Do I Want to Be a Homeowner?
Yesterday, when I posted about Loftium—the new Seattle startup that wants to loan you down payment money in exchange for a cut of your Airbnb income for the next three years, during which you are required to list your home on Airbnb for 357 days out of the year—Billfolder StateLady asked me whether I’d want to buy a home if I had the down payment saved up.
I don’t think StateLady was asking whether I would want to buy a home with Loftium, because the answer is no, of course not, I’m not even in my apartment for 357 days out of every year so it would be a non-starter. (Also, I wouldn’t want to share my home with a continuous parade of strangers.)
But let’s say I had down-payment money ready to go, right now.
Would I buy a home?
The earliest I could think about starting the homebuying process would be September 2018. I don’t mean to keep stealth-promoting Nicole Dieker Dot Com, but I just wrote this post about how I’ve blocked off 80 percent of my free time over the next nine months to revise/prep/promote The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2:
I also know what I am giving up. Not necessarily to have this career, but definitely to do all of this and get The Biographies of Ordinary People ready for publication. To do all of this, get Biographies ready, and prioritize the exercise-nutrition-sleep required to do all of this and get Biographies ready means a lot of saying no—whether it’s out loud, or internally before anyone has even asked.
So yeah, homebuying would not fit on the schedule at the moment.
Also, if I did have a pile of money that large, I might use some of it to hire a publicist. (I reached out to a few publicity firms earlier this year, and it turns out the good ones are pretty expensive.)
I know that some of y’all are going to respond with but the equity!!! as if I am leaving money on the table every year I don’t buy property.
But I’ve done a pretty good job of getting more money on my table every year. (Like, $20,000 per year.) Also, home values can go down just as often as they can go up, and there are plenty of people who lost money on their homes.
Plus, a home costs way more than it actually costs. You have to furnish it, for starters—and you already know my ambivalence towards buying furniture. You have to deal with upkeep. You have to clean both the inside and the outside.
Right now I only have to clean the inside of my apartment.
The homebuying question feels like a time and energy suck that I don’t want to deal with, which probably means it’s a good thing that it’ll take me another five or six years before I’m ready to buy a house, according to the formulas in The Value of Debt in Building Wealth.
Until then, I can continue to build equity in myself. I can literally make myself more valuable by getting better at my writing and editing gigs, continuing to publish fiction, and expanding my network.
I know I’ve told this story on The Billfold before, but when I was in grad school I had this classmate who said she was fine with taking on so much debt because she wasn’t ever going to buy a house. “I’m my house,” she said, and I thought that sounded kinda weird at the time, but I get it now.
I’m also my house, and a debt-free one at that. My plan, at this point, is to keep investing in myself until it pays off enough to buy an actual home—and then I can ask myself whether I really want to.
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