Housing and such

Pity the poor intern. Cramped in a badly furnished apartment with 2-3-4 other bright eyed bushy tailed interns for over $1,000 a month. The $1,250 price quoted by the Post is a bit more than what I pay a month for a mortgage for my house. I’m guessing a good amount of that is location, location, location. Even with a year lease, those parts of the city can be pricey and just shocking for some folks coming from lower rent towns. They should be thankful this isn’t New York City, I think cardboard boxes are going for $2,000 a month.
Speaking of renting, Jimbo sent me some time ago a pro-rent anti-mortgage link. Eh. Yes, home ownership has it’s downs. It would be nice if something broke or started acting weird I could call a manager, no bug a manager (because they seem to take their sweet time), to fix it. But when something breaks or whatever I have the luxury of deciding how long I can live with the broken screwy thing before I fix it, or pay someone else to fix it. Yes, you can rent better than what you can buy. You can rent a better neighborhood, more space, more amenities, etc. The other problem with home ownership is that it is hard to up and move when the need arises. Yet with all these downs I still think home ownership rocks.
Why do I think so? Well my mortgage (30 yr fixed) is lower than a Summer Hill Interns’ monthly rent. That helps. In time these things work themselves out. The first year was hard for me, I wasn’t making much and the mortgage and maintenance ate up a lot of my disposable income. As time progressed, I moved up career wise, my mortgage was stable and the neighborhood got more attractive. Rents will go up and you have no control over them. I will determine how much more I’m going to owe on the house by fixing it up and customizing it to my wants. In the future, when rents rise to a point where they are way over my mortgage and house expenses I could rent it out and move to Florida, where the rents are cheaper.
There is also a sense of control over my life that I will credit home ownership with, that has a great value to me. I’m able to foster the cats, at whim, because I own the house. I can rip out the carpet, paint the walls dark, put holes in the walls, move stuff around, because it is my house. No one can tell me to move out (short of me being a health hazard). I can make long range plans.
I will still encourage my renter friends to buy something, but no rush, not in this market anyways. Yes, the prices are nuts, but in time your salaries will rise and your tolerance for roommates will decrease. So save up for a down payment, and when the time comes, maybe not this year, or next year, but sometime, buy a place you can call your own.