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An Insider Perspective on Home Ownership

  • January 30, 2012

by Erin Calandriello


While home buying has not been given the best name over the past year or so, prices are so low these days in Chicago that some Windy City renters paying a premium are considering making the leap. But the responsibility of owning is quite different than renting, so UrbanTurf spoke with several young homeowners who shared what home owning is really like and how it has changed their lifestyles.

“When you rent, you have the freedom to jump ship whenever your lease expires,” said Tim Malham, who owns a condo in Avondale, and is going to law school part-time while working full-time to cover his mortgage payment. “With a mortgage, most people are tied down for quite some time.”

Kristin and Patrick Bevil bought a home at the tail end of the housing boom.

“If I don’t like something in my house, I can change it,” Bevil explained, noting that she is currently updating the closets in her home. “I don’t necessarily have this same freedom if I’m renting.” The flip side of this perspective is that if something goes wrong in the house, you, as the defacto landlord, are accountable.

“When things break, you are responsible,” Candace Radditz, who owns a townhouse in the south suburbs, said. “We have to have enough money saved for the unforeseen circumstances. We always have six months worth of expenses put away in case of emergency, like in the event one of us loses our job or gets sick.”

Radditz said that tucking that emergency money away means that vacations and nights out on the town are not quite as frequent as they were in the past.

“We don’t have the liberty of mismanaging our finances,” Radditz explained. “We have passed on vacations, had gatherings at our house instead of going to the bars, and created a list of projects that we wish to complete in the house. So, instead of funding vacations, we fund our projects.”

Even though it has changed their lifestyles, the homeowners that UrbanTurf spoke with agreed that their personal relationships have blossomed because of the decision to buy. Whether that meant cooking more often with one another, hanging out while painting walls or fixing closets or stepping foot into Homegoods together one too many times, the relationship with their partner flourished as a result. But above all else, the biggest reward is the pride of owning.

“When we have family or friends stop by we take pride in making the place look nice,” Malham said. “It is a good kind of responsibility and it makes you feel good to know that you own something.”

Let us know your thoughts about renting versus owning in the comments section below.

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