All last week, we looked at the Housing Recovery theme, challenging the arguments and assumptions of the Residential Real Estate bulls. Last Monday, we began with Debunking the Housing Recovery Story, looking at the huge overhang of Shadow inventory. On Tuesday, it was a Reality Check on Home Affordability. Wednesday, we looked at valuations in the Problem With Home Prices. And on Thursday, we discussed Foreclosures: A Decade Long Overhang.

Today in part 5, we take a closer look at the Psychology of Renting — the factors that have led to a fear of owning homes, and how his may play out in the Housing recovery.

~~~

Way back in 2005, as we were approaching the peak of the Real Estate frenzy, David Leonhardt published an interesting and rather contrarian article, Is It Better to Buy or Rent?. The Pulitzer prize winning business reporter for the New York Times wrote:

“But renting might deserve another look right now. After five years in which rents have barely budged while house prices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and elsewhere have doubled, renting has become a surprisingly smart option for many people who never would have considered it before.”

That was 2005 — since then, the Real Estate market crashed 35% nationally. Rents have risen dramatically. After under building rental units for a decade or longer, Home builders have been increasing the percentage of multi-unit homes and apartments they are constructing. The Architecture Billings Index has risen. Not owning a home has increasingly become the first choice for many new households.

We have become a Nation of Renters.

Why has this dramatic shift away from the American Dream of home ownership occurred? Some of it is outside of the potential home buyers control — namely, lacking the financial wherewithal of a 20% down payment and/or ability to qualify for a mortgage. But much of it is driven by Psychology — there are very specific fears of ownership that are (at least partially) alleviated by renting:

1. Owning an asset class that is still falling in price;

2. Being stuck with a property you cannot sell;

3. Losing one’s job;

4. Impact of rising Interest Rates on prices;

Despite repeated premature calls of a housing bottom from the likes of savvy investors such as Wilbur Ross and Warren Buffett, we have yet to see prices find much stability. (Premature being the polite word for terribly wrong). What we can legitimately observe is that prices are falling more slowly — but that is not the same as bottoming.

Buyer Psychology plays a huge role in this. When it comes to psychology, we are less concerned with what will actually happen and more focused on potential buyers’ perceptions and concerns of what could happen. That is what drives their behavior.

Falling Prices: Its my opinion that it is very doubtful home prices will fall another 35%; However, buyer psychology is that after a steep drop, the fear of a continuing price slide remains. The prior drop impacts their behavior in such a way that they behave as if a similar fall is likely. We see very similar behavior in equity investors, who after a 50% drop in prices, fear more of the same. Their reaction is to panic and sell out, forming a bottom.

Most people do not want to own an asset class that is still falling in price. The ability to ignore the downside momentum and buy into the fall is beyond many traders — and potential home buyers.

Inability to Sell: If you are a long term owner, the short term price fluctuations are irrelevant. But if you may need to sell your property over the short run — let’s define that as less than 5 years after purchase –  there is a possibility that the home will sell for less than the purchase price. For someone who saved for a decade to build up a down payment, that is a situation to be avoided.

Even worse than the dollar hit is the situation of not being able to sell the house at any price. This is a problem severely underwater owners face. There homes are worth less than their mortgages, and they suffer from a form of economic immobility. Without a banks permission to effect a short sale, they are stuck. The data shows that once a home is more than 25% underwater, the possibility of a WalkAway or voluntary default goes up dramatically. The impact of this default on credit ratings is severe.

Job Insecurity: Some of the Rental Nation psychology also comes from a very legitimate fear of losing one’s income. The mass layoffs during the Great Recession and the inability of many people to get another job of comparable salary is a very credible worry. If one were to lose one’s job, a home mortgage and sale becomes a burden. The thought process seems to be its is its easier to find a cheaper rental than go through the full process of selling the home under duress.

Rising Mortgage Rates: The last element in the fear of buying is probably the one that potential buyers are least concerned with; its also the one that has the greatest potential impact on transaction prices: Rising interest rates.

Purchasers of homes are mostly concerned with their monthly costs — the amount they must pay in interest & principle, insurance taxes and maintenance. Interest rates are presently near record lows. The likelihood of an increase over the next decade is a very high probability. Rising rates are not usually a positive factor in terms of homes prices.

Indeed, from the 1970s to 2004, rates were in a secular downtrend. That was very supportive of higher home prices. As rates fall, one can carry the same house at the same monthly cost with a higher purchase price. For most of the past 3 decades, interest policy of the Fed has been an ally of home ownership. Today, it is likely a future headwind.

