One of the biggest things I read about during my “research” into minimalism was the countless number of folks who were selling their houses to downsize. Then I go and do the complete opposite. I had friends immediately tell me that that seemed counter-productive to the minimalist lifestyle I had begun living. But the fact is you CAN be a minimalist and own a house. So why did I decide to buy my house?
I did not buy a house based on the “American Dream.” My reasons for buying a home had absolutely nothing to do with the “American Dream” we’re painted so often. I purchased a home for investment and financial reasons. The fact is, by buying a home that was within reason (and not a huge fortune) I am SAVING a huge chunk of money each month and still able to enjoy my minimalist lifestyle.
I bought a house that was smaller than the home I was renting. I didn’t upgrade to a 2000+ sq ft home. I didn’t spend $500K either. Every story I’ve read about someone becoming minimalist and thus selling their home all had one thing in common: The home they’d purchased was just too big! The house I was renting was a 950 sq ft home with a 200 sq ft enclosed porch and a 120 sq ft sunroom, totaling over 1200 sq ft of living space. The home I bought is less than 1200 sq ft. I purchased my home with my lifestyle in mind, acknowledging the fact that I did not want anything larger than what I would use. As I run a small business out of my home, I had to make sure I had enough room to accommodate that as well.
I’m saving money each month. While rent is relatively inexpensive in Tallahassee (you can rent a 1/1 for under $600) it can get to be pretty expensive depending on the neighborhood and size of the home. A typical 2 bedroom 1 bath home in a good neighborhood can reach $900+ a month in rent. I pay $800 for my 3 bedroom home in a wonderful and family friendly neighborhood. In fact, this is the exact same amount I was paying for the house I was renting (the current tenant is now renting it for $895).
I kept the big picture in mind. One of the top reasons I opted to purchase a home rather than continue renting was for the investment opportunity. I managed to snag my house at just the right moment in the market, and my home is now worth 5K more than what I paid just a few months ago. At the peak of the market homes in my neighborhood were selling for $200K+, almost 100K more than what I paid. And while I’ll need to wait for the market to boom again before I’ll be able to see that kind of profit, I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. If all else fails, homes in my neighborhood that are the same size as mine typically rent for $1200+. That’s a $400 increase over my mortgage payment.
I bought low to pay it off quick. As I mentioned above, I did not pay an arm and a leg to purchase my home. I kept the end goal in mind the entire step of the way of finding my home. I purchased a home that was in fantastic shape, and for little, with the intention to pay it off as quickly as possible. As the home is the same price as my previous place of renting, my finances have not changed, in fact I’m saving money (cheaper electric) and have decided to send extra each month towards the mortgage.
I continue to own very little. When shopping for my home I kept storage in mind for future residents (keeping the resale value in my head). While my home has a good amount of storage, almost every closet is empty. In fact, I have a dresser sitting in front of my closet doors in the bedroom since I really have no need for the closet. When I moved, I did it all in 2 trailer loads. I did not rent a huge Uhaul. I used my small Kia soul, a truck, and a trailer. The only reason we did it in 2 trips was because the washer and dryer would not fit (the only things that would not). Since moving, the only furniture piece I have purchased is the materials to build a small desk and bookshelf for my office. By not purchasing anything unnecessary, that’s even more money I can send each month to get the house paid off.
Imagine, in just a few short years I could be living rent and mortgage free.
Even though I am now a homeowner I will continue to live minimally and simply. So if you want to be a homeowner but are worried you will not be able to keep your minimalist lifestyle – have no fear! The point is to do what is right for you and what will ultimately bring you happiness. If renting brings you happiness, then that works too! I choose to buy a home for the above reasons, but also because I am not a big fan of renting (truth be told) and the end result, I feel, is worth it.
For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).