This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Lifelong renter except when we owned a condo (which ended very badly for us) for about 7 years.
Our owning experience was bad, and up until the pandemic I was OK with renting. But having our building sold out from under us - when Boyfriend had been laid off and out of work for 6 months and my job was at risk, though the layoff ended up not taking me - was terrifying. There seems to be a real trend in Chicago for buildings to be for sale, I know a few people who’ve been caught in this. Eviction moratoriums don’t apply to owner-occupied buildings (as in, when your lease is over, an owner can choose to not renew you and move in).
I’m starting to crave more stability and I am SUPER tired of being told what to do in my own living space. I just turned 50, Boyfriend is older… and it’s like, is this something we want to continue dealing with as we age? Building owners, who are younger than us (I know this shouldn’t matter… but, yeah, it frustrates me), telling us what to do, telling us that we can’t compost any more, restricting my use of the backyard when the previous owner didn’t, making us let repair people in for nonessential work when it didn’t feel safe to do so because covid, to name a few things that have happened since our building changed hands.
How’s that going to feel when we’re 60? 70? Older? How is it going to feel at that age if/when our building gets sold and we have to move? This is twice now that we’ve dealt with a building sale, though we didn’t get kicked out either time. How sustainable are rent increases as we age?
We’re strongly considering leaving Chicago but our preferred location seems to have the same thing happening. I look at house for sale listings there (not that we plan to immediately buy, if at all!) and see a lot of “tenant occupied BUT HEY THEIR LEASE IS UP IN 2 MONTHS AND YOU CAN KICK THEM OUT THERE AND MAKE IT YOUR OWN” or “tenant occupied BUT WAY UNDER MARKET, YOU CAN TOTALLY RAISE RENT BY A LOT HERE.”
That being said… our building has had a ton of issues inside and out, and right now our dishwasher is broken and it’s nice that we don’t have to pay for any of that. I have serious concerns about being able to afford house maintenance. And I don’t think I want a condo again because that does not solve the “being told what to do” issue; I was going to get fined for having a few pots of veggies and herbs on my deck when we lived there, there were rules about when we could do laundry, we got slapped with a huge special assessment, etc.
I am just not sure we can afford homeownership in general, especially not a house. We certainly don’t have a down payment. I really don’t know what to do going forward. Going to keep renting for now though.