Don’t worry, that statement was not mine.
But I was still really surprised to hear it from this particular person. It actually came from one of my colleagues, a new science teacher who I really like and respect. She’s smart and spunky, and she’s one of the tutors in the after-school program that I coordinate. She seemed frazzled the other day, and I asked her if everything was okay. She told me that she was fine, just stressed about finding a house in the next two weeks. I assumed she meant a house to rent and asked her if her lease would soon be up, and she said, “No, I decided I’m going to buy a house.”
I couldn’t help but be pretty surprised. We live in a very high cost of living area, she’s young (24), and, as a first year teacher, untenured. It just seemed unlikely to me that she could really afford to buy a house. And as she told me more about her personal finances (don’t worry, I didn’t ask – she just started spilling – but I’ll admit I was curious!) I became less and less convinced that buying a house was something she should be considering.
Over the course of our conversation, she confessed that she has “pretty high” student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical debt from when she had braces. Also, she’s trying to take advantage of the home-buyer tax credit, so she needs to be under contract in the next two weeks. As she was talking, I just kept listening and nodding my head, but obviously I was thinking that this sounds like a dangerous financial situation to be putting herself in. Taking on a mortgage with so much other debt just doesn’t make good sense, and rushing into the decision and the home-buying process is just plain terrifying. We didn’t even talk about down payments, but, given other comments she’s made to me in passing over the course of this year, it doesn’t seem like she has much cash on-hand.
I try really hard not to judge the decisions that other people make about their own lives, but I just couldn’t get this conversation out of my head. I guess it’s hard for me to understand why people feel like they have to rush into buying a house as soon as they’re out of college. I think some people view it as a marker of adulthood (like getting married or becoming a parent) and they feel like by making the commitment to a home – even if they aren’t financially ready – they’re proving they’re all grown up. That’s the only rational explanation I can come up with, even though I really don’t identify with it.
Why do you think some people jump into buying a home too quickly?