~~~

We have seen more than $6 trillion in owner’s equity destroyed since housing peaked in 2006. Look at the Housing market in Japan — its still a mess, more than 2 decades after its 1989 peak.

The negative implications of buyer psychology are still with us. This is a process, one that will take time to heal. A few years of stable prices, an improving economy, and recognition of the many negatives of renting will eventually bring home ownership back into vogue. But that process is ongoing; it may still not resolve itself for any number of years.

We have made some significant progress — but we are not quite there yet.

>

See also:
Rent vs Buy Calculator (NYT)

Category: Psychology, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

36 Responses to “Fear of Buying: The Psychology of Renting (Part 5 of 5)”

  1. tradethisway says:

    BR, I have to point out a piece of sensationalism that is inserted here (perpetuated from other sloppy media) and that is uncharacteristic of your otherwise great and insightful work.

    “We have become a nation of renters” ? Really? To quote that NBC article, “the percentage of Americans who own their home dropped from a peak of 69.2 percent in late 2004 to a 13-year low of 65.9 percent in the second quarter.”

    Let’s look at this: from 69% to 66%. And we interpret this as a nation or renters? I just fail to make that connection. Yes, the trend is there, and in the grand scheme of things if you are looking at the millions of people that should never have been homeowners, we are going to a more reasonable level, with a higher percentage that now rent. The shift in my view of the figures is not that “dramatic”. It is a manifestation of today’s conditions: as you say, tight lending, joblessness, RE market declining. All these are temporary.

    But to say “nation of renters”, I would say we need to see that number change from 69% to more like 49%, where at least the number of renters exceeds homeowners………. When that happens (if we truly follow a Japan scenario of multidecade slump) what we we going to say then?

  2. Jim67545 says:

    Might history not also mark this as the high water mark of the empire of the United States? Hope not.

  3. Rick Caird says:

    “tradethisway”,

    I wonder if what MSNBC meant by “Nation of renters” is that when contemplating a move or changing housing, people are more likely to rent than to buy. Certainly, anyone who was foreclosed is unlikely to have a down payment. This may refer more to trend than to absolute numbers.

  4. Greg0658 says:

    tradedisway 4% comment slowed me .. I was thinking along the way and will post anyway:
    A point from a national policy standpoint – psychology of rent/own – ie: the vested interest* in the community; and also the building & land condition itself – a national policy to encourage owning has benefits.
    and secondly the #2 above with a switch:
    “2. Being stuck with a property you” don’t wish to drag around from rental to rental – slows consumption which if believable is equal to owning that home (per year) at 70%

    * defined as local politics, schools, to some extent Teams, bricks&mortar/www

  5. Ted Kavadas says:

    I think that a very important factor, one that often lacks recognition in the buy vs. rent decision, is the ability for a homeowner to sell their house in a timely fashion, at a good (i.e. close to market, no excessive discounting) price.

    From what I have seen and heard, this ability to sell residential real estate varies greatly by location, size of house, etc.

    One thing seems pretty certain, though…whereas during the real estate bubble, selling one’s house quickly and (at least) at a decent price was a reasonable assumption, it now seems shortsighted to make this assumption.

  6. Greg0658 says:

    ps – the tv is doing a segment of kids in the classroom .. remiss not to toss in now:
    psychology of moving the kids ie: their friends base .. another discussion that is +or – .. almost offT

  7. BennyProfane says:

    “That was 2005 — since then, the Real Estate market crashed 35% nationally. Rents have risen dramatically. ”

    Dramatically? Really? Like to see some data backing up that drama.

  8. ComradeAnon says:

    Are we starting to think that our homes will no longer appreciate any where near the historical average? What effect would that have on the future?

