There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are many, many more ways to leave your less-than-lovely roommates. Perhaps you’ve lucked up and held onto a good one, but let’s face it, once you reach a certain age beyond college most of the potential roommates are what I think of as the human equivalent of that goat from Jurassic Park. Yes, renting is convenient and noncommittal, but so is using a cooler for your luggage and it’s time to make some life changes.
Aside from the notion that home ownership is the hallmark of being an adult, it is a complete dismissal of 10th grade economics to rent in a town in which the average rental rate for a single family home increased 16.5% between 2014 and 2015. Like most big steps we face as adults, there is a caveat: you have to either (1) have adoring parents that want to see you making positive changes and will loan you the necessary funds for a down payment, or (2) have enough discipline to put money aside (stop the madness!). Chances are you are going to have to cut back on your expensive sandwich habit and swap your beloved craft beers for PBR in a can but hey, nobody said adulthood was easy.
Speak to a mortgage professional before you start shopping so you can figure out your money situation and start paying down debt if it’s affecting your credit score. Take advantage of these record low interest rates – do you know what rate your parents were paying when they bought their first home? Rates topped out around 18% in the 1980s! Taking on a mortgage will also qualify you for a tax deduction on the interest paid, bringing your monthly costs down and allowing you to own more house than you can afford to rent. Don’t think you’ll be around to live in it very long? If you think you’ll stay put for at least two years, buying is the way to go. And when you’re ready for something new, sure you can sell it – or you can take advantage of Charleston’s high rental rates and make some dough on your “investment property” – how sexy does that sound?
So if you’re tired of your landlord’s pillow-top toilet seat and the best thing you can say about your roommate is that she has all of her legs, it may be time to add home ownership to the top of your thrill list.