The Cost Of Buying A House – Loss Of Freedom For Stability
It is starting to sink in now, our massive decision of buying a house. The debt we’re taking on, the roots we’re setting in. How we can’t just tell our landlord we’re leaving and then in a month or two, we’re off. An unusual feeling for both of us, having been vagabond students and short term workers all our adult lives.
I might have felt different about it if I had done my entire degree in the same city, but I didn’t. By the time I realized what I wanted to specialize in, I was two years into my bachelor’s, and my then university did not offer that specialization. When I finished my master’s there were no jobs, so I moved back to my friends in the first city to work random jobs for a year. After that, it was time to pack my suitcases again to move to London with Mr. Frugasaurus.
I’ve packed my suitcases and all my earthly possessions into the luggage restrictions of airplane companies so many times that I have learned to donate what I don’t need or can easily re-acquire with a heavy-handedness which scares my hoarder friends.
And now, when we moved back to Trondheim for my now job, for the first time ever, we rented an unfurnished flat. We had to get furniture (free, of course), and we had room for things that were ours, more than just the clothes on our backs, a laptop and a few books. It feels good, knowing that if we make a stain on the couch, it belongs to us so it won’t be a problem. On the other hand, we can’t just up and leave as easily as we have before. Even listing things for free online takes time.
I don’t think I’d work well as a digital nomad. I’m far too fond of the idea of putting down roots for that. But for someone who loves Fhaving a safe base to operate from, I must admit I haven’t had one for what feels like a terribly long time. My parents divorced when I was in university. None could afford or had the energy to maintain the house, so it was sold. Gone was the home we had moved to when I started in fifth grade.
That was the turning point when I could no longer say honestly that I was going “home” for the holidays. Because neither of my parent’s new homes were places I had ever lived. I got used to the idea of “visiting family” instead. But where was home? Certainly not the places we rented for a short time and then moved on.
I came to rely on friends to be my roots. Amazing friends all over the country who gladly opened their homes to me and shared everything they had with me.
And now we are trying to put down roots of our own.
The small doubt
I have written about the fear of financial house FOMO before. It clearly hit a nerve with some of the other financial bloggers, because it was without a doubt one of my most shared articles.
The difficult thing is, that for a house buy to actually pay off, most say you should live in it for ten years or more. And with me being the dreamer I always was, of course there is this nagging presence in the back of my mind: What if a fantastic forever home shows up, long before that time? And of course: What if the market tanks?
That is a river we will have to cross when we get there. But I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous. Not that there’s anything we can do about that now. The papers are signed, and we are just waiting for the previous owners to move out. I don’t know how it is where you live, but here in Norway, buying a house takes quite a bit of time.
Of course I am excited too. The shorter distance to my friends, the garden, the kitchen and the space I have already carved out to be my office in the easily three times larger living room. Of course I am excited.
But I would be amiss if I didn’t also admit that I am nervous. We just signed on to a shared debt ten times larger than my student loan debt. That is no trifle sum. What if our sidehustles don’t play out the way we hope? What if I have to endure the nagging uncertainty and repeat rejection of applying for jobs again after my current contract ends? People keep writing about how the worst that can happen if you don’t succeed at financial independence is that you have to get a job like normal people. But when you are young, with little work experience and a brain which works differently from most, getting a job is not as easy as many bloggers make it sound.
I will work my butt off to ensure it does not come to that. For three years I lived from contract to contract and from paycheck to paycheck. I do not want the uncertainty of just one income stream ever again. I am not entirely sure how, but we will figure it out.
This is one of those instances where I am really relieved and happy that we are two in this together. If I can’t build a sufficient income stream in 2.5 years because work is demanding, at least Mr. Frugasaurus has an honest chance of creating something reliable. I am not sure I would have done this, knowing it is not the forever home we want, if it was just me alone.
Solar panels and bathtubs
Is it silly of us that one of the things we are really excited about with the new house is that the bathroom is ripe for an upgrade, meaning we can get a bathtub in there? I love the possibility of enjoying a good soak mid-winter. We almost never did it as children, even if we had a tub, because hot water was too expensive. The sheer luxury a tub represents for me can almost not be described in words, even if we won’t use it a lot. Just having it there with the possibility fills me with joy.
And of course, perfectly functional and practically new bathtubs show up online for free pretty regularly.
Maybe in the long term, we could even put up some solar panels? The roof is the right angle and direction for it, and an online calculator tells us it could halve our dependency on the grid. I find that idea utterly fascinating, especially after the government came out last week with a list of things they recommend people keep in their house so they can stay alive for at least 72 hours if power and water is shut in the event of an emergency.
Weather being what it has been along the coast recently, I can see why they wanted to update the recommendations.
Buying a house-jitters
I never got bitten by the travel bug to any noticeably extent. I did not understand what people talked about when they relayed to me how it felt. For me, it was just a matter of getting on the plane/train/ferry and go where I had planned to go. But then again we have never planned what is commonly known as vacations. We visit friends and family instead.
But buying a house? Boy, oh boy, are we anxious about moving now! Is is still a whole month away, and we haven’t done anything related to packing. The exception being Mr. Frugasaurus, who has listed more than a handful of items for free online to declutter. This makes my inner minimalist happy, as we have so many books we do not read or have no intention of re-reading!
Have you ever bought a house, or are you firmly in the “rent” camp of financial independence bloggers? What were your biggest concerns about buying a house, and how did you get past it? Inquiring and inexperienced minds want to know!