Confessions of a Reluctant Renter


A guest post by a contented renter, Lisa-Jo Baker, The Gypsy Mama

 
Some days I’m ashamed of our house.

{Woah – did I just say that on The Nester’s blog? Where houses are beloved, treated politely, and complimented often. }

Other days I’m pretty sure our house is ashamed of me.

The house and I? We have a love-hate relationship.  Some days more hate than love.

You see, it’s not really my house. I’m a renter. There, I said it. I’m a thirty-seven-year old, long time married woman with three kids and I’ve never owned a home. Did you get that? I have never owned any kind of land beneath my feet, white picket fence or a red front door. {I dream of a bright red front door}.

Pete and I have lived in three different countries and gypsied around so much that at first we never wanted to own a home. Then when we wanted to, we had no easy work history, since so much of it was overseas. And then, well, yes, there was the issue of debt to credit ratio.

So we’re renters.

And for years it made me feel like a dork who would never be a “real” grown up. Because “real” grown ups owned homes and planned renovations and didn’t get intimidated by the Home Depot. And our rental, well, she’s reliable, but she sure ain’t pretty. She’s small and has faux bricks in the kitchen that constantly come unglued, barely there counter space, and a mosquito infestation for a back yard.

After a while I started to feel as small on the inside as my house was on the outside.

You see, I felt we deserved to own a house. That we were entitled. And I got pretty worked up about it.

So there I was all hot and bothered in the brain – for months, mind you – until I stumbled across this verse written about the man who is said to have had everything. The man that one translation calls, The Questor, because he was so set on trying every pleasure that life had to offer:

[The Questor] challenges the naive optimism that sets a goal that appeals to us and then goes after it with gusto, expecting the result to be a good life. ~ The Message, Introduction to Ecclesiastes p.1162

Did you get that?

One of the richest men in history said it’s naïve to assume that simply getting what we want will guarantee us the good life.

This may be obvious to you. But I’d been blinded for a long time by the dream of curb appeal, a two car garage and a stone fireplace. And suddenly I saw the dream for what it was – no guarantee of the good life, no matter how much the American dream might tell you that it is.

Even more surprising was how relieved this made me feel. I am not defined by my house. Neither the one that I don’t have nor the one that I don’t want. Home is the mess and the people who make that mess living inside.

So this current house and I? We’re on much better terms lately. Our relationship is going on three years now and we aren’t quite as shy about having guests over. I still can’t quite get up the desire to invest paint and elbow grease into this cramped place that may not look the better for it, but I do love how its smallness has been so full of big lessons.

So much so, that one day when we are finally able to afford something I might actually enjoy decorating, well then, I think I might find I miss this crazy upside down little house that taught me that I’m much more than my bathroom or the amount of counter space in my kitchen.

 

More wisdom in the form of some of my favorite posts from Gypsy Mama::

 

At Home on The Road:: What Home Is

 

You are More Than Your Swimsuit

 

What I Learned From Almost Two Months Almost Unplugged


Why Motherhood Shouldn’t Be Graded on a Curve

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    Lisa Jo – I so needed this. We are about to take a leap of faith and follow a call that we believe God has on us for Carl to go back to school in Louisville. We can’t sell our house right now (which is not my dream house to begin with), so we’re going to have to rent it out and then rent when we move. After spending a weekend in South Bend with one of our law school classmates who has a big beautiful home and knowing that others there also had big beautiful homes, and wondering how 10 years out of law school I also don’t have that . . . . I was feeling really frustrated and sorry for myself. So, ironic (or not) that I came back from on Monday morning to read this post from you. Thank you. And that baby girl of yours is so, so beautiful!!!

