Why Being a Homeowner Sucks

Posted by Mrs Money on September 8th, 2010

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Three and a half years ago I was dying to settle down somewhere and find a place to call home.  We decided to purchase a home here and stay put for awhile.  The plan was to fix the house up and sell it for a profit.  We all know how that story has played out so far. :)  Regardless, we really do enjoy living here and making this house a home.  However, there are downfalls and I wish we had known a little more before purchasing our first home. Here’s what I wish we had known (and what sucks sometimes) about being the home owner.

-You’ve got to maintain the yard work yourself.  The beautiful gardens in the front and backyard?  They have to be weeded and maintained.  Sure, things are pretty easy to grow, but weeds are as well!  If you’re thinking about buying a house with some property, think of mowing it by yourself with a push mower.  That may make you change your mind.

-Paint is cheap but painting can take forever.  I just worked on painting our master bedroom for over a month!  It wasn’t continuous, but it was something that was a large project due to the crown molding and trim that had to be repainted due to its nasty off white color that looked bad with the new paint.

-You will end up wanting new flooring if it’s not brand new.  When we moved in, there was carpet in many of the rooms.  The only room now that has carpet is the guest bedroom, and I’d like to get rid of that sooner than later.  We had the carpets professionally cleaned, but carpeting with two labs was a small nightmare.

-When you do it yourself, make sure you get the right tools.  When you’re replacing baseboards, a miter box will NOT work the same as a real miter saw.  Trust me.

-If you decide you want to move, you’ve got to worry about selling the house.  Hopefully you won’t lose a ton of money, but with the way the housing market is these days, that’s definitely not a guarantee.

If you don’t own a house, great! Don’t buy one.  Just kidding- kinda. :)

If you do own a home, what’s something you hate about home ownership or maintenance you wish someone had told you before?

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26 Responses to “Why Being a Homeowner Sucks”


  1. Cate says:

    Definitely how LONG painting takes! We also need to repaint all of our baseboards and trim, and I’m terrified.

    We’re glad to own, but it can be a pain.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Cate- Don’t do it! :) What color are your baseboards and trim? Ours were all different colors, lol.

    [Reply]

  2. Kacie says:

    Yeah….I’ve been hearing so many things from homeowners I know, about all the projects they need to do, how much it costs, how long it takes, how much of a pain in the butt it all is…and I’ve gotta say, it makes renting sound really nice!

    I don’t know what we’ll do when we move to Indiana. I do think we will need to rent a few months at the very least to get things figured out, plus it does take awhile to close on a house. But maybe we’ll just find a nice rental house and plan to stay there a little while longer and just not deal with house stuff.

    Cuz it’s not sounding so fun!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kacie- I don’t blame you one bit! You are very smart. Of course, if you were to move to Indiana and you were around family and knew you would stay there for a long time I’d probably buy. Of course, I definitely enjoy our house but it is a lot more work that I imagined. :)

    [Reply]

  3. KaseyS says:

    My wife and I bought a starter home with a WHEDA loan and no down-payment just before getting married. Not a ton of remodeling to do but pretty similar to Mrs. Money’s situation – painting, floors etc.

    That was 5-year-ago and NOW we’re dropping 10-grand on a new roof.

    Home ownership is usually a better idea than renting. I’d say right now is a good time to buy a house – but I’m no real estate expert. It certainly seems like you’re taking more of a risk these days.

    In retrospect – I wish we’d have waited a few years – rented for awhile – and then bought a nicer home with a sizable down-payment.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    KaseyS- Holy crap! 10 grand on a roof!

    I think you’ve got the idea of saving a sizable down payment and renting for awhile. :)

    [Reply]

  4. Joe Plemon says:

    All of your observations are quite valid (my problems are nearly always water related…leaking faucet, backed up sewer line, leak in roof, etc) but in spite of the hassle, I can’t say that owning a home sucks. We have been in the same house for 37 years and still love it. Plus, having it paid for is sweet.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Joe- Water related issues really scare me! I do agree, being in the same house that long and having it paid for both rock!

    [Reply]

  5. Becky R says:

    I thought because I could handle my small yard at my rental (I cared for the yard work there), that I could handle a larger yard. I was wrong. My new lawn is three times as big and so much work.
    I am a single mom and can’t afford to hire a landscaper or someone to mow.
    I have to work a few hours each week just to keep it looking clean, forget about adding extra pizaz.
    I am teaching my boys to help, but they are still a bit young to mow.

    I am still glad to have my own home though.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Becky R- I hate mowing. I think that’s the worst. I’ll bet you can’t wait for the boys to be able to mow! ;)

    [Reply]

  6. Little House says:

    It’s funny, I just posted a book review on a book titled Renters Win, Home Owners Lose. Though the book is slightly biased due to the housing bubble, some of his points on home ownership were right: such as people underestimate the cost of maintenance and repairs. He didn’t mention how it’s more difficult to relocate, but I personally think that’s one major advantage to being a renter.

