So what are your feelings on the rent-versus-own dilemma? With home prices steeply rising before leveling off at the end of last summer, as well as higher interest rates, many people who could own are now opting to just rent instead, indefinitely.
Home ownership does, after all, come with a lot of surprise costs (you often don't realize something like a stove or an HVAC system is failing until it falls over dead). There's also a lot of regular maintenance, which coincidentally, did not get done on this current house and which allowed us to knock thousands off the asking price, meaning you can pay for it now, or pay for it later -- your choice. But you will pay.
Renting, on the other hand, provides a lot of freedom from responsibility but very little security; you can be asked to vacate your home in 30 days by your landlord, for a variety of very legal and valid reasons which have nothing whatsoever with the fact that you've been a great tenant.
Living in and renting a company house for a year, we debated renting versus owning a lot. I was actually pretty happy renting since we had room for the chickens and raised beds and the freedom to do pretty much whatever we wanted with the place, but Big Ag hated renting. He wanted a place he could own outright. So he never really settled in there, despite having his dream barn/shop. What I didn't realize is that I hadn't really settled in, either.
I know this because now that we're homeowners again, things feel completely different. I can't tell you why, but it just feels more like home. The things you laugh at in your rental, like outdated fixtures, you check the budget on in your owned home to see if you can afford to change them. It's like dating versus marriage. There are marriage deal-breakers that we all probably think are amusing and interesting in someone we're having coffee with, like having a pet python or finding out they painted all their bedroom walls black. But is that person marriage material? Oh hell no.
What's funny for me is the amount of old household habits that have come back now that we're in our own place again. I just made a batch of soap last week, we have two new raised beds installed, all ready to go for vegetables this summer, and I planted one of the raised beds over the leach field with sunflowers, hollyhocks, gladiolas, peonies, and zinnias. I've also been working on the front yard landscaping, just adding a few plants I miss from California and which also grow great here in Oregon, like rosemary, English lavender, and Russian sage.
I had four raised beds in the rental that I never used, and plenty of chances to make soap if I'd wanted to. So why didn't I? Probably because of some subconscious feeling that I just didn't want to do things that would make me feel committed to settling in there. Coffee was fine. Marriage was out of the question.
Perhaps it really does matter whose name is on the title deed. There may be a deeper level of settling into a place that only comes when you know it's yours -- when no one can ask you politely (or otherwise) to leave.
And I'm sure "settling in" means different things to different people, but settling in is definitely what we do when we're home.
And we are home.