    • Ah, law school – that old ball and chain :) So were you at the reunion this weekend? I heard from a bunch of the girls that it was a blast. Did you meet Shonda’s twin boys? She is a braver woman than I to travel with TWINS!! And yes, it’s hard not to measure against where everyone else has ended up. But, that baby girl does have a wonderful affect on me – because when I measure the last ten years in terms of the three kids that color my life and the man that made them possible, I’m the happiest, most blessed girl in the world! :)

      • Stephanie says:

        I was there – and it was a blast. So great to reconnect. I saw Shonda, but not the babies – I can’t believe she traveled with them!!! I wasn’t about to bring my kids and they are old enough to be entertained by DVD players . … I love following your blog. Keep saying what’s on your heart :)

  2. Thankyou for writing this….so honest and reassuring to those of us in the same boat. I love your blog. Where so many blogs show beautiful romantic photos [so we all feel a bit second rate], yours is real and lifts one up. You also have beautiful photos mind you, of gorgeous kids and a beautiful mother! :)

  3. Thank you for this. Oh, my heart.

    Today I sit two beautiful words under my finger tips “me too.” Lisa Jo, me too…

    Renting in Uganda never depressed or discouraged. In fact my dream home was our rental in Jinja, Nile River flowing a mile away. Dream. Home.

    And in our return somehow I felt less than moving into a “rent house”. Before crossing the threshold of rentals we were turned away for the number of children in our family. The yellow linoleum in our current house makes me cry. Ugly cry. Not dreamy at all.

    The “stigma” of a family with five children renting. It got to me. I believed the lie that I was less than. Not good enough. Even felt I needed to make new friends ones that would fit my new “class”. Darkness consumed.

    But the Father is so good and faithful. Grace and mercy flowing freely for this too proud daughter

    I realized I was looking for stability in a house. A house! That to be stable and happy I needed a ball and chain mortgage. A white picket fence and acres of land for my children to run on.

    Praise God I have been redeemed! Redeemed from the “American Dream”.

    He is teaching me to find my home in Him. In these six. And it is good.

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

    The Father uses you. Bautiful, honest, you.

    • Oh Michelle – you humble me. We only have three kiddos and I’ve whined up a storm about our lack of space and crazy kitchen. It’s been the most beautiful gift to hear all the stories from women who’ve walked similar journeys, but with even bigger families than ours. Thank you for your honesty and sharing what you’ve learned. My profound thanks to your linoleum floor! :)

  4. Hi Lisa-Jo

    A house is just a structure, a home is what you enter. Thanks for this post. As a house-owner, I have felt similar emotions, but labels can “ownly” define us if we choose to let them.

  5. lisa jo, i dream of red doors too! …or more accurately, i am tempted buy red paint wherever i live [which is always rented]

  6. I love/hate my home too. We have a small condo, which was fine when it was just the 2 of us. Add a dog and baby to mix and things feel cramped and small. I long for a yard and a front porch. But I realize living in this place is what allows me to stay home with my baby. We could have a big house–but I’d have to go back to work. I’d rather be with my girl.

  7. Thank you for this post!!!!

    My husband and I are one of the few couples we know who are renters and it is definitely a humbling experience (especially when people ask why we are wasting our money each month, as if we had another option).

    Now we try to take this experience as a blessing: we live with family who care about us and respond quickly to emergencies, we are close to our jobs, it’s a small space to clean and keep clean, we are ‘forced’ to spend time together and have learned to love so much more about each other by having to be in the same room…and of course, this has to have a part in God’s story, we have to remember to glorify Him and the joys we have in our daily life.

    Again, thank you, Lisa Jo (visiting from your blog) for the encouragement I so very much needed.

  8. Christie Stephens says:

    Thank you for the beautiful words. I too am a fellow renter. August 2008 our world turned upside down. Marriage was on the rocks, husband was laid off, surprise pregnancy…we ended up losing our “home” to foreclosure and had to move into this “house”. I talk to the neighbors, and they don’t know we rent. They make comments like, “this neighborhood is going down hill with all of these renters moving in”. I cringe. And I keep my secret.

    However this “house” has taught me to look for joy beyond these walls. I am finding it at night when I cuddle with my girls in the bedroom that they share. I am finding it in the evenings when we crowd into our make-shift eat-in kitchen and share stories about our days. I find it in the mornings when all 5 of us are crowded into one bathroom trying to brush our teeth.