    But don’t fret; as long as you are thinking of staying a few more years in your home, you might be able to sell it for a small profit. And for now, you can enjoy calling it “your” home.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Little House- I agree. We were talking about how nice it has been to have the same home for 3.5 years and how we really have enjoyed it despite all the work. Sometimes it is overwhelming though!

    [Reply]

  7. We haven’t been surprised by anything thanks to thorough conversations with both sets of our parents, but I’d be sure to remind people that home maintenance is necessary if you don’t want your house to fall apart around you…this takes at least a few hours a month. So far, I’m loving the home owner experience. :-)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    BIFS- Overall we enjoy it too. :) It’s just stressful sometimes, especially when I have to do a lot of it by myself. ;)

    [Reply]

  8. After reading this post and the subsequent comments, I’m glad that I rent! Especially because I HATE yard work and the like – and because I have student loan debt ;-).

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Khaleef- You could always buy a condo later on if you decided. That would be great to not have yard work! :)

    [Reply]

  9. I don’t mind the painting aspect — then again, we don’t have crown molding to deal with. But what really gets us is the landscaping — mowing the lawn, using the trimmer, weeding the flower beds. Perhaps in a few years we’ll suck it up and hire a landscaper, because to us, it would be worth it!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Penny Frugalista- I don’t mind painting the walls, it’s the trim I hate! :) We have these beautiful flower beds and I have no idea how to care for them! ;)

    [Reply]

  10. Ahhh, but once you get all the conditioning done, you will LOVE IT!

    I spent the first 1.5 years doing this and that, and now, it’s all done and it’s been 4 years. Trust me on this. Every good thing takes hard work in the beginning!

    Best,

    Sam

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Sam- That is so good to know! I’ll never forget, when we first bought the house a family friend told me it would be 2 years before we got everything done we wanted to. I laughed. He was right! ;)

    Thanks so much for the positivity! It makes me feel better.

    [Reply]

  11. I’m reading this comments and thinking to myself…where did these people grow up? In an apartment? Maybe a petri dish?

    We always had chores to do; yard work, gardening, feeding the animals, whatever was needed to keep our home looking nice. My parents taught my siblings and me that having your own home was the American Dream and,like most of the good things in life, you’ll get out of it equal to what you put into it.

    Renting is great as long as you don’t mind noisy neighbors, pet restrictions, bland surroundings and, oh yeah, throwing your money away each month on rent.

    Interest rates are 4.5%. Rental rates run >8% of sales price. You do the math.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Betty- LOL! I hated living in an apartment. Overall, I am glad we bought a house; I’m just surprised at how much work it has been! :)

    [Reply]

  12. Matt says:

    I’ve done both – rented, then owned, then rented, then owned…you get the idea. There are pros and cons to each, of course. However, after my latest 8 years of owning, I needed to get back to renting because I needed a break. Sorry, owners – but in my years of experience with both: renting wins. Most homeowners can’t avoid doing a pure mathematical dollars and cents calculation when participating in the own vs. rent debate. If they could, they would drop the money aspects – and instead look at weekends lost to lawn maintenance vs. fishing, bowling, drunken orgies, or whatever floats your leisure boat. It’s not just a money argument – it’s a quality of life argument. I’d rather spend my time goofing off (or doing something productive) than raking leaves or repairing bricks. And yep – I’ve repainted more rooms than I can count. Screw painting. I’d rather call the maintenance people and have them do it, while I’m at the beach.

    Oh – and: yeah, I bought the argument that owning is a great investment. 8 years, several remodeled rooms, tons of sweat equity, and thousands spent at home improvement stores later: I lost money. But hey – the realtors on both ends of my own buy and sell deals made money. The real estate industry will never tout the benefits of renting. Just something to think about.

    In my opinion, home prices have farther to fall – and they should.

    [Reply]

  13. @Mrs.Money Just thinking about those apartment living days makes my eye twitch :-)

    @Matt It’s the age old debate of price versus convenience that can apply to most sources of wasted wealth: food (fast food v. cook at home), car maintenance (change your own oil v. take it to the dealer), etc.

    As an investor: Most people consider the time they put into maintaining and improving their property a capital investment and realize that it takes time to build anything of worth. If you’re looking for an investment that gives overnight returns and requires NO work then real estate is not for you.

    As a homeowner: Owning a home is a lifestyle choice as well as a financial one. In putting down roots and creating your own little corner of the world you commit to being responsible enough to handle all that that goes along with that freedom.

    [Reply]


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