Ryan and I have answered all the questions submitted to us in the reader survey! Holy cow, a lot of you want to know why we rent, if we’re ever going to buy a house, etc, etc. We split the questions into two posts because there were a lot of them, so this first part is mainly the rental-related questions.
Ryan: MANY QUESTIONS LIGHTNING ROUND! In no particular order (Unless yours was first. You’re that special to me.)
Q: While I am not a renter, I really enjoy reading what you’ve done with the place. I like your sense of style, too! I also enjoy the outdoor postings and the kitties! At any rate, thank you for sharing your life and being inspirational whether you see the direct results of it or not. [I must also admit to a secret desire to elope with your secretary… oh if only I had a Mac!]
Ryan: Since you didn’t ask a question, I’ll ask one instead. My wife has a secretary? I spent a while wondering when my wife acquired a secretary. Then I had a realization that I think that’s one of the other names women use for desks. Maybe a tall-desk? If she actually does have a secretary that I’m not aware of, let me know. I reserve first rights to elope with her.
Q: Will you eventually purchase your own home, or will you just continue renting?
Ryan: Renting for the foreseeable future. We live in an area that’s really expensive to buy and I don’t like the trade-off of having that much money tied up in a house and lose the flexibility to move easily if we needed to.
Jane: This topic may deserve a separate post. We are happier renting rather than owning at this point in our lives, which shocks many people. Housing prices in this area are stupid high. In our current town, there’s only one single family home for sale for less than $500,000 – and it needs to be gutted and rebuilt. And we don’t want to commit to half a million dollars on any sort of house right now. And the mortgage for an un-renovated place would cost as much as rent on this renovated place.
Q: You work so hard trying to find fair trade companies that I would love to see a section on the blog that has a list of “Jane-Approved” companies for both decorating and everyday life items.
Ryan: I don’t think this has been compiled yet. I’ll get Jane on this promptly. I’ll have the secretary help out if I haven’t run away with her yet. Or if she’s a desk. I’m not running away with a desk.
Jane: This is a great idea, I will have to do some more posts about fair trade shopping, especially as it relates to home decor. The problem is, I haven’t had the time to research that topic well enough to create a comprehensive list. Anyone want a research job? Only slightly joking.
I can tell you that I’ve researched Crate & Barrel, and most of their upholstered furniture is made in North Carolina workshops from kiln-dried wood. Otherwise, thrift shops and craigslist are great for getting secondhand furniture, so you’re not supporting any made in sweatshop crap. For much more info on ethical shopping, I recommend my friend Jamillah’s blog, Made-To-Travel.
Q: Do you have any plans to move?
Ryan: That’s a fairly regular activity around here. I try to stop moving pretty often but I’m not good at it. The cats try to smother me if I hold still long enough.
Jane: Not anytime soon! But I love moving. I moved 10 times in 10 years, so recently I have felt a little antsy that I’ve been in the same house for three years.
Q: Do you ever think you will own a home instead of renting?
Ryan: Yes. I also wouldn’t mind owning a home for other people to rent. I like the idea of providing a living space to others.
Jane: If I say no, will Ryan and I end up in marriage counseling for irreconcilable difference? Just kidding, my answer is yes.
Q: What are your long term housing goals, love your rental stay for as long as possible? Saving up a down payment?
Ryan: Long term, probably move further away from civilization and get a nice hunk of land. That’ll keep Jane busy for a while. But while we’re here we really like our house. Great house, great location, great landlord. And we’re saