I have struggled passionately with this over the last year or so. Getting married, making more money, paying utilities all play into the raging question if I should get a mortgage or if I should just stay renting. It is a long struggle, and for some reason most people that I have talked to seem to have their mind made up on what the best decision is.
Up front mortgaging looks like the best move. You get a nice house right away. You are investing money into yourself instead of a landlord or throwing it into the garbage as some people put it. Houses haven’t really gone down much in value; they usually retain their value more than any other asset you can buy. So purchasing a house isn’t like purchasing a car, because you can resell it usually for what you bought it for. Building equity into yourself has a lot of advantages for the future. You are able to just buy bigger and more things as you get older (that could be selfishly or selflessly depending on who you are).
However, I think there are strong arguments out there for me to just stay renting also. For starters renting is risk free. If the market crashes or if something goes wrong, I haven’t lost anything because my money isn’t in my home. Renting also frees you up to leave quicker and easier, yes you could sell your house if you were mortgaging but nothing beats the ease of just leaving your rental and leaving the problems to the landlords. I don’t have any responsibility for repairs, land tax or resale. These are all things that bring stress into lives and people and bog people down. Rent is significantly cheaper also a month, because I’m not paying land tax, repairs and it’s just a cheaper payment a month, I have a lot more money free per month than I would if I owned a home.
Spiritually speaking, getting a mortgage scares me. Part of me feels like I’m joining the ranks of good intentioned humans out there that are able to get something they can’t afford because we live in the west. I can live in the luxury of something I haven’t yet earned and can live with that debt for 10 years or 25 years. I’ve seen too many people live lives of stress and pain because of their debts and living beyond their means. So by getting a mortgage am I somehow saying that I’m invincible? The temptations to get a bigger house in two years won’t affect me. The temptation to constantly buy bigger things on my house’s equity won’t affect me. How do I know this isn’t just a slippery slope of consumerism and materialism? Something I would be a less prone too if I just rented and lived month to month. I’ve been told to just trust God and get a mortgage. I feel sometimes that it would be trusting God more not to get one and live day to day. Is investing for retirement even a right option? Why am I worrying at 23 for when I am 60? Aren’t we told not to worry about tomorrow let alone in 40 years? Am I being selfish just saving and saving and saving every penny I get for some special day in the future? What happens when kids work into the equation? What if they want to go to school? Is it wrong to want to pay for them to go?
I want to be smart with my money. I want to make an impact and do amazing things with it. I want to be able to use my money to get others out of debt and to help anyone in need whenever I see it. I could have an extra $500 a month sitting around if I rent to do that. Or I could put it all into a home now and in ten years have a heck of a lot more to be able to do that plus the deep pockets to make financial decisions that could bless people in the future. I don’t want to be like those that I have seen that live to pay off their debts, and then live to put money into RRSP’s and then live to spend it after. So honestly, what would you do? Rent or Mortgage? Why? What’s the cons of both to you? Pros?