Reflection

This weekend as you know the heating system went out in my apartment, this only seems to happen when it is the absolute coldest outside doesn’t it?  I had plenty of time to reflect on my choice of homes during this time.  I stressed so over the years I was a homeowner that I wouldn’t have a large enough savings to cover a major repair.

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There are days I miss owning my home, but then winter arrives and I remember the days of work to dig out the sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice.  Fearing the weight of snow on the roof and needing to hire help to clear the roof as I wasn’t about to try climbing up there.  frozen pipes were also an issue.

I had to choose between owning a home, building and finding a place to park a tiny home and then of course renting.  I have to say that it was nice not having to shell out money this weekend to repair the boiler, and a tiny house would have consisted in more exposed walls to the elements than I currently have so I guess I made the right choice for this stage in life.

Of course I received way more than I had imagined with the lake so close and the field I get to garden and play in.  On top of those benefits, I also found like-minded people and have built close relationships with many of my neighbors, something that wouldn’t have happened if I lived in a detached house.

Have you had moments when you questioned whether you made the right choice in your home?

31 thoughts on “Reflection

  1. I a, glad your heating was soon put back in order Lois, Yes there are many pluses and minuses in both renting and owning your own home.. We are lucky in that we have now paid off our mortgage , but many who rent have awful landlords who fail to repair when needed.. Its swings and roundabouts as we say… Sending you love and Blessings as I go switch on my own heating as the chill of the night is falling..
    Love to you xox

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    • Sue, you are so right in the number of horrible landlords, I recently had two myself.. The first one I had no idea as I got no feeling from talking to her that there would be a problem. The second one, I had a bad feeling but shrugged it aside because I knew I would be a good tenant who didn’t cause trouble or make too much noise. I should have followed my gut. Here some landlords are so attached to their properties they forget that these are not their homes and end up in our business.

      I do look back to my childhood home and think about all the money that was saved by owning. My grandparents paid off the house in less than 6 months after (only financed a small portion until their previous house sold).

      They were mortgage free from 1966 until 2002 when my grandfather passed away. When you look at the upkeep he did and in the end had to pay for, it was still a huge savings. But today to find a home that can be paid off in only a few years is next to impossible so the repairs could wipe me out. Glad your home is paid for, it’s a blessing to know the extra money can be saved and reduce concerns about a major repair wiping you out.

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  2. Although I have stressed over my own “housing” issue this past year I try to keep in mind that as long as my family is there then any place is a home. I owned a house for 18 years and thought I was doing the right thing financially-unfortunately between repairs, upkeep, roof, wiring, plumbing, etc the house ended up owing me. I have been happy renting an apartment for the past 7 years but now with the return of my sons who are paying off their student loans, the apartment is too crowded for us. Next month we will be moving into a rental house. It will cost more and there will be more upkeep but I feel the small backyard, the park across the street and having our own laundry will be worth the extra cost. At this time I feel as if I am leaving my healing space and moving into my home space.

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    • Seeing your apartment as your healing place is exactly what I have done a couple of times in my life. I just needed to escape and get clarity. I loved those apartments for that period in my life.

      Sounds like you found the perfect home for your needs good luck with your move.

      It’s sad how costly owning a home can be, but yes in time if they need major repairs and drain our savings they do own us. One thing nice about renting is should we realize the space doesn’t fit our needs we can leave at the end of our lease and know we didn’t put a huge investment into it.

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  3. I prefer renting our apartment, to owning our house. Although I LOVED having a mobile home. We had neighbors nearby, the rent was cheap, and it was easy to get out of. I have a feeling that living aboard will have all the same perks, plus more mobility and the option to live rent-free and anchor out. ;-)

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    • Being creative and having a passion for interior decorating is the only downside to renting. If I owned my space I would widen the doorway to the bathroom, open the closet up so it was easier to access and remove the huge mirror over the kitchen area. Oh and change the fiberglass vanity in the bathroom that is dinged and stained from years of use. I would also replace the front stationary window with a slider that was more energy efficient. As you can see I would sink some money in here, although the only real spending would be on the vanity which I would replace with wood and seal and the window. The doorways would be easy enough to find the help to cut the openings and I could do all the finishing work.

      I loved my mobile home, although freezing pipes in the winter were an issue and the roof gave us problems in one area year after year, but it was stressful knowing the home was old and things were bound to start going. This apartment and one I rented in Arizona were so perfect for me that I would have liked to have owned them, similar to a condo situation where the structural things were still someone elses problem and costs.

