Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Home is where the couch fits

I am avoiding the "Great Australian Dream"

I used to live in the fantasy land where I saved for a deposit on my own home but after living for a whole 27 years now, and realising how old and crabby I would be by the time I paid it off, I've come to the realisation that I would be better off just living in someone else's debt palace.

There are many upsides to renting:

When stuff breaks, you call someone, and they hand the bill to someone else. This is a great reason for me to rent because if something essential can break, in a spectacular way, on Christmas Eve or some other entirely impossible time - it does. Without fail.

It's cheaper - especially when you consider mortgage payments, plus rates, plus maintenance, plus insurance, plus random lawsuits with the neighbours over your fence...... you get the picture. It just makes good financial sense when you are at the lower end of the income scale.

There are lots of other good things, like knowing that ultimately it doesn't have to be forever, and you can always go and do somewhere else without a pile of bricks dragging along behind you.

And during recent times of severe financial struggle we were only facing moving into the caravan, not moving into the caravan with a great big DEFAULT notice for $300,000 hanging over our heads. For that I am quite thankful.

Sometimes it bugs me. Especially when I consider the strange and outmoded laws that require you to have equity in a home to get a business loan. Meaning I effectively have to beggar myself with debt so I can loan money for the business I want to own in years to come.

That's a bit of a blow to my long term goals.

There's also things like landlords with a passion for dark purple suede effect feature walls. In the bedroom. And being so tasteless they decided "bugger the feature, we'll paint ALL the walls this fabbo colour, aren't we stylish bastards?" Because everyone wants to buy a house that looks like it should have a 40 year old woman with a beehive 'do, smoking under the red porch light. 

That house did have a lovely garden, including a "fairy house" hidden away behind the great big shady tree in the middle of the delightful backyard, and we would have stayed there except one end of the house collapsed a bit, and then the wiring caught fire, and then it collapsed some more. (One more bad thing about renting - you don't automatically get a qualified building inspection before you move in. You just have to hope you notice when the smoke starts coming out of the corner of the house.)

But like I said, you can always go somewhere else. Because it's not your 30 year investment listing like a drunk man on his way home from the pub.

Some people rent for life. Nice tenants meet nice landlords and everything goes swimmingly and no one feels the need to change the status quo. My parents have been renting the same house for 13 years, and before that lived for 15 years in a farm house that the same landlord owned.

If I did this, five years in I would be dragged, mummified, from my clutter cave by intrepid explorers, who would end up haunted by visions of millions of Christmas cards burying them alive.

I consider moving part of my decluttering cycle. I moved five times in four years and every single time we took a trailer to the local tip, and filled the Vinnies drop off bin to the top.

It's actually quite an effective way to keep my house tidy. I just look at each room and say "What in here could I be arsed packing?" And everything else goes.

So for me, the biggest upside to renting is not ending up a crazy cat-lady, snarling at the Meals on Wheels lady because she gets too close to my shopping bag mountain, or tips over the catalogued bread tie collection.

Because I would. I know this as instinctively as I know where my own nose is.

I think it's time I moved again. Just in case.

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