Wait to buy a House? or Now?

Ramsey houseLooking through the paper the other day I noticed the advice of wait to buy a house.  The situation involved seemed to be a young couple getting married that were being given the gift of a down payment by the in laws….  Reading this, I got the impression that the advice given was to not take the down payment because the couple would be then buying a house at the beginning of their marriage.  Advising them to wait a year or so to get to know each other first.  Personally I would hope any couple getting married already knows each other.  When I look at renting versus buying, I see many pros and cons with reasons to choose one over the other, but getting to know each other isn’t one.  I would recommend renting if you think you can’t handle the maintenance of a house yourself.  Buying a house involves unexpected repairs as well as the expected of things like mowing the lawn: everything from fixing the garbage disposal to plumbing issues can come up.  If your furnace goes out that’s an even bigger issue there isn’t a landlord to call in the middle of the night.  But it also means that a percentage of your payment is going to equity each month. After you have paid off your mortgage the house is yours!  We chose a 15 year mortgage on our first house and have now been married 23 years (approx.)…. so if we hadn’t relocated in that time we would have paid off that mortgage and have NO payment. Not only that but we upgraded 5 years in, and with that one, same thing, it would have been paid off also!  Our current house is on a mortgage again, but we have more equity in it than we plan to pay for our retirement home.  When buying it, we knew it was a temporary location  between first retirement (early with enough years) and second retirement from a new place.

Our oldest did decide to wait after looking at houses he could afford for the down payment he had at the end of college. He was starting a new job, just getting started on his household, and just starting on a down payment.  He has been learning about doing small house fixes that include building his new furniture, installing smart bulbs, and figuring out how his fireplace works – he is in a townhouse.  He has a small little patch of backyard to call his own too!

It’s not a cut and dry decision to yes or no buy, but with the advice given, to me it sounded more like a wait – because you might not stay together.  If you are going into your marriage not knowing each other well enough, you have other issues than whether to buy a house.  I know many marriages end in divorce, but going into a marriage planning for the first year to be a ‘lets not make major decisions because we need to get to know each other’ is a little crazy!