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  4. Small world – we, too, have been struggling with our heating system as the temperatures drop… It’s 25 years old and apparently, was only made to last for 15 years so we shouldn’t grumble but are presently having to restart it every 1-2 hours to keep the house on an even, non-freezing temperature!
    We moved into a small town after living in a country village for a long time and it has been perfect as the kids grew up and were able to be independent and not need me to chauffeur them everywhere.
    We consciously chose a smaller house than is standard here, knowing how time would fly and all the kids would soon have flown the nest – after 4 years, we were left with just one daughter, who is now not home a lot at 18! The funny thing is, we enquired about replacing our gas heating system with a particular type of ecological system (also several other systems) and have been told our house is too small and we don’t use enough electricity to make it worthwhile…!! So the best option for us is – hurrah! – also going to be the cheapest because we just need to replace the existing system with a newer, more efficient one that uses biogas; we may even not have to wait till spring :).

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    • You got a lot of year out of your furnace. Here in the US furnaces don’t last very long any more. A friend replaced her old one with a new higher efficiency model and after only 7 years it needed replaced again. I was there when she confronted the maintenance person about this and he said they are making them cheaper and this is happening to everyone. To say she wasn’t happy is putting it mildly. So you might want to check how the newer models are made in your area to get one that lasts longer.

      Good thinking on your part to buy a smaller home by thinking of the future. The trend we are seeing in my town is of people building or buying a much larger home once the kids move out than they had when they were raising their families. Makes no sense to me at all.

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  5. … And we had a pipe leak under our house. 7 inches of water had to be pumped out from the crawl space. The fans installed to dry out the wet space to prevent mold growth are still running. I am dreading the water bill. As if the plumber and water damage repair bill were not enough.

    Yes, home ownership is a huge financial responsibility!

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    • What a shame. I can just imagine how much that sent you back. Those kinds of things were what kept me up at night worrying when I owned a home. Hope this is the last of the major repairs you will need to make for a while.

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  6. Hi Lois. Glad you are warm again :)

    Your place sounds great and there are so many wonderful benefits of living in a rental, at least for me! I like the closeness of tenants, even if I never see them and I truly feel safe and comfortable behind my door. I have a feeling I’d always be worried about something or other if I owned my home. And since I am far from being a handy man, I’d be spending a lot of money on repairs and such. Nope! For me, apartment living is the right choice even without a lake or garden :)

    Take care and my best to all.

    Irene says hello :)

    Lyle

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    • Lyle, I”m glad you are happy with renting. While I do know quite a bit about home repairs and remodeling I draw the line at roofing and installing furnaces. :-) Yes, like you I feel very safe in my apartment. I would desperately miss my garden and the lake. Having grown up along Lake Erie I need to be close to water or I feel displaced and lost.

      Please tell Irene Hello for me too.

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  7. It certainly has it’s pros and cons, Lois. We’ve lived in our home for over 30 years now and have grown close to our neighbors and community. It would be hard to switch to an apartment having been able to stretch out for so many years and not be so close where the walls are thin.

    Take care, my friend, and hope you stay warm. It’s really been cold here too but now coming out of it.

    I also wanted to let you know I nominated you for another award (Blog of the Year 2013 Award). Hope you can accept. http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/happy-surprises-nearing-the-end-of-this-year-blog-of-the-year-2013-award/.

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    • Thank you, Pat. It seems I need to write another award post soon.

      You know I’ve heard a lot of families who turn the main house over to their adult children and build a smaller apartment on the property, often a a part of the existing home or detached. Maybe that could be an option for you if you ever feel you have too much space.

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      • That’s possible but our daughters are not interested in coming back up to the mountains. It’s too far away from everything and all the conveniences they have in town.

        I think if we had more property than we have, a smaller place, like mother in-law quarters, could be built but we only have a little over an acre. We looked into building separate living quarters, like a loft, over the carport but it was pretty expensive along with a lot of red tape with ordinances and permits.

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        • What a shame your daughters don’t envision wanting to return to the mountains. I love the mountains, it feels like home when I visit the Rockies. Add some water and I would be very comfortable.

          Yes, it is expensive to add an addition, If you were able to actually sell the house to one of your daughters for just the amount you needed to add an addition it would be so much cheaper for them to own and would pay for your new living quarters. I know a lot of people here who love their homes, but being too large now that the children are gone have closed off a portion for winter and just live in the areas they use the most.

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          • Yeah, I know Lois — different strokes for different folks. It has it’s drawbacks living up here but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love the sunsets, stars, nature, wildlife and the smell of pine trees.

