buy our first home.

Do you own your home?

According to Zillow.com the average age of a first time homebuyer is 33. At what age did you buy your first home? My parents were married at 19 and bought their first house at 23. Who can afford to buy a house at 23?

When I was 23 I still had student loan debt, had no idea what life or financial responsibility was all about and I was definitely not in an emotional state to buy my first home. To tell you the truth I don’t really want to buy a home now, but I don’t think there’s another choice.

Is becoming a first time homebuyer a good choice?

I always associate buying a home with becoming an adult and I have no interest in doing that. I like paying one bill every month – in the form of rent – and I enjoy living carefree. If the roof starts to leak (which it did last winter) I can call the landlord, if there’s a weird smell coming from the laundry room (which happened last year) I can call the landlord. When I’m a homeowner I have to deal with all of that and it’s of no interest to me. Doesn’t renting seem like the much easier choice?!

Buying a home isn’t always a good investment

When I met the real estate agent and explained we want to buy our first home, the first question she asked was “why do you still rent? It’s such a waste of money.” I couldn’t disagree more. According to Bloomberg 1.5 million Americans have lost their homes since the housing crisis. I think all of those people would agree that buying a home isn’t always a good investment.

Paying rent is giving someone else money for a service, since when is that a waste of money? If I was paying rent and not living in the apartment it would be a waste of money, but Nick and I are getting something out of it so I’m not sure why that’s a waste of money.

The real estate agent continued on her home buying rant and said “When you leave you’ll have nothing in your pocket.” That’s true, I won’t have a large chunk of change from selling a house, but I had a nice place to live for the past few years with a roof over my head. That’s a win-win in my book.

We’re moving because our landlord sucks – I’ll tell you all about it later – and his behavior has pushed us towards homeownership, that combined with the need to avoid living in an apartment beside neighbors.

My question to you is, how did you know when it was time to buy your first home?



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9 thoughts on “Why I’m Buying My First Home at 35

  • Congrats!!! Good luck with it all!!

    I’m 36 and happily rent myself after trying home ownership for a solid (and not fun) 8 years, haha… I agree it’s not for everyone, so well done sticking to what’s best for YOU regardless of what people think. You’ll have to let us know how it goes once you’re moved in and experiencing it to see if you like it better or the same or not as much (hopefully not the latter!). We’ll prob buy again once we’re finally settled, but for now it’s a rental life for us 🙂

    Hope to see you this week in San Diego!

    • Hey J,

      I’m scared out of my pants, but that’s just because I’m comfortable renting. It’s time for us to go. I think you made a great point that if it’s not for us we can always sell and go back to the easy life of renting.

      Unfortunately I won’t be in SD, but I’ll be following along on Twitter. Have a great time!

  • You know, my husband and I have been renting for the past 3 years together. I rented apartments up until I met him. I am 26 and he is 28. Financially, we’re probably not ready to buy a home. The numbers aren’t there. The personal finance bloggers I know would have a hay day as to why we should not buy a home. BUT we hate renting. We are so sick of it.

    We want to buy so badly we can’t hardly stand it. Maybe it’s because everywhere we’ve lived, our landlords or rental management companies haven’t been great and we’ve ended up investing more into the apartments than we should have. We have a dog, so we definitely would like a yard.

    And we’re in a particular situation because I’m in the military and we’re eligible for a VA loan, so buying is a little easier. There’s no down payment or PMI (which again, I know we should have a down payment whether it’s required or not). Ultimately, we just want a house. We don’t know that we’re ready, but we do know that we’re tired of the rent fees and the price increases and moving every year to find the best deal. This is how we know.

    It might not work out for us. We might end up hating it. But I think I’d rather make the mistake now than later. Am I crazy? I hope you are happy with your decision to buy a home and I hope it brings you happiness as time progresses. I don’t think anyone should buy a home begrudgingly. Anyways, I look forward to reading more and hearing more about the process and how you feel about it later on, whether you love it or hate it.

  • I’m a Realtor-and I never give the ‘your wasting your money’ pitch because owning isn’t for everyone-period. So I don’t think it’s bad if you rent forever…there are other ways to build wealth.

    And there were a few years that we owned AND rented. Basically, we outgrew my little condo and rented it to a tenant-then we rented a larger place. It was much more beneficial financially to own a rental then own as a resident. I enjoy renting even though I plan to own again-lets me lead a stress free life.

    • That’s interesting Rashida. Although having extra income every month is tempting, I think having tenants would be a huge headache. I can’t even buy my own home, let alone buy a house to take care of to rent out. Hats off to you. I guess being a Realtor helps with the patience to deal with other people 🙂

  • OH my gosh Liz we should switch lives. I love renting and you hate it. I want to keep renting and you want to buy a home. Ah life. A house vs. an apartment is also a big decision – more space, more maintenance. I will definitely keep you guys update. Thanks for sharing.

  • We were 23 and 25 when we bought our first home. We bought because we wanted to live in a house. I was tired of living with people above, below and beside us. We wanted to have a yard. When we bought our mortgage payment and taxes were only about $150 more than our rent so it made sense to us. We still had student loan payments at the time. It was very tight financially for the first few years. I’m glad we bought early because we are now 43 and 45 and just paid off the mortgage.

    • Oh Carrie I hear that!!! Having neighbors is the worst. At least in a home they’ll just be over the fence and I won’t have to bump into them in the hallway, smell their food or hear their noise…and God forbid make small talk with them. I will miss renting, but I’m looking forward to having our own space.

  • Home ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities and perks. There is so much more than finding a house you love. I am a home lending agent and working with clients to understand what is affordable, how much down, and what is DTI is huge.

    I have 2 properties but still rent. Buying in my neighborhood is expensive and doesn’t align with my financial goals.

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