renting can kill your soul

October 05, 2012

Renting a home can eat you alive. To buy or to rent? That’s most  every active duty family’s ultimate decision. No one is going to be in one place more than 2-4, maybe 6 years. Here are a few things you have to think about if you’re going to purchase a home while you or your husband is Active Duty.

·      Can we afford a nice home with our Basic Housing Allowance
·      When we move, can we rent it out?
·      If we rent it out, can we make a profit?
·      Do we have enough in savings to be able to cover unexpected damages that might occur
o   While living there
o   And when we move, while being in another home
·                                             o   What happens if we can’t rent it out? We can’t afford two houses.
These are the main things you have to think about. At one point, when we lived in San Diego, we were considering buying, even though we knew we were moving in two years. We are sick of throwing our money down the drain by renting, but we have good reasons not to buy.

Unfortunately, we’ve heard so many horror stories from people who own one or more homes—one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. Shit happens. Pipes burst and furnaces stop working. These people didn’t have 8-10k in their savings to cover the damages, but needed to fix it asap since they had tenants. What do you do in that situation? Take out a big ass loan, pay that back while paying two mortgages? In today’s economy even if you can rent out your house, you’re probably not going to profit from it and you might not even be able to find a renter that can will agree to the amount of your mortgage.

These are all valid reasons why not to buy when you’re a military family—but renting can crush your soul. Well, it crushes mine, at least.  

Renting sucks. We pay double what people’s mortgages are in Michigan and we’ll never own the house. We’ve been renting houses for 5 years, you don’t want to know how much money we’ve spent on rent. Let me just tell you, that I would kill to have your $800/month mortgage. That’s pocket change.

Here’s how I see it and why I’m frustrated. We’ve moved several times, but I’ll just go with the most recent example. We found out we were PCSing to VA a few months before we moved, so during those few months, I lived on Pinterest, creating boards of my favorite décor, paint colors and etc… then we picked out a house (online, never saw it in person—story for another day) so I had photos and videos of every room. I began to obsess about how I would decorate the house. I had everything picked out, or at least a general idea before we moved here.

Of course, when we got here, the house wasn’t really what we had hoped it would be. We really don’t love it. A few days after we moved in, we hired a painter to paint the rooms I wanted done the most—play room, three bathrooms and Brady’s room.

There is no point in us spending that much more to paint our bedroom, the office, kitchen, dining room, living room and den how we really want it, because it’s pointless to spend thousands of dollars on a house that we will only be in for a couple of years.

I still wanted it to feel like home, but if you’ve ever moved, you know you end up with a lot of décor in the garage, because you have to keep purchasing things to fit the new house. We bought a lot of random furniture pieces to fit the awkward rooms, and a lot of our nice furniture is in the garage because this house is so awkward.

I started spending a lot on décor to fill the walls and shelves, but I still wasn’t happy. I gave up. There are some bare walls and boring rooms, and nothing is really decorated the way I would like it to be. We rarely have people over, we don’t like the house to begin with and we are moving in a couple of years, so I figured we should spend our money on other things. I did what I could and it looks okay if you are visiting.

People come in our house and say they love it and don’t get why we are upset, well I’m glad it looks great to you, but to me, it’s not my style and not how I ideally want to decorate. So yes, it’s presentable, but it’s not ideal to me.

This is where it starts to crush my soul. Not sure if that’s the right terminology, but right now it is. We’re spending almost 2k a month on something we will never own, and something we would never want to own. It’s not decorated how we would ideally like it to be and we don’t really like it as a whole. It’s home and it’s our home for the time being, but one day, I dream of having an $800 mortgage in our dream home, with paint and décor just the way I want it.

 Maybe what bugs me is that people judge us. Civilian families don’t understand why we rent. I feel as though when people rent a house, they are looked down upon as if they couldn’t afford to own. Newsflash, I pay two or more of your mortgages per month. I am judgmental, which means I know how judgmental and superficial people think. I try not to care what others think, and I don’t really, I just don’t like negative thoughts about me or people talking about me to other people about things that really don’t matter. It’s how I’ve always been and how I always be. So, renting sucks. Renting kills the ego. I really don’t know what I’m trying to say, but I’m sure you get my drift. There will be comments and texts flooding in saying who cares if you rent, but if you’re affiliated with the military, you catch my drift, especially since it’s so damn hard to find a house in the first place.

We’ll always be moving, buying furniture and décor to fit the next place and hoarding old décor in the garage with hopes that it will fit the next house.

I’m glad we didn’t buy, but I can’t wait for the day that we do.

Here we are, 5 years, 1 apartment and 4 houses later, I won't mention the dollar amount. 

Did I mention that you couldn’t pay me to live in base housing?


  1. you've inspired me to be open about how I feel about this same freaking topic! I'm so glad we didn't end up buying when we did. We would be in serious trouble, like many of our friends our age are. this whole buying houses thing is great and all but I think people jump into it too quickly just to "own" a home and to say they do as if that's some status symbol. Who the hell cares? But we're in the same boat as you, if that helps any :) you are not alone

    1. You are completely right about it being a status symbol!

  2. We rent as well, and have only been renting a house since February. While not military, I have moved a lot, and I can agree, renting sucks. On the one hand, I do appreciate not having to foot the bill when the dishwasher needs replacing, and the A/C goes out, but there are things I want to do and can't.

    We also struggle with finding the best house for us because I have to find a home that is accessible, and a good 99% of houses aren't. It takes us three times longer, it seems, to find a house that might work, though it usually still isn't perfect. Unfortunately, this still applies to buying, and so our option, to get a house that works perfectly, is going to mean building, and there's no way we can afford that. When we move next, it pains me to think we will have to downgrade back to an apartment, which will never have enough room for us, but the trade off is that newer apartments are accessible. It all sucks!

  3. Hubs and I are discussing renting... if we can ever sell our own damn house. the Michigan housing market ROCKS for buyers right now, but since we've had our house on the market for 3.5 of the almost 7 years we've been in it, we're not really able to take advantage of that, too many foreclosures around us. we're even discussing renting OUR house out, but then we'd have to worry about the issues you mentioned above when you're renting out your house... bah. I'm sorry that the renting is crushing your soul, and I can relate to the being in a house you don't really like much (ours is nice enough, it's just too small for our family of 5 (dog included) and not what we want. it was a great little starter home, at the time we purchased it... *sigh*) and not wanting to spend lots of money on something you (hopefully) won't be in for very long. *HUGS*