Renter's Remorse, Buyer's Hesitation

Renter's Remorse, Buyer's Hesitation

So, the prophecy has come to pass. Frank now hates our new apartment. If you’ll recall, we were unceremoniously booted from our last place a few months ago and lucked into a great new apartment. An apartment that, at the time, Frank agreed was in many ways superior to the place we were leaving. It’s bigger, it’s a better neighborhood for us, it’s not on the ground floor, etc.

But I knew—I just knew—that after he got settled in, he’d find a way to hate this place, because that is what he always does. Okay, to be fair, we’ve only lived in this place and the old place, but still. What always happens is that he gets all excited about an apartment, then as he lives there, he starts to see little flaws. Of course this apartment has flaws. Every apartment has flaws.

Only he gets so fixated on what he hates about the place that not only is he incapable of seeing any of the million positives about it, he also completely forgets how much he hated the old place and starts romanticizing everything about it. He can’t remember how much he hated living at street level or how dark it was, he can only see our ugly bathroom and the semi-falling apart reno job on the staircase. The fact that he now has an office and his own closet means nothing next to the missing washer and dryer.

I mean, everyone does this to some extent. You start to take for granted everything that’s good about a person or a job or a home and only think about what’s missing. With apartments, though, Frank really does take it to another level, working himself up into a ball of anger at the smallest, dumbest stuff. It’s only when we get kicked out that he starts to get all teary-eyed about how wonderful our home is, blah blah blah.

Which would be fine, I suppose. Everyone’s weird about something. He’s the one who has to spend his time obsessing over how quickly the bathroom tile looks dirty. Except that we’re starting to get kind of serious about this whole buying an apartment thing. Between his new job and a little raise for me and a couple of other things all lining up, it is becoming increasingly likely that purchasing property could be a financial reality.

Only I don’t want to sign away a sizable chunk of my paycheck for the next thirty years on a place that, three months after we move into it, Frank starts to hate. That will make for a long thirty years. Obviously, if at some point we need to sell and move up to a bigger place or move away, that can happen. But we’ll definitely be stuck with whatever we buy for a long time.

There’s a chance this won’t come into play, I suppose. Sometimes his frustration with an apartment comes from the fact that we can’t change the things we don’t like, because it would be stupid to put money into fixing up a place that isn’t ours. Little things, sure, but we’re not going to spend thousands on putting in a tile floor we’d leave behind. So maybe if we owned our own place, he could change all the stuff that bothers him and we’d live happily ever after.

Or maybe I’d spend the rest of my life hearing about what a mistake we made, buying a place where we have noisy neighbors/an ugly kitchen/no outdoor space/whatever.

I really really like the idea of owning my own apartment for a lot of reasons. I can’t be kicked out, for one. And as my friend Beth says, if nothing else you’re guaranteeing that your rent won’t go up for the next thirty years, which, believe me, would be amazing. But sometimes I wonder if I won’t look back on buying a place and also be filled with regret, only for a completely different reason.