    I found my “home” again in the people I do life with.

    One day we will have the space to spread out and have privacy and use the bathroom in isolation. :) But for now, I’ll treasure the moments we are so close.

    • This is my life too. Foreclosure, surprise pregnancy, 5 bodies in the bathroom, and all. I’ve come to see many blessings in this experience.
      First, it used to take us all day Saturday to clean our old home, now it takes less than half that time, which means we get more family time to do fun things together.
      Second, I’ve come to believe that part of the “American Dream”–a big house where everyone has more room than they need–may be a part of the problematic culture in which we live. This is a culture in which we hide from one another through our attention to electronic media and “personal space,” and so we lose some of the heartfelt connection we need in order to keep ourselves on track together, to support each other, to be honest with ourselves and our loved ones. So I too am treasuring the moments in which we are so close, because it won’t be like this forever. I think this chance to really solidify the connectedness of my family is a gift from a compassionate God.

      • Dianna,
        I think you have spoken the truth about the space – and how large space allows people to run away from each other. We were made for community and even being close together, while sometimes tight, builds family.

        I remember a trip home from Florida in a small car, with three fairly grown children in the back (one must have been close to 6 feet); no videos, no Gameboys or anything electronic; we did have books but middle girl gets car sick. So we had lasted about 12 hours of a 13 day drive and nearing the end of the second day car bound, when the “fight” started. -My husband said in a powerful voice – HANDS ON KNEES. They kept quiet for the next hour and we arrived safe, sound and peaceful. We laugh now at that expression.

        My 3 children and their 4 children all get along well – having built a family community we have learned to live in tight quarters or large quarters but they all want to be together.

        Blessings,
        Jan

  9. Lisa Jo,
    Your words (His words) can be used when anything we compare ourselves to make us feel less. I can look at your blog and feel less because my blog is small and unattended.

    Thank you for the reminder that it is the Lord who gives us our value. :)
    jan

  10. I was in that mindset for so long! I found myself nodding in agreement and feeling more empowered with your words. It seems that we’ve learned and absorbed the same lessons. My husband and I moved into another rental space after looking for a house for the third time in 3 years (in that same entitled/guilty mindset). After 6 months of searching and feeling awful, once settled in our new rental space (the 10th rental in 8 years), we realized that wherever we are together that’s home and where love resides.

  11. My hubs and I have been having an ongoing battle about our townhouse. It is his – pre-marriage house and I constantly complain and then end up inadvertently hurting his feelings because it was his first house. Eek. I probably need to stop complaining so much :)

  12. I love this. Thank you so much. I’m not a homeowner, or EVEN a renter…. Nope, I live in a parsonage. The dilapidated house next to the church my husband and I pastor. And I struggle so frequently with the things you mentioned, and daydream so often about the perfect home (that isn’t sitting 50 yards from a state highway, that has a real [safe] yard for my babies and has a complete set of gutters, that doesn’t have leaking windows and half-finished paint jobs throughout, or a heater that goes out at least once a week in the Chicago winters). Thank you for the reminder that this house does not define me, but the One who provides a roof for my head and safe haven for my family… He does.

  13. Thank you so much Lisa-Jo and Nester. I so needed this. We aren’t even really renting…but we’re living in my parents garage apartment after 2 job losses in a row. It’s a downer to feel as though you’re not really providing for your family. But in reality it’s what society has told you is providing. Do we have a roof? Do we have food and clothing? Yes! God provides those for us and we should be content. Thankyou for another eye opener and I’m so glad I’m not alone.

  14. Thanks so much, Lisa-Jo! As you know we’re on our gypsy way from South Africa to the Carolinas… I’ve been planning a “dream house” in my mind and wondering how things might come together, but our years on the field (and associated debt and lack of credit!) don’t mean 101 Dream House Lane will be our next address. I think I really needed to read this to have the right perspective on the next phase of our lives! Thank you!

