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Travel & Lifestyle: Why People Give Up House Hunting

Travel & Lifestyle: Why People Give Up House Hunting

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For most, buying a home has never been easy, but in 2024, homeownership can feel like an altogether impossible milestone. Between sky-high interest rates, real estate prices far outpacing wage increases, and seriously tight inventory, many would-be homeowners can’t help but feel the odds are stacked against them. So, we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who’ve put their homeowner aspirations on hold — either temporarily or indefinitely — to share their reasons with us. These are their stories.

1. “We’ve been trying to buy a home since 2020. At this point, we just refuse to pay outrageous prices, with horrible interest, for — and I cannot stress enough — crap. Most of the homes available in our area are new builds. Everything is plywood, staples, glue, and plastic. Everything. The entire house is basically held together by glue in various formats. I’m not paying over $400,000 for, at best, $50,000 worth of product, and most definitely not at 7% interest.”

Grace Cary via Getty Images

2. “Because of HOAs. Screw HOAs. Knowing they exist in many neighborhoods and that you can’t just opt out of them plays a huge factor. They have the ability to be absolute assholes for no reason other than tripping on the first amount of power those bored jerks have ever had.”

—Anonymous, 30, California

3. “My bank of 20+ years decided that despite them offering me outrageous credit cards every year no matter how often I told them to stop, I was a ‘bad risk’ for a mortgage due to being ‘older.’ The housing market is so screwed anyway that if I were to find something now that I could afford, it would be a shithole.”

4. “It’s the lack of available homes, honestly. I have the down payment. I’m pre-approved for a loan. I feel like it’s a mad dash to beat the 2–3 groups of people that have joined up and formed landlord businesses in my town. They compete with each other, so it’s tough as a person just wanting to buy a single home for my husband and me. I don’t want to have to check home-buying apps every morning obsessively and answer calls from our realtor immediately or risk missing out on a property. Or, you miss out if you don’t immediately leave work ‘right now!’ to tour a property and make an immediate offer on the spot. Or you get stuck in a bidding war. It’s been going on for three years now. I regret not buying a home years ago. We weren’t as financially stable, so we thought waiting and building up our savings was the responsible choice. Now, I’m not so sure. There’s just nothing available in our area anymore.”

Virojt Changyencham via Getty Images

5. “I watched my parents lose their house during the recession — not because they did anything wrong, but because the economy shifted, and suddenly their income wasn’t enough. I’m looking at how unstable the economy has been since and the direction it is moving in, and I don’t have faith that we won’t have another financial crisis between now and the end of a 30-year loan. I’m also watching politics, and I am not sure if anywhere is going to be safe. As a queer female, many states are changing laws and policies to be directly hostile to my safety and health. Places that are likely to remain safe are expensive, and the cost of living is steadily climbing. I am priced out of where I grew up, and where I can afford to live may not be safe in the long term.”

—Anonymous, 36, Oklahoma

6. “My kids are so rough on things just by being kids. I’d be pissed if the accidental hole they made in the wall was really ‘my wall.’ Now, I can just patch it the best I can and move on. I don’t stress as much with normal wear and tear because it’s not my investment.”

7. “The market decided to delay my search for me. The cutthroat market and the fact that wanting an inspection will likely cost you the house — because the seller will just go with someone who is willing to not do an inspection — mean no house for me. Why anyone would risk buying a home without an inspection blows my mind.”

Alex Potemkin via Getty Images

8. “No matter how much I save for a down payment, it will never be enough to make any kind of dent in the monthly housing payment. It’s taken me 10 years to save $50K, and it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the housing prices in my area, where the median cost is over $500K. My partner and I have elderly parents here and jobs that don’t transfer well, so moving across the country isn’t feasible, either.”

9. “After working my ass off to save enough for a down payment, I realized I don’t actually WANT the experience of home ownership enough to buy one. I have cheap rent in a rent-controlled building, so I pay about half of the market rate in my city. I don’t worry about repairs, property maintenance, or leaving my house vacant when I travel, which I do about every month. If ever I fall on hard times, there are more protections for me as a renter in my home (thanks, government!) than there are for keeping a mortgage holder in theirs (screw you, banks!). The thought of being locked into a house is just not appealing compared to the low cost and freedom of my life now. Everyone my age I know who bought a home is miserable because of the money and stress involved with keeping up with it.”

