I thought ditching homeownership for a rental would be freeing, but in reality it left my family feeling stuck

girl running towards family home

Recently, my husband, our realtor, and I stood in the empty living room of a fixer-upper while our three children ran circles around us. It wasn’t awful, there were no bugs or weird smells, but there was an ugly kitchen and a dilapidated back deck.

“Can we do this?” I asked my husband as we loaded up our kids into their car seats, referring to the burden of buying a home that needs work.

This isn’t exactly what we had in mind when we starting talking again about buying a family home again, but a decision we made a little over a year ago has left us feeling like we have few options.

Selling our first home and moving into a rental

In 2018, we listed our three-bedroom home in the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri, valued just under $180,000, and sold it within a few hours. Instead of turning around and using our profits to buy another home, we signed a lease for a rental.

It was an unconventional choice, but it wasn’t impulsive. We imagined a certain lifestyle for our family, and where we were living wasn’t cutting it. We chose to rent instead of buying another house because the market was so competitive when we sold our home and we really needed to make a change.

Unfortunately, nearly 18 months later, we’re realizing that the choice we made, although largely positive, has come with consequences, too. Honestly, we thought that ditching homeownership for a rental would be freeing, but in reality, it has left my family feeling stuck.

We chose to leave our home behind so we could spend less time in the car and more time together as a family. My husband was spending two hours each day getting to and from work. With young children, that often meant he was arriving home just in time to put our little ones to bed. On top of that, any time my kids and I had an activity planned, it typically meant spending a lot of time in the car.

Now we live in a rental home — it is much closer to my husband’s work and has given us the gift of spending less time commuting and more time together.

We have spent less time trying to maintain friendships because all of our friends are nearby again. We walk to dance lessons, and drive less than 10 minutes to piano lessons and school activities. We’re minutes from my sister, my mom, and my brother. Our park is a bike ride away, and our grocery store delivers if we’re having a busy week.

The big downside of our new life

All of that has been amazing, but we also can’t say we feel free. The biggest downside of this decision is that it has been difficult to navigate reentering the world of homeownership.

We want to own near where we rent, but the financial cost of renting is making that harder. As many tenants know from experience, renting can be expensive.

We’re spending $1,600 a month for our family home, nearly $600 more than we were spending on our mortgage. This has left us feeling like we need to own again. It feels like we’re throwing money away, especially since we know we could have a lower monthly payment if we owned. At the same time, it has also left us struggling to save for a down payment in a market that seems to get more competitive every day.

When we started renting, we expected it to be short term. We were going to watch the area and buy a house as soon as one that was a good fit for our family and our budget was available. Unfortunately, that hasn’t really happened. Instead, we’ve been watching a housing market that seems more expensive than ever.

We thought that reentering the housing market would be just as easing as leaving it, but that hasn’t been the case. Instead, we’re watching our savings sit stagnant and  seeing housing prices that demand a higher down payment than we can come up with right now.

This is a lesson we had to learn the hard way. While I am so grateful for the chance to change up our lifestyle to better match our desires for our family life, I wish it hadn’t come with the cost of struggling to find a new, affordable place to call home.

We’re facing a big decision

There is no doubt that owning a home can start to feel a little oppressive if your lifestyle doesn’t come with a lot of extra time and money for maintaining the lawn or dealing with home repairs. And, if your home isn’t near your work, friends, and activities, it is pretty tiring to spend a lot of your time on the road.

Since we’ve moved, we’ve loved the ease of calling up our landlord when something goes wrong, but we wish we’d better understood we’d be trading in some of our financial security for our simpler lifestyle.

Now we’re facing a new kind of decision. Will we continue to bite the bullet and sacrifice our savings to keep paying rent? Or will we make the leap back into the housing market with a fixer-upper?

Whether we decide to purchase an affordable home that needs some work or keep saving slowly for something more expensive, we know one thing is certain — as a middle-income family with a lot of expenses, there is no perfect option for paying for a family home.

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Tesla is now the highest-valued automaker in US history (TSLA)

elon musk tesla

  • Tesla’s recent rally pushed its market value to nearly $85 billion at Tuesday’s close, making it the most valuable US automaker of all time.
  • Ford previously held the record, having been valued at $80.81 billion in 1999. 
  • Tesla is still smaller than some non-US auto companies. At Tuesday’s close, Japan’s Toyota had a market value of roughly $232 billion, and Germany’s Volkswagen had a value of about $98 billion.
  • Watch Tesla trade live on Markets Insider.

Tesla is starting 2020 with a new record: It’s now the most valuable US automaker ever. 

The Elon Musk-led automaker’s recent stock rally pushed its market value to nearly $85 billion at Tuesday’s close, surpassing the previous record of $80.8 billion set by Ford in 1999. Ford had a market value of about $37 billion at the end of trading Tuesday. 

Tesla’s shares continued to climb and traded up more than 4% Wednesday. So far in 2020, the stock has gained as much as 12% through Tuesday’s close.  

The company had already surpassed the market values of two other US auto giants, General Motors, which had a value of roughly $50 billion at Tuesday’s close, and Fiat Chrysler, which had a value of about $22 billion the same day. Tesla has been the top US automaker by market value in the past, but had not beaten Ford’s 1999 record until this week. 

While Tesla has overtaken US auto companies in market value, it is still dwarfed in size by non-US automakers. At the end of trading Tuesday, Japan’s Toyota had a market value of roughly $232 billion, and Germany’s Volkswagen had a value of about $98 billion.

The most recent surge in Tesla’s stock price began on Friday, when the company said that it had exceeded the low end of its guidance by delivering 367,500 vehicles in 2019, a record number and 50% more than in 2018. 

“We believe this new solid quarter of deliveries could further put to rest investor concerns around softening demand for Tesla’s product,” analyst Emmanuel Rosner of Deutsche Bank wrote in a Tuesday note. 

He continued: “While bears will likely argue 4Q deliveries benefited from strong purchases ahead of tax credits expiring in various countries, Tesla is just about to start deliveries of locally made Model 3s in the very large China market, at an attractive price point.” 

Still, Tesla is not out of the woods after it rebounded in 2019 following a surprise return to profitability in the third quarter. It has yet to turn an annual profit, and a large part of its future success rests on how it performs overseas.

On Tuesday, Musk said the company plans to export cars built in its newly opened Gigafactory in Shanghai. Production of Tesla Model 3s recently began at the factory.


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