  15. Mollianne says:

    Oh, dear girl. I’ve had the curb appeal, made-for-entertaining, executive-on the rise house. It was lovely. I enjoyed working in the yard. My children grew up there. Someone told me once that it looked like a Better Homes and Gardens spread at Christmas. I was so proud. But that house was built on sand and the sink hole that developed in the back yard was representative of what was happening inside. The life I *thought* I had was a sham and the husband I *thought* loved me left and I lost the house and some part of my identity. I fell to pieces and God put me back togehter. I found that I, too, was more than my house, my standing in the community and my children’s accomplishments or their disasters. I also found the courage to love again (married my teacher in the Single’s Sunday School Class at church) and moved into his house…which is old and the yard is embarassing and there isn’t enough storage and the carpet is just nasty. However, our life inside is the real deal…even though the house is awful. Would I like a nicer house? Sure. Do I think I deserve it? Absolutly not. Am I happier to be in that house than anywere on the planet? You betcha! When I heard my step-daughters (whose mother lives in a beautiful designer home) refer to our home as the happy-crappy house I was deeply hurt. But when I thought about it, I laughed. We adopted the motto, “The crappier the happier” and we love our life in our home. We love that we aren’t over our heads in debt and that the house will soon be paid off. We love that because our mortgage is so low, we are able to share with others from our abundance. We are certainly more than our houses, our countertops, and what we think others think of us. Enjoy your little house. Your real home is a mansion with the Father!!

    • This might be one of the first times a comment made me cry. Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony. Loved. Ever. Word.

      • Mollianne says:

        Oh, I didn’t mean to make you cry. I wanted to affirm you and let you know that I’ve been there…still am some days. I so enjoy reading your posts and thinking how lovely it would be to live close by so I could come and sti on the floor with your boys and play and perhaps spell you when you need just a tiny nap. Some lovely people did those sorts of things for me and I find that I really enjoy passing that on. One of my favorite roles is Aunt Mollianne…and you don’t have to be kin to me for me to consider myself your/your children’s aunt! Blessings, dear.

    • The crappier the happier! I love it and I’m so stealing it. I have so much to be thankful for and that slogan will help me to remember it with a smile!

  16. Desiree says:

    This is why I love blogging, just to know that we are not alone is so reassuring….. I too neeed this. I too can relate to ALL of you….. 30 something renter with two young boys an a third on the way to make three under three (and two dogs, which always compliates renting), less than perfect debt to income ratio and lets not talk about credit score. We have moved several times since we have been married in our four years, most due to work and some due to wanting to find “our place”. But we are good christians and hard workers but often feel like other do ot see us that way because we are not “settled”. But I must say with confience, I feel like the more I live in a small space the more fortunate we are that our famliy is going to get it right and live for each other and not for objects. And the more room in the world or the morgage does not make us lesser members of society. (which I often feel like) One more thing, I was wathcing an interview with Ralph Lauren and his family and the interviewer asked how did you kids (their were two boys and one girl) become not spoiled having this lifestyle. Their reply was “in all the big houses with tons of rooms we have lived in, we always shared a room( the two boys) and had family dinners toghther. Our parents made sure we spent time toghther as a family”

  17. First time here and enjoyed your post. Remember that most of those people that “own” the homes you covet are really renting on a fixed mortgage for 30 years before they truly own the home. My husband and I are trying to sell our house and rent…on purpose. I bet you think that is funny! We want less debt and more freedom with my being home with our little one. Go grab some paint and enjoy yourself, girl!

  18. Thank you for this post — I really enjoyed it. As an obsessive decorator who has owned a home then let it go in favor of being more available for ministry opportunities, I still struggle often with Ugly House Syndrome. I live/work in a children’s home with furniture I wouldn’t pick out in a million years, in a house that was last redecorated in the 80s, and it makes me cranky and (shamefully) resentful, sometimes, about being here. I have my ways of making it fit my tastes a bit more, but I still worry way more than I should about how it looks and sometimes resent an inability to change the things I don’t like since we can’t paint the walls or anything.