10. “I was in the process of building a modular home on my small 3/4-acre property but then stopped the process in construction. Ultimately, the interest rates were too high, and my mortgage payment would still be $2,500. I make $90K a year and can’t afford to buy a house. That used to be considered good money. Here in California, home prices are dropping, but I was told that prices have nothing to do with the ‘value’ of a home. I call bullshit. When enough people stop buying at the prices that are out there, and prices fall, then the value of homes is falling. They need to fall off the cliff; we need another Great Depression to bring home prices back down to reality. Big Business has its fingers wrapped around our throats because everyone needs to sleep somewhere, right? It’s a consumable that they have figured out how to wrangle every last dollar out of people, forcing people to be renters forever.”

—Suzanne, 53, California

Isabel Pavia via Getty Images

11. “The combination of low inventory, inflated prices, and interest rates is the worst for buying a home. We would end up getting an older home that we didn’t love, and it would likely need work, or else things would start to fall apart. All at a price that we know is too high and not what it’s worth — and a mortgage that is three times what we would have gotten just a few years ago! Forget it. We’ll wait.”

—Anonymous, 39, Washington, DC

12. “Purchasing a home is never ‘buy it and enjoy.’ There’s always something that needs to be done or fixed that can be a cash-sucker. I bought a condo, and on my first weekend home, Thanksgiving weekend, the refrigerator gave out with over $200 of food in it. Then the dishwasher exploded….and on and on. When I sold the place, the furnace broke down, so I had to replace it two days before the closing. I still like the idea of buying a home, but it would have to be really special and at a great price to compel me ever to do it again.”

13. “We simply cannot find the right house that seems worth paying more for than our current rent. We’ve been in our small apartment for 16 years in a fantastic neighborhood that we love, and the rent is still very cheap. I would love to have a little more space and be able to have a garage and garden, but all the houses that become available are either way more home than we want to take care of or absolutely neglected money pits. My husband and I have construction skills and would like to be able to put some sweat equity into a house and make it the way we like it…but it seems like every house that may have been affordable is bought by a flipper whose work we don’t trust and don’t want to pay for. Now, we are looking for a piece of land to build a small house on, and we’re trying to save up more money to do so.”

Kathrin Ziegler via Getty Images

14. “I have been saving for a while for a down payment on a house. Several years ago, I was close to having enough, but my mom was desperately in need of a stable home after having bounced around renting for most of her life. I contributed most of what I had saved so she could have stability as she approached retirement. After saving for a while again, I decided to become a single parent and put a good chunk of my savings towards IVF and starting parenthood. Now, I’m finally back to where I was before, financially, but the housing market has taken off so much that anything I can afford would be much smaller and in a worse location than the two-bedroom condo I currently rent. My landlord is great and hasn’t raised my rent to keep up with market rates, so I feel lucky and trapped. I don’t think housing prices will ever come back down to where they were. It feels like a chronic treadmill of trying to save enough but never getting there.”

15. “Being house-poor sucks. My husband and I owned a home for seven years almost a decade ago, but had to sell it because of family issues. Let me tell you: The cost of upkeep on a house is not worth it. Now, we rent a home and pay less than the mortgage we had. We don’t have to worry about if the fence blows down in a storm or if the roof needs replacing. That’s our landlord’s problem.”

16. “Beyond the money, we can’t even find a decent house that stays on the market long enough for us to even look at it or consider an offer. In my area, the average time a house is listed is 18 days, and that’s if it even ever gets to be listed. My realtor told me 70% of houses he’s sold in the last year never get listed publicly — it’s all word of mouth ‘so-and-so is thinking of selling,’ and then next thing you know, the house is sold before anybody else gets a chance. The three times we have been able to look at a home and considered putting an offer in, we received word that offers higher than the asking price were coming in and beating us out. And these were for fixer-uppers, definitely nothing nice. Having the money to buy is one thing, but finding a home is another thing entirely.”

