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overheard ...

"You can buy a home for probably around the same price a month as you are paying in rent. You will be
gaining equity, though."

-- Tami, "pros + cons of buying vs. renting" 

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o The Furniture Facelift Fiasco, part I 

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the Incredibly TRUE Confessions of a First-time HOMEowner |  1 2 3 

Getting a driver’s license, reaching voting age, celebrating that twenty-first birthday – no big deal, really. Graduating from college, moving out of the parental nest – pfffft (wave the hand), whatever. Nope, I can say with certainty that it wasn’t until five days ago, having already reached the quarter-century mark on my last birthday, that the first truly grown-up event of my life thus far occurred: with a simple pass of an envelope from the realtor’s hand to my own, my boyfriend and I received the keys to our new house. Our house. As in, the one we now own.

The idea of buying a house first planted itself in our heads for one not-so-pure reason: envy, green as can be. It was a year ago, and our friends Will and Jessica, who had just bought their first house, were throwing a housewarming party to show off the new digs. Trailing after Jessica as she gave us the grand tour, I couldn’t help but fantasize about how I might arrange the furniture, tear out carpeting, re-paint walls, replace lighting fixtures, if only this were my new home to play around with like a dollhouse. Later, in the car on the ride back home, my boyfriend burst out, "So, wouldn’t it be nice to buy a house?" 

So we talked about what we’d want in a perfect house -- good neighborhood near the university, two bedroom minimum, high ceilings, a well-laid-out kitchen with plenty of cabinet space (my requisite), maybe even a separate guesthouse that we could rent out – getting ourselves worked up into an excited little frenzy over the romantic notion of having a place that was truly our own. We even worked out the math, balanced loan interest and property taxes and closing costs, along with the fact that we might only be in Tucson another several years  (a probable scenario, given that we will no doubt be moving after he gets that Ph.D.), and determined that financially, there would be no money gained or lost by deciding to buy rather than rent. Three years was pretty much the break-even point; nonetheless, the idea of owning a place, together, still seemed appealing. But too busy (okay, lazy) to do any real research into what might be involved were we to get out of the rental trap and make the big leap towards buying, we promptly proceeded to take absolutely no action whatsover. Besides, we rationalized, buying just seemed too scary – like something that only old, married, grown-up-type people did.

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