    It’s been a really good lesson for me, though, while I watch God reminding me every time I get upset about the way the house looks that I am more than my house and the more distracted I get over my earthly accommodations, the less I invest in my spiritual ones. There’s a balance, I think, between feeling “at home” and wanting perfection, and that’s a particularly hard one for me, for sure.

    Oh, and by the way… owning a home isn’t always all its cracked up to be. Been there, done that, and when the time comes for us to go back into a regular living situation, we’ll be choosing to rent instead. I don’t ever want to feel again like an earthly building has any power over me but owning a home can be that way. We’ve come to agree that for our family’s peace of mind, renting is better for us and we won’t be too tied down to go where we’re needed, wherever we’re led. We may not travel the globe extensively, but I think we’re gypsies too. :)

  19. Content to rent! I love that idea! :)

    Eight years ago my husband and I decided that at 23-years-old and with three years of marriage under our belt we needed to buy a home. That would be the responsible and grown-up thing to do, right? We hated it! The timing was all wrong (we moved in three months after our oldest was born, and were living off one income), we didn’t have any extra time or money to invest in upkeep or improvements, and it was overwhelming! We’re moving this summer, and I am 100% content to rent. We may own again, but it is not a goal. Our goal is to glorify God with our choices, not financial security, keeping up with the Joneses or giving in to peer pressure. Your words are always so beautiful and encouraging, Lisa-Jo! :)

  20. We owned a home for seventeen years but it came to feel like a ball and chain miring us in debt, obligating us to costly expenditures and keeping us from living our lives entirely. We wanted a change so we sold and rented a spacious condo that our kids are much happier at(many more kids in the neighbourhood) I had a home that had become a huge part of my identity. This broke that notion. Some people are VERY uncomfortable with our choice. Alot of people are really threatened by change and can’t understand that we have opened the door to change without fully knowing what the next step will be.

  21. No longer do I feel like the only 30-something mom alive to have never owned her (our) own home.

    I did not think I bought into the American dream until we moved out of America, and then the coveting and the discontent settled in my soul, where it rested a long time until I finally, truly, desperately asked God to take it from me. Because to me, owning my own home represented security, a father who would never leave, a place for my children to know how tall they were in the 1st grade, and a grand way to show off who we are and what we can buy. Now i see it for what it is: temporary, earthly, inhabited by real drooling messy children, a place to invite people in and spill on the carpet. We rent and it’s hard and I still long for home and security and a wall to rip down, but it is what it is. And with it comes flexibility and mobility and carefreeness (and parking lots and balcony gardens and loud parties along the adjacent wall)… and lots and lots of moving boxes.

  22. We are currently renting and even though we had tons of people tell us it was not a good idea financially, we knew God was leading us exactly to this house to rent. That voice of comparison and “you should…” in our heads so easily leads us away from what God wants because it might not fit the American Dream or be conventional. We are free from a mortgage right now and plan to stay right where we are until He says otherwise. Ahh the joy of being obedient… peace is worth more than a pretty palace!

  23. I too am adding my thanks for this post. I have felt the need to own a home since almost day one of my marriage over fifteen years ago. Then four years ago, we bought a home. Our first. And although I loved my home and enjoyed decorating it, it didn’t lead to “the good life”. Instead, the economy crashed, and with it, my husband’s business struggled, and in the end, we had to sell our home. And now we rent again. And I am almost 39 with four children.

    But I was actually content in the home we are renting…until the landlords decided to sell it. We were fortunate to find another rental place, but it will be a townhouse…a bit smaller than the house we currently live in. And despite the fact that I didn’t want to “share walls”, nor did I want to leave the neighbors I have truly grown to love while living in this house, I find myself being oddly content. As Michelle said in an earlier comment, I have been “redeemed from the American Dream.” I am not slave to a mortgage. I am not slave to maintenance. And although our family of six will be “cozy” in our new home, we will have a roof over our heads and four walls to hold in the heat. Which is so much more than so many have, and so I am thankful and content for the blessings of a rental house.

