As my 40th year grows nearer, my dad insists that I need to consider buying property. To him – and many other Americans – owning a home is one of the cornerstones of success. I remember when my parents bought their first home. It was a source of pride for the whole family – a huge achievement. Owning a home was a visual representation of having “made it.”
Several of my friends are homeowners. Some owned their homes by the time they were 30. They got married, bought homes, had kids: did things “the right way.”
I have no serious urge to buy a home. I keep thinking that one day it’ll hit me. This need to “settle” in one place. I can’t even fathom putting down roots. Right now it’s just me and the cats(tm). If I want to pick up and move to another city, I can do that with more ease than I could if I had a family or owned a home.
San Francisco is unlikely to be my last home. If I have children, I know I don’t want to raise them here, for many reasons, not the least of which includes wanting to be able to afford to feed these kids after paying the rent or mortgage. Which brings me to my next point: to afford to buy a home in San Francisco I’d probably need to auction off a few organs. I’m kind of fond of my kidneys, lungs and liver.
Last winter I finally sold my car and I feel lighter without it. It’s one less thing to think about. My car battery kept dying because I couldn’t be bothered to remember to let it run periodically. Owning a home is an even greater commitment than a car.
There was a time as a kid, when I would pore over house floor plans in the Sunday paper’s real estate section. I’d scan over all the homes for sale in the rich people neighborhoods of Houston and dream of what my future home would look like one day. I’d clip photos of house facades, floor plans and design ideas that fit my fantasy and taped them into a spiral notebook.
When we moved to Houston from Georgia, my sisters and I accompanied our parents on their hunt for our second house. Sometimes we window-shopped homes way outside our budget. The show homes were the best to visit because they’re fully furnished and staged to impress. Wandering through the massive living spaces with brand new neutral-colored carpeting, expansive backyards dotted with shade trees, winding staircases leading to “your” bedroom where you picture the posters you’d put on your wall, knowing damn well your dad isn’t going to let you hang anything on the walls of their new house.
I’ve marathoned my fair share of episodes of HGTV’s House Hunters. Even though I know the show is rigged, it doesn’t dampen the joy of nearly overdosing on real estate candy. It’s all about the fantasy, the boost of delight from playing make-believe.
Still, owning a home isn’t a priority for me. It’s one of those things I think I’ll do “someday,” just not now.
How about You? Do you / have you own(ed) a home? Do you want to own a home one day?