RichLegg via Getty Images

17. “While interest rates and prices have skyrocketed, my income has barely changed. I already work two jobs to pay off student debt and medical bills and afford my current rent. If I bought a house, it would be a shithole for what I can afford, with no way to afford to fix it up and make it liveable.”

—Courtney, 28, Nebraska

18. “I honestly have this thing about ‘ownership’ in general. The idea that people need to ‘own’ anything seems weird, as it’s a very colonial way of thinking. The idea of homeownership almost seems like a lie to oneself about how much importance we give to ourselves. Once we’re gone, we don’t own anything, so what’s the point of investing all my money in a home or buying land when it’s not really mine to begin with? Nah…I prefer to rent. At least then, I know the lease, like my time in this world, is finite, and I won’t be tied down by a deed.”

19. “We can’t afford one in our school district. We live with my in-laws so my daughter can attend a school with outstanding special education services. She’s been able to thrive there, so it’s worth living in the basement for a few more years.”

laughingmango via Getty Images

20. “As a person who has student loans, I’m aware of the decision I made, and I do make my payments, but it also makes it harder to save for a house down payment when your student loan repayment is $500/month, and hardly any of it is going toward principal! I take care of my mother, and that has its own expenses. Throw a car payment on top of that with insurance…and people wonder why millennials literally have to choose what they want: a house, a reliable car, comfortable living, having kids and growing a family, or a somewhat nice wedding. It’s only one these days. We have $15K saved up, and according to multiple lenders we’ve spoken to, we are nowhere near where we need to be to purchase a $500K home, granted our 700+ credit scores. So renting is our future for the next couple of years, and we will continue to save and see what happens with the market.”

21. “My partner and I have been together for seven years, and we’re both in graduate school, so apartment living is best for us right now. We get to relocate to different cities without feeling tied down to a specific location, especially when it’s so expensive to buy a home. It’s nearly impossible.”

22. “The cost of maintenance. In my current apartment, most repairs are free unless you’ve willfully caused significant damage. But I would have to do those things either myself or pay for someone else to do them if I owned a house. I’ve watched my parents spend over $20K in the last year alone on sudden, necessary repairs to their home that is getting older. I’d rather have the peace of mind of knowing it’s not coming out of my pocket than have to worry about and plan for huge repairs like that.”

23. “Life right now is too unpredictable, especially financially. I want to buy a home, but the thought of my roof leaking or needing to pay for repairs gives me anxiety. Paying rent is useless in the long run, but it gives me temporary financial relief and stability. I like that if my faucet stops or my A/C is broken, it won’t be taken out of my rent. I love knowing how much my bills, including rent, will be each month without financial surprises.”

24. “I’m working toward becoming a licensed architect, and I can’t see the value in purchasing a home that is a hack job of a ‘flip’ or so overpaid for that you no longer have the opportunity to fix the house because of a higher mortgage. I also went to grad school to help start my career and came out with $160,000 in student loan debt — the same cost as a home in some areas. If I got a house now, I would live paycheck to paycheck. This is why I still live at home at almost 33. I’m scared. I’m afraid of incurring more massive debt that I can’t afford. It’s just me; I’m single and don’t have another person to help manage, pay, and work on the house with me. I’m scared that I’ll never get to the point where I’ll actually be able to buy a house and live comfortably.”

25. And finally: “If I think about it too long, it’s depressing and soul-crushing. My husband and I are in our 30s, have stable employment, and, as a whole, we bring in a comfortable household income…yet we feel we’ll never have the luxury of calling ourselves homeowners. It’s deflating. We work hard and are doing our best to give our son a great childhood, but I’m saddened that something as simple as a yard to play in or being a part of a neighborhood of kids will be a long road. Where we live, the average home price is nearly $500,000, and there’s a ton of competition as our area expands with more and more companies moving here. Since we’ve never owned a home, it’s not like we can just pull past home sale profits to go toward our down payment, closing costs, or renovations; therefore, we just can’t compete. Gone are the days of picking up a reasonable family home with an average income. Affordable housing is no more — but cheers to the American dream, right?”

—Anonymous, 33 North Carolina

AleksandarNakic via Getty Images



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