  24. According to Suze Orman, renting is the The American Dream.

  25. Oops! Make the the NEW American Dream.

  26. Lisa Jo – I came over from the Nester, and so glad I did! I really needed this post. Being a military wife we have moved so many times I lost count. We finally owned a home after my husband retired. It was sooo much work with all the responsibility being ours. Well, we lost our house because my husband was out of work for a year or more and I sold real estate and was caught up in the crash of the market. We are renting now and love my house. However, I guess because we were renting I never felt like this was home until recently. I had a conversation with my husband and we decided that this is where we want to stay forever and if it means we rent this house for the rest of our lives, so be it. I contacted my landlord and he was thrilled and even said when we are ready to buy it, he will try to help us out. See, God had a plan for us to be here in MD and be in this house.

    So, now, little by little I am starting to feel not so ashamed that I am a renter. This is my home and whether I own it or not, this is where my family will grow.

    Thanks again!

  27. I once read a statistic which said that if everyone in the world lived as we do in North America we would need 2 1/2 more planets just to house everyone. As many have already said, we too have gone the owning a house route only to realize that this was not what God had in store for us. He called us to live differently than those around us. For us that meant selling our house and following. We have lived (for the record there are 5 of us) in an unfinished basement suite with concrete floors and bare drywall (I painted both!), an 1,100 sf 2 bedroom apartment (did I mention I have 3 boys?!) and now we share a home with family after the loss of a loved one. (we are the renters in this party) We have learned that small is good and small is cozy. Personal space is a North American ideal that needs to be given up. We are to live in relationship and there is no better way to do that than to live in close quarters!
    However, I would encourage you to take some steps to make your living space feel a bit like “yours”. Like I said, I even painted concrete floors because it made the space feel more homey. It’s amazing what you can do with a small amount of money and a large amount of creativity.
    We are now at the point of realizing we will likely never own a home and we are good with that. In fact, quite happy. We know it’s not for everyone and that God has a different journey laid out for each family but if you follow where he leads you will always be better for it – even in a rental!

  28. lisa-jo (where I came from), I enjoyed your comments. I have lived in both worlds: I have “owned” my home and rented. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both! Many of us who “own” our homes aren’t always able to purchase our dream homes or even get our homes to look like our dream homes…ever.

    The fun of a rental is when the plumbing backs up or one of their major appliances breaks, we just call the landlord and he has to get someone in to fix or replace:)

    The other fun is being more portable. If a job change comes along, all we need to do is give notice
    and start packing. When renting, there is no delay as you wait to get your home sold. (These days that is a definite plus since houses are taking longer to sell!)

    The plusses for renting these days seem to be more and more with housing costs dropping. No one wants to go to a closing having to pay money above what they have already on their home, to make up for the difference in what the buyer brings and what is owed on the home. That is becoming more and more common. Ugh!

    For us to embrace the belief that we truly are pilgrims here and our life here on earth is oh so very temporary and fleeting, it may be helpful for us to rent more often. It reminds us that we aren’t here forever. Yes, we want to plant our roots here in one place and know we will live here, but that isn’t always God’s plan. If we see ourselves more as pilgrims/wanderers, it helps us prioritize our financial and time resources.

    Although it is still often difficult for me to think this way, I realize I need to think more of my dream home being the one I will have in heaven…for eternity:)

  29. LOVED your post!!……..coming from a forty something who has been married 25 years and never owned a home. It depresses me sometime. But then I remember, we make the best of the home we have! – we have incredibly cheap rent, and for that, I’m able to stay home while my girls grow up and do what I love….baking, photography and of course, blogging.

    We have seen first hand friends and family who have lost their homes and everything because of the economy…………it’s during those times I’m thankful we rent.

    Thanks again for sharing

  30. I’ve lived in my house for 5 years and still don’t own it…the bank does! So don’t feel bad! We are getting out of home ownership and back into renting because it ISN”T an investment to own a home when it needs more work as it ages. I’d rather sacrifice a little in home choice than sacrifice spending $$ to become house poor! I’d rather spend it on my boys’ futures.

    I’m your age and have owned and rented and think that renting is the better “deal” financially!