            I suppose it’s something we’ll have to consider–what to do with the ol’ homestead–as we continue down this path in our golden years. Just don’t want to leave something to burden the girls anymore than they need.

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    • Daniela, I think for me owning was more stressful because I was a single parent. The entire weight was on my shoulders with the responsibility of not being able to make a necessary repair for my children’s sake overwhelming at times. Congrats on your addition btw.

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  8. Lois, we have the odd western world “complaint” of living in too big of a house–at the time of the sale, it was less money for more space than the other two homes we were considering. Sometimes we’re sorry that we bought a house that is bigger than we actually need (more to clean, for sure, and utilities cost more), but we also have moments when we are happy about the choice. Entertaining friends and having the space for guests to stay with us without discomfort to anybody are huge pluses. And we do use every space, so nothing is wasted room. I do remember our renting days, and how nice it was not to do any shoveling or maintenance!

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    • Joy, I think it’s a strange world we live in where bigger is cheaper. I feel for you with the heating bills and the extra cleaning. The one concern I had about a small home was what I would do about overnight guests. Luckily, my guests are basically family and my children are fantastic, they supported my desire to move here and only asked for a futon or sofa bed to sleep on. We treat it as a big sleepover with all of us in one room. Holidays are cozy, to say the least with my youngest, his wife and daughter and his father all sleeping over, but we’ve made it work well.

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  9. I suspect nearly everyone has, simply because perfection doesn’t exist to begin with, and needs change.

    At our house now, we have a pretty view of a hill over which the sun sets. We drive by all kinds of critters, cows, sheep, goats, horses, llamas, for awhile camels….

    However, the house was built in ’79 and has many problems. It’s also now too big for us now that we’re usually 3 instead of 5.

    Finally, though we’ve loved living here, we’re kind of excited about going back for at least a few years to a real neighborhood, one where we see our neighbors regularly and can walk to the store.

    So we’re planning to move in a year or two – but eventually after we get our fill of noisy neighbors and cars, probably back to a more rural area.

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    • I so understand your need to live around people some time and escape others. I always said I could live in the middle of nowhere being a loner by nature. The apartment I lived in before this one was really in the middle of nowhere. It made me see that while I like my solitude I do need to connect with others from time to time.

      My solution was to move to the town but in an area where I wouldn’t hear all the traffic and other noise. Maybe that will be a solution for you down the road as well.

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  10. I have done many of the options for housing–renting, mobile home, apartments, and owning single family homes with little lots and big lots. While there have been things I wished were different about each place, I think they were the right thing for us at the time. As the kids get older, we are starting to think about what the next “right” place might be for us.

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  11. That picture is beautiful! It sounds like you have found an ideal living situation for your needs. It annoys me people tend to view renting negatively- it really is a smart option if you cannot afford the upkeep of a house. We rent our house, it is on a preserved estate(we have a lot of historic preservation sites here). I love it, we are able to belong to an HOA with an inexpensive pool we belong to for the kids, and we live right next to a state park (also preserved space). We would not be able to afford to buy a house like this in our area.
    I think about moving to a cheaper area, but our family is here ( some in walking distance!) and I am really close with my family. And even though it isn’t the best area for walking/biking, I am planning on adding a baby seat to my bike once the weather isn’t wintery anymore.
    I am glad your heat is getting fixed and you don’t have to pay for it -that is an upside to renting. I would love to explore non tradtional heating options instead of our oil heat- that is a downside to renting.

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    • Katie, your home and the amenities are impressive. The one thing I didn’t have on my list when I went looking for a new home 2.5 years ago was community, that was the one huge bonus I received by moving here. I look back and realize there have been times I would have needed to put out money on tools such as for gardening, or needed a trip to the store for a necessary ingredient for a meal (usually my neighbors need that). It’s important to have people close that we can rely on.

      I too would most-likely move to a warmer climate if I didn’t have family here.

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  12. I can identify with your questions. I had a condo and was so unhappy with the noise and second-hand smoke coming into my living area that I sold and bought a mobile home on land. Sometimes I think about not having to shovel snow and the upkeep of this place but for now I am happy to be separate from the neighbours. I know all my neighbours and the distance feels right for now.

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    • Dorothy, I owned a mobile home for several years. It was an older model I thought we could fix up. It served us well, but it was a huge drain on the finances, especially with the roof and furnace. I did like the space I had between my neighbors at the time but oh the work.

      The only thing I don’t like about my apartment is smelling the incense in the hall one neighbor burns. At least the smell doesn’t come inside my apartment.

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