  9. SteveRJohnson says:

    Is it possible Americans are also now discovering that owning a house is just one more piece of the bill of goods pitched by the great American marketing machine? Renting, even among the affluent, is common in most of the world. As a data point of one, I have discovered that renting is a fantastic psychological alternative to owning- one that far outweighs the supposed piece of mind of owning my own place. Having owned a house since college graduation 20 years ago, I no longer do (by choice) and have been thrilled by the decision. No renovations, no repairs; kitchen floods- call the landlord and go have a drink. I also find that the cap. rate on high-end rentals, even excluding variable ownership costs (repairs, etc.), in most major markets is around 3-4%, which indicates that buying, except in cases of unsustainable price bubbles that are exited with perfect timing, is a terrible financial choice. Most landlords of single families are willing to sign at least med-term contracts, say 3-5 years, which makes you just as much an owner as if you owe the bank 100% of the value.

    We should always try to remember that houses are intrinsically nothing more than piles of bricks and mortar, and that the important parts of them are the occupants and their health, dreams, love, etc.

  10. jaymaster says:

    Another factor that concerns me is demographics, mostly, the shift to an older population base with a declining pool of younger folks. This could also be a factor in the lack of rebound in Japan, as they are a few years ahead of the US and Europe in their age shift.

    As the baby boomer generation ages and starts to enter retirement, many of them are finding they no longer want or need (or possibly can afford) their 4 bedroom McMansions or what have you, so they look to downsize to something more manageable. And as energy costs go up, the appeal of heating and cooling such a large space goes down. Lots of older folks are looking for something with a single level, low maintenance, and closer to medical centers and public transportation.

    So what happens when all of those older, larger homes hit the market?

    I have similar concerns with the stock market. Not only are the baby boomers a huge cohort, but they are also the first generation retiring, for the most part, without defined benefit pensions. What will happen when they stop regularly buying equities and start selling them as they are required to cash in their 401k’s and IRAs? I don’t think we have ever experienced anything quite like this before.

  11. Arequipa01 says:

    “savvy investors such as Wilbur Ross ”

    ‘savvy’ if and only if one includes the ability to get George effin Bush to impose steel tariffs to protect your investment in ISG- which was only tenable if you had the political juice to screw the pensioners- I mean screw and make it stick, well then, Mr. Ritholtz, I guess you’re accurate in your description.

    Also, in your list of ‘fears of ownership’ I would encourage you to consider that some fear unpredictable monetary policy as well as obvious and open collusion between the instances of the US Federal Govt and the big money center banks, PDs all. ‘Ownership’ as an individual is so contingent and tenuous that one wonders how high or Zolofted one must be to ‘rent’ money to acquire something you will never be allowed to own…

    Personal anecdote- my wife and I, having the money to put more than 20% down on basically anything we wanted back in late 2005, early 2006, realized that the proportions were out of whack…and when I read Michael Hudson’s essay in the April 2006 Harpers, it became clear that two things were underway- catastrophic crash in RREE, and the revelation of the deeply criminal nature of those operating the system, gov/private. We were fortunate enough to rent a very comfortable home from someone who had owned the property it sits on since the late 40s, and built the house in the late sixties (a cabinetmaker- the house has good bones like Isabel Rosselini has good genes). Great place, and such a deal, good owners (may they rest in peace). The new owners, with plenty of moola, couldn’t get a reasonable rate on a loan to buy it back in 2010 so they stroked a check, cash on the barrel head, and closed their substantial accounts at one of the biggies. We are finishing our lease, happy as clams and moving. Already leased to a new tenant, no change in the rent. And except for the racket of selling unnecessary debt to the local municipality, the whole transaction functions at a remove from the TBTF.

  12. AHodge says:

    not bad but more can be said? there no real scenarios here
    it may still be subbing level (bad) for direction?
    what is the likelihood it could turn back down?
    is that much less than an improving trend likelihood? risk outlook therefore directional
    is there more or less downside here than the overall econ outlook?
    im not in yet
    prices may be the last to turn,
    but be back in sooner than later on mkt direction
    in what? dont know yet lumber excavators specialized services, homebuilders, roadbuilders,realtors
    we will soon, meaning probably less than 18 mo, maybe less than 6 mo, need a lot more starts than are started now

  13. bulfinch says:

    BR states: “Some of it is outside of the potential home buyers control — namely, lacking the financial wherewithal of a 20% down payment and/or ability to qualify for a mortgage.”

    Speaking personally, I spent the last couple of years getting 20% together in cash…but the longer I have deferred gratification and even some minor repair and replacement of non-discretionary items, the higher my expectations become. Not grandiose by any means, but certainly more than what I would have settled for when I had only 4 -5% saved.