    I think the American Dream is changing slowly…

  31. So, we are long term renters at age 39 & 40. We have lived in our current rental house for 7 years. I have never done or stayed with anything for 7 years…except this house and this family. For about 1.5 years (a year ago)we looked at houses, made offers (21 of them), I spent an obscene about of time looking at house porn online but here we are still renting. Suddenly God hit me with the idea that perhaps HIs ways are better than my ways. perhaps I should bloom where I am planted , perhaps I should choose to fall in love with this life…this good and blessed life. I am grateful now. We have a this little tiny house, but we have a backyard, we entertain and our landlords let us paint and garden and so on. This is home. Our home. Home is not house it is a heart attitude and mine needed serious adjusting. In a few months we will have no debts, owe nothing but own nothing…but I have a feeling a big adventure awaits us.
    I loved this post…thank you.

  32. It can be hard to love your home, whether you rent, own or have a large mortgage (which in my mind isn’t the same as owning). We always have people asking us when we are going to upgrade to a larger house. We have 3 bedrooms (though one is tiny!), one bathroom and just over 1000 square feet and so far only one baby. Before I had my miscarriage a few months back, the prospect of two children in this house seemed fine. But others, including my husband’s family, felt that we would have a full house. While in a perfect world we might like something a little larger with more land, we are content to raise our family in this house. I’m grateful for it. It’s old and needs work that we can’t afford, but at least we have a safe place to live that we can afford (at least most of the time). I think Paul had it right we he said that he sought to be content in all things. Whether renting or owning, dream house or house nightmare.

  33. We are closing on a house on Tuesday (where we used to live) and are losing 17k (straight loss, not counting commission, improvements, etc), that is just the difference from what we paid 7 years ago to what we are getting for the house now. We never pulled out money or did anything tricky with the equity. We refinanced but with NO closing costs and only to lower our interest to 4.625. It used to be if you owned a house for 3 or more years after having 20% down, you could sell and make money, not so anymore. It was a great house and the Missouri economy has not been hit like most. We are renting now and I am totally fine with that. We are thankful that we only had to make 2 payments while not living in the house. It is just a different day and age and economy now and renting does make sense for a lot of us. We will be debt free again on Tuesday and I am thinking that looks pretty sweet! =) Home is the people in it, not who owns the deed!

  34. I clicked here from Simple Mom, and I’m glad I did. We are gearing up to move into our third rental, and I have been quite bummed. Your article was very helpful in getting me to re-evaluate what matters and to be grateful for what we do have. So, thank you.

  35. Thank you for sharing this. I, too, am a renter (and I just turned 35). I’ve reached many “grown up” mile stones (matching furniture, curio cabinet, hutch to go with my dining room table), but I haven’t quite made the biggest rite of passage: owning a home. I grew up in a very gypsy style family. We rarely lived anywhere longer than four years. (In fact, I’ve been in the state of GA for 10 and it’s the longest I’ve every lived anywhere – the longest lease? 6 years).

    It is good to read that there are other people like me. We’re not losers because we can’t buy a house (or don’t want to buy a house). As a previous commenter said, a house is just a structure; it is what you put in it that makes it a home.

  36. I can totally relate! I’m 46 years old and my husband and I have never owned a home – and get this – he’s a mortgage loan officer! I too have wrestled with the longing to own, but the Lord has released me of it. I’m just determined to make my home (owned or not) the best that I can. Trying to save a 20% down payment for a house in Hawaii runs at least $100,000! Not gonna happen any time soon. We’ve made the choice to raise our kids with a one-parent income and homeschool. My kids wont remember if I held the title, but they will remember how they felt when they were here… To me, that’s the real American dream. *:)

  37. Thank you so much for your comments. I can completely relate to all of them. I’m in my mid thirties, three kids and have been renting here for 8 years now. It’s incredibly frustrating to listen to my in-laws comments about how much better they have it because they own a home. They can’t understand why we are happier renting than living with so much debt. What it comes down to is my love for my family. Children don’t care if where they live is rented or owned. I have been able to be a stay at home mother and that’s more important than any dream house.

