40 Reasons You Don't Own a Home (Yet)

I've compiled a list of 40 reasons, from online comments I've received and what I've learned in conversations with prospective buyers and renters. The reasons fall into two main categories: Life Circumstances which are outside your control (12) and Personal Choices (28) which you can control.

Personal choices outweigh Life Circumstances more than two-to-one, which tells me the outcome could be different for many of you... if difference choices are made. If you truly want to buy a house you may want to consider new choices.


1. You have medical bill debt: Unless it's elective cosmetic surgery, medical expense is unavoidable.

2. You've had periods of unemployment or layoffs.

3. You've co-signed on another's loan, then they defaulted: You co-sign to help someone then find yourself 100% responsible for repaying the loan.

4. You've had one or more car accidents: Sometimes not everything is covered by insurance.

5. You've experienced the loss of the family breadwinner: Unless you have an emergency fund, for whatever reason much or all of your household income is lost.

6. You've had a messy divorce: Not counting the legal expenses, two households create an extra financial burden that can deplete savings.

7. You'e experienced the death of a spouse: As a result there us not only income loss, but also extra bills: medical, funeral,

8. You are, or you've been, responsible for the long-term care of a parent or an unwell or special needs child: The responsibility can keep you out of the job market and drain savings.

9. The property taxes + home owner's insurance add another $280 - $350 a month to the mortgage payment, which you may not have anticipated.

10. The cost of utilities to run a home, that were once included with rent payments, are now added to the mortgage payment ($250+) making the purchase prohibitive.

11. The closing costs (transfer tax, attorney fee, tax adjustments) can be prohibitive if they are not planned for, even if there's no down payment required.

12. You've had an inability to reach a better pay scale. Training or education may not be available or affordable, keeping you bound to a lower-paying job.


1. Experiencing a loss of money to crooks and your reluctance to go after it.

2. Incurring student loan debt that could have been avoided by saving up first or working while studying.

3. Being unwilling to supplement your income with a second job.

4. Being unwilling to consider self-employment in addition to full-time employment.

5. Having the mistaken belief that only men should work, not women, thus depriving your family of a second income that could provide a home faster.

6. Going out to eat several times a week rather than saving that money for a down payment.

7. Paying for tattoos and piercings rather than investing that money in the future.

8. Getting hair colored and styled at salons regularly instead of paying off debt or saving.

9. Having your nails done in salons (mani + pedi) instead of doing it yourself at home.

10. Buying late model cars and having car loan debt equal to half your take home pay instead of buying a "beater" with cash and saving for a down payment and closing costs on a home.

11. Staying home to have children right after college instead of working to repay student loan debt.

12. Taking expensive vacations instead of having stay-cations until a down payment is saved.

13. Having addiction to shopping and frivolous spending instead of making do with what you have.

14. Having an addiction to cigarettes which, if you smoke a pack a day, costs $2,500 a year or half a $5,000 down payment.

15. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis could cost the same as smoking or the other half of a $5,000 down payment.

16. Owning an extensive collection of DVDs and movies. (I once interviewed a possible housemate who couldn't pay the rent but he had a collection of 250 DVDs. At $10 a disk, he had paid $2500 which is equal to 5 months rent.

17. Paying $200 a month for cable TV and all the premium channels. At the end of a year, that's another $2500 including taxes.

18. Buying expensive ($600) cell phones + service instead of a cheap Tracfone at $99 a year.

19. Volunteering full-time instead of getting a paying job. Volunteering is a good thing, but not when it deprives you of a home if that's your ultimate goal.

20. Purchasing things – expensive clothes, jewelry, toys, and electronic games – instead of investing in a home and building equity.

21. Insisting on an expensive wedding, reception and honeymoon instead of eloping. Some weddings cost the equivalent of a modest house.

22. Not having knowledge of, or refusing to learn how the how buying process works to become an educated consumer.

23. Maintaining a low credit score because your debt ratio is too high and you rely on credit card usage too much instead of cash.

24. Being unwilling to reveal your complete financial picture to those who could help you finance the purchase of a home.

25. Being unwilling to do free work for the seller in lieu of a down payment.

26. Being unwilling to consider taking in a boarder to defray costs of home ownership.

27. Being unwilling to commit to live in one place permanently.

28. Being unwilling to look into programs set up for first-time home buyers.

If any of the Personal Choices listed apply to you, and you want to own a house, highlight those choices you are willing to change, starting today.
Copyright 2016, Andrea Reynolds, PO Box 9124, Erie PA 16506. (814) 520-5548, All rights are reserved. Ask about reprints and licensing.
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