    Here’s the other thing; I’m not willing to sink my cash into something that is priced for a market where 97% leveraged loans are still the order of the day. I don’t like the idea of taking out a similar loan because, as I’ve seen it described elsewhere, the idea of renting with debt just seems silly.

    I’m guessing there is a decent sized pool of other would-be buyers like me — *qualified* pent-up demand — engaging in what seems like a staring contest with housing policymakers.

  14. BennyProfane says:

    @jaymaster

    Two things.

    The Boomers would love to downsize their ridiculously large MacMansions, but, can’t, of course, because the “move up” market they pioneered (my parents bought one house, and lived all their lives in it. This move up thing was just another symptom of the ponzi RE scheme) is frozen, and, they have borrowed so much on the place that they can’t afford to take any sort of “loss”.

    And, it’s a myth that the Boomers are heavily invested in the stock market. Hell, it’s a myth that they have any savings at all. The average 401k balance is about 50,000. One third of Boomers have zero retirement savings, and will have only Social Security to live on if they can no longer work. The top ten percent of Americans own 90% of the net worth in this country, and, while Boomers may outnumber younger folks a bit more in that ten percent, not by much. Ask yourself, if the Boomers were so flush, why are their children breaking records for student debt right now? That’s right, they spent and borrowed and spent, not even saving for their kids education, and the only asset they think they “own” is their home, which is a giant albatross hanging from their necks, underwater and costing them a middle class wage in property taxes and utilities alone.

  15. Arequipa01 says:

    A further comment: ‘one must be to ‘rent’ money to acquire something you will never be allowed to own…’

    We have an acquaintance from Spain who ‘owns’ an apartment in Madrid. I learned something that in my lamentable ignorance I had not known- in Spain, you cannot discharge a RE loan in bankruptcy*. A few days later I had an epiphany- the banker does not want the ‘principal plus interest’ he/she wants the state of indebtedness to persist. In perpetuity, if possible. Transgenerationally.

    *according to my acquaintance- as I am ignorant, I have not gone and verified this on my own. If this is not the case, I would happy for any scorn and excoriation others might offer (as well as information regarding loans and bankruptcy en España)…tal vez el erudito y cultísimo Benjamín el Profano aportará alguna precisión al respecto…

  16. b_thunder says:

    Just wondering… RE is not likely to fall 35% – how much could it potentially fall if the mortgage rates rise to their pre-2001 Greenspan Bubble average, say 6.5%, by 2014/15?

    would it mean 20% drop? 25%?

  17. ES says:

    Nobody has mentioned realtor (mafia ) costs? This is the #1 obstacle to sellign a house in Texas. Housing prices are relatively low and stable here, and having to pay somone 6% of market prices to sell the house is a huge burden. Many times it means you’d have to take a loss. This is the major factor in housing market being so illiquid.

  18. Julia Chestnut says:

    Sold my house in April 2006 – 6 years ago this month. We’ve been renting ever since. We have had two moves in the interim, one within the same state (300 miles or so) and the other to a different state in an entirely different region (3000 miles or so). I was looking for a house after the first move – I have never considered being able to buy in our current (insanely expensive) locale. I could now do it, I suppose, but it would involve saving for a down payment when I also have to do some massive saving for college for my three kids. It seems wrong to put the money into housing when keeping them off the loan treadmill would be a better use for the funds.

    Add to that the fact that within a few years all of my kids will move out – and then I won’t need as much room. Why buy a house that will be twice what I need in 6 years? Considering the way things have been going in this country, I also feel more secure knowing that I would not have my major investment locked into a piece of real estate if I have to move again on short notice.

    I don’t think that I’m unusual. The stock of good rental s has shrunk, and rents have increased steeply as people view renting as an increasingly sound option. But right now, I can’t see doing it any other way. I used to see a mortgage as evidence of being a grown up, but now I see refusing to chain myself to one as the most responsible move I could make. Sure, I’d love to have the security of my own house and do what I’d like there – but frankly, that’s a huge luxury right now that I can ill afford.

    I’m the only one of my siblings that does not own a house, though. I don’t know how wide spread my attitudes are.

