I've signed a lease on a sensible little rental house, the place with the big deck that costs $650 a month. My roommate will be handling all of the annoying little details of getting the utilities turned on since I'm back in Houston for round two of TFA boot camp, a seminar on long term planning for math and science teachers. I'm happy to rent that house. I am. Really.
But during the past week I kept driving by a charming historic two story brick house with a fantastic porch. From the outside, at least, it has tremendous appeal, and there's a sign in the front yard that reads, "For Sale By Owner: $60,000". I managed not to give in to the urge to knock on the door and present myself as a possible buyer, but it took a bit of willpower.
There are a million good reasons not to even think of buying a house right now. I could well decide to go off to grad school or move to a school district closer to my family at the end of my two year commitment. The housing market in this town isn't booming so finding a buyer or renter later could become a huge hassle. Technically, I'm unemployed until next week when I sign my contract for the year. The house might need a lot of work, and I don't have time, energy, and money to devote to a fixer upper at this point in my life. A 20% down payment would leave me with an uncomfortably small emergency fund. I'm also just not mature enough for that kind of a commitment.
Besides, you simply don't buy your dream house two months after graduating from university. Life just doesn't work that way, and if it somehow did, I'd probably worry myself to death wondering what tragedy would befall me to balance out my good fortune. There will still be great houses a few years from now when I'll likely have more money and a better sense of where I'm going in life, right?