  38. My sister sent me the link to Gypsy Momma’s post, and I’m really glad she did. My husband and I are also renters. He is 40. My mom makes comments from time to time that make it really obvious she thinks we should be in a home. I, too, have been embarrassed to have people over. Besides being in a two-bedroom apartment, I have a son that is on the autism spectrum. He destroys things without meaning to, and sometimes intends to destroy them. I also have a preschooler who has decided the walls make great canvas. I am striving to be content and not worry so much about things and decorations. This post encouraged me to keep pursuing that. Thanks!

  39. I am really late to the party, but please let me say that I am bowled over at the other comments (in a good way). I honestly felt like everyone else had a home, and I was the pitiful 41-year-old still renting with my husband. I have prayed and dreamed and hoped for years, and felt like a failure when it didn’t happen. We’ve been in our current home for a little over 4 years now. In March of this year, we bought it, and the landlord called us “magnificent tennants”. At first I was thrilled, but now I’m nauseated and overwhelmed with what all can go wrong. I can only rest in the Lord’s hands and let him guide us through this. I’ve never lived anywhere, ever, where I could hammer in a nail or paint a wall or anything like that (in my head I thought I couldn’t; Nest has shown me that way of thinking is crap!), but I’m finally unfreezing from the shock and paralysis by analysis, and by gum, I am going to tackle a tiny bathoom and repaint. I feel like a rebel, and am scared whitless, but y’all are all right, every one of you. It’s not the building, the residence, the tent or the teepee – it’s to always move toward the life you should live and the love you can’t help but give. Never again will I grouse about have no laundry room (washer/dryer is in a hall between bedroom and living room) and never again will I whine because it my head it takes days to clean everything, but in reality, would you do an amazing job in an hour, and on top of that, I am going to unpack what I’ve had packed for 4 years, and go though my stuff, and whether we live here 5 years or 30, I am going to make myself a home. I was saying this to my director this afternoon, and that blessed, beautiful, loving lady smiled and said “you’re nesting!” Truer words were ne’er spake. Thank you the renter solidarity! It is so nice to know that shameful feeling did not originate with me. =)

  40. Oh how I desperately needed to read the article and the comments! Thank you, thank you for sharing your heart. I am 41, hubby is 54 and we have never owned a house. We have rented all of our 14 years of marriage and never hear the end of it from family. I always whined about not having a house of my own or the house not being pretty enough or big enough. Well, now we are having to live with my mom in her 2 bedroom home (there are 4 of us here-our oldest is staying with friends). I have learned to appreciate the previous rental we had for 6 years but only after having to move out of it. I want to practice contentment more in 2012! The funny thing is that our 8 and 11 yo’s love being able to share a room with us and having such closeness! My husband….well on most days :)

  41. Lisa-Jo, I followed you over from (In)Courage and feel like we’re “kindred spirits,” in a way! After graduating college, I lived in 6 different residences (renting and “mooching” off friends and family in-between) in 5 years. Then, in our nearly 6 years of marriage, my hubby and I have lived in 3 states and 6 homes, including both of our parents’ houses. As I write this comment, we’re 2 weeks away from move #4 in 19 months! He is a pastor who’s been between ministries for a rough year-and-a-half, and we’ll be moving into our second parsonage. It’s hard not to feel like we’re losers, in a way, but if we’re following the One who didn’t have a pillow for his head while here on earth, even the nesting we’ve been able to do is far more than we deserve. Besides, I think that maybe having so many temporary homes can help us remember the transitory nature of this life, in general: As believers, this world will never be our true home. Thanks so much for posting!

  42. Hi,
    Just read a new Kindle ebook called “How To Pay Your Rent On Time” and it helped us get back on track with Rent!! Check it out at Kindle, amazon.com, and on their website, http://www.payyourrentontime.yolasite.com Makes an excellent gift for anyone struggling to pay their rent!!

  43. Hi there, I read your blog on a regular basis. Your writing style is
    awesome, keep doing what you’re doing!

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