  19. marianlibrarian says:

    Also of note, it takes 8-10% of asking price to sell a house. Nothing to sneeze at.
    You’d think the realtor fee portion of the sales cost would go down with the efficiencies of the internet, but no. Big brokerage firms take a huge cut of both sides of the sales costs, but I have never figured out what value they add to the job the individual agents perform other than E&O insurance. Moreover, how can a listing agent justify a percentage based fee? How could it take more work to sell a 300k house than a 138k house? It’s not like they clean the houses they list–oh, maybe the extra digital photos.

  20. obsvr-1 says:

    tradethisway Says:
    “We have become a nation of renters” ? Really? To quote that NBC article, “the percentage of Americans who own their home dropped from a peak of 69.2 percent in late 2004 to a 13-year low of 65.9 percent in the second quarter.”

    ***
    What is the number of folks that own their home outright ? Until one pays off the mortgage to remove that Bank Lien they are effectively renters. Yeah, I know they have the built up equity and could sell the house to pay off the mortgage — unless you are underwater like 25% of the mortgage holders are, or nearly underwater (within 5-8% equity) ++25%. Oops starting to look more like a “Nation of Renters”.

    See: 27 Amazing Statistics About The Real Estate Crash That Never Seems To End: More Foreclosures, More Underwater Mortgages And More Home Price Declines

    http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/27-amazing-statistics-about-the-real-estate-crash-that-never-seems-to-end-more-foreclosures-more-underwater-mortgages-and-more-home-price-declines

    ~~~

    BR: You are showing the result of the past 60 years activity — but see what happens when you look at the data for just the past 5 years (I should have been more precise)

  21. JimRino says:

    Home’s have other costs:

    Wife Requires a $10,000 bathroom remodel.
    You pass go, and discover Termites, pay $1600.00.
    Wife requires new washer/dryer: $1000-2000.
    You’re garbage disposal springs a leak: $500.

    Rent? None of these occur.

  22. JimRino says:

    Then, there’s a new roof, new siding, new windows…

  23. jaymaster says:

    And nobody has yet brought up the lien on a house that never goes away: property taxes. Yes, renters pay that indirectly. But still the idea that you can pay off your own house and live free and clear is just a myth in most areas.

    I have a friend whose annual tax liability on his house went from $5k to more than $20k annually in just a few years after he retired. He had to go back to work part time just pay his real estate tax bill!

  24. gman says:

    Ownership for all the risks it entails SHOULD have big benefit embedded into it versus renting. In my neighborhood the premium is back…it may get even bigger giving the cyclical nature of ownership v. renting spread…

    “We have seen more than $6 trillion in owner’s equity destroyed since housing peaked in 2006.”

    Please remember anytime you here the usual suspect screaming about “the fed printing A BILLION DOLLARS….HYPERINFLATION”!

  25. ashpelham2 says:

    Lots of reasons NOT to own. We’ve covered a lot of them. What of the downside of renting? Biggest I can think of is that landlord my raise your rent, and could do so with his own discretion in some instances. A contract of, say 1 year or less, could see a substantial increase happen quite quickly. Another downside of renting: most rentals are hard to find in middle America, where most of us live. Not everyone lives on the Best Coast or the Beast Coast. Try finding a rental unit if you work in agri plant in the plains of Nebraska. At best, your gonna find a mobile home in a tornado prone area, perhaps with other mobile homes within earshot, at which meth is being produced at astonishing rates.

    THIS ENTIRE DISCUSSION has been looking right past the most important part of real estate: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

    I have considered renting a small place in the area around Univ. of Southern California very soon. One bedroom and sharing a bathroom could cost me 800-1000 per month. I can rent an entire house in my current neighborhood in Alabama for that. But I’ll have 1 or 2 choices in Alabama in my area: in the LA metro area, I could have thousands of choices. And can price shop.

    And to the commentors who recommended that we might be looking at first time in history change in real estate: YOU ARE RIGHT. This is the part that no one wants to talk about. Demand for the big single family home is dwindling, slowly. It will be less in the future. And as that great, entitled generation, the Boomers, slows down, gets old, and dies off, it won’t be replaced at the same rate. Indeed, there will be a lot of construction that will never find an owner. My neighboring state, Georgia, has hundreds of tracts of homes that no one has ever bought. Or possibly will buy.

