Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Single Female Home Ownership - Does it have a place in our world?

I'm tap dancing on 30 and I don't own a home. Not married, no kids, and no mortgage. For some in more family-oriented situations, the case is certainly different. But as a single person, I'm yoyo-ing back and forth on the issue of home ownership - or in my case - the prolonging thereof.

Sometimes, it makes me feel like I'm a few steps behind in sociological expectations and responsibilities. Sometimes it makes me feel foolish. Sometimes it makes me feel poor. Sometimes it makes me feel slow.

Times that these, I've got to fall back and limit the self-scrutiny, punishment and loathing. Got to remember a few things....
  1. I've never wanted to live in one place too long.
  2. I've intentionally crafted a career that has me country hopping every 2 years.
  3. I can't decide on what nail polish to wear, much less a neighborhood to settle into.
  4. I'm one person who spends perhaps 8-10 hours a day at home, and most of that time, I'm sleeping. What's the purpose of owning a home that I can't spend time in and enjoy?
  5. I don't want the headache - standards for a fixed rate mortgage, insurance, taxes, repairs and maintenance, home inspections, appraisals, land never ends.

While keeping these thoughts in mind got me back to my 100%, I was brainstorming about the investment value of a home, but came across this article, which offers a few other thoughts to consider:

  • A house can't be divided up and sold, like a stock portfolio, and it is highly correlated to the job market.
  • Also, a house is undiversified; instead, its future is tied to a single neighbourhood.
  • It's not a smart way to allocate money. In fact, it flies in the face of what decades of portfolio allocation theory have shown. "It's like a stock portfolio that consists of one stock. If I could buy a house where the bedroom is in Toronto, the kitchen is in Vancouver, and another bedroom is in South America, then that's a diversified house."
  • Real estate prices can and do fall — and they can take a long time to recover.
  • You can build wealth with a home (as opposed to paying rent to a landlord), but what if the market falls when you want to sell? You have NO control over that. A homeowner can end up with outstanding mortgage payments worth more than the house.
  • This greatest asset can't deliver in hard times.

For all the renters out there, there is substance in our madness. I've decided to wait on a few things before chasing a mortgage:

  1. God. When the time is right, He'll make the need apparent and the home available.
  2. A more suitable home price: income ratio.
  3. A community and country that screams PERMANENCE.
  4. Inheritance (fat chance on this one!)
  5. The need. By this, I mean family. When the time is right, and either my future family unit, or my mother or grandmother needs me to buy a home, that could be a good time to look into it.

Until then, happy renting!


  1. What a great read!! I'm 27 (Twenty-sexxy when asked till further notice) and I am one of the few in my group of friends w. no morgatge!! I have these thoughts more often than not, and just recently think I want a loft downtown?! Who knows where I'll end up, but I'm easing off the pressure (on self) to be a homeowner yesterday. I may just pick up and move to Cali in Dec. Hey... you never know!!!! Smoooches you awesome Black woman you!!!!

  2. Hey babycakes!

    Great to hear from u! There's a lot of pressure for homeownership - from all sides. But until a community*city*country really speaks to you, I say keep it as mobile as possible. I love this point in life where we can jump on job opportunities anywhere in the world, and not think twice about how we're going to make it happen. Keep doing your thing, M!



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