    But what of us who stick it out? We bought the house, we are a few years still shy of paying off the note. What if we hold out, and renting continues to be the growth sector you all say it will be? Surely I will be able to rent out my place at some point, perhaps for what I have invested into it? I should see some benefit of cash flow for the future, correct?

  26. Dow says:

    WTF on the title: Fear of Buying: The Psychology of Renting

    Why I won’t buy:

    Title – how do you prove a clear title given what’s been done to property rights by the banks
    Mobility – just like football teams, jobs as well as industries pack up and move on a fairly regular basis now
    Price – still way too high in proportion to income

    I don’t consider any of those reasons to be based on “fear” – in fact, I consider anyone who doesn’t take those into account as a “fool”

  27. tradethisway says:

    @obsvr-1 and @BR, good points. Thanks for shedding light.

  28. Hammer of Thor says:

    I recently purchased a home. I have no idea if prices will keep going down, but I do know that for the next 30 years I have the option of paying the same amount every month to the bank. I previously rented in Stamford, CT, and my landlord jacked up rent 10% YOY last summer. One pro here is I don’t need to worry about that happening again. (Although I am aware my real estate taxes will probably keep going up…).

  29. More Americans think It’s a Good Time to Buy a Home
    blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/04/09/more-americans-think-its-a-good-time-to-buy-a-home/

  30. MacroEconomist says:

    I rented in a nice area on the North Shore of Long Island from 2006 through 2009 and bought a house in 2010. The house was listed for $1 million in 2006 and standard mortgage rates were around 7% at the time while my rent was (initially) $3,200.

    My Persian landlord than began the process of abuse and attempted to raise the rent by $500 in year 1, which I negotiated down to $300. Then the next year another $250 which I was able to lock in for two more years. This was in an environment of flat rents. He was slow to repair, never upgraded anything, and the house was falling apart.

    While ultimately I made out like a bandit, buying a similar house for 25% less, I promised myself that I never want to go through that experience again especially if it was the same or cheaper to buy than rent.

    The only reason people are renting right now is because they cannot buy, not because they want to. No human being wants to go through abuse and that alone is reason enough to buy when all else is equal.

  31. Jack says:

    First thing I did when I got the company buyout in ’98 was pay off the refi’d mortgage ($90k). Purchase price of $59k in 1973. Still live here. Love it. But. But. But. Why did I buy it?

    The house is paid off, the kids got fully paid for (by parents) educations. Obviously we used the equity to pay the bills (3 kids in college at the same time for 2 years, 2 for 3 years and 1 for four years). We did not eat out very often.

    Branch Rickey is attributed with the quote: “Luck is the residue of design”. In my case it isn’t true. If I retired or got bought out 2 years before or 2 years after my “retirement” I’d be up the creek. I was lucky. Any smart person who bought a house in the 2004-2008 years was unlucky or greedy.

    My house has been valued at anywhere from $1,200,000 to $780,000 in the last 6 years (thank you Zillow, Trulia, et.al.) It’s assessed at $600,000. Property taxes are $8400/annum, cheap for this area. The thing that really gets me is that years ago my land was valued at a higher amount than my “improvements”. That crossover …..

    I’ve just realized I’ve been doing a rant. Sorry

  32. andrewp111 says:

    One way to alleviate the fears of being stuck is to make mortgages assumable by new buyers. Banks won’t do this of course unless the market forces them to.

  33. tradeking13 says:

    A caveat to Rising Mortgage Rates is the inability to refinance when rates increase markedly from these abnormally low levels. If I borrow 300K @ 4%, my monthly payment is $1432. After five years, I will have paid down around 29K, leaving my loan balance at 271K. If I wanted to refinance this to extend the term of my loan, thinking my monthly payment will be lower, I will be in for a rude awakening if rates have reverted back to even levels that were previously considered low. For example, refinancing the 271K @ 6%, my monthly payment increases to $1627 — almost $200 more per month with 5 extra years of payments! If you take out a mortgage now, you are pretty much stuck with it until you pay it off, sell the house, or default.

  34. [...] 5. Fear of Buying: The Psychology of Renting. [...]

  35. gordo365 says:

    The satisfaction experienced when dumping $10,000 into unseen structural work on garage roof is priceless. Why spend a luxurious Summer month in Florence — when you can instead pay a contractor to replace rotted 2x4s?

  36. [...] -PART 5: Fear of Buying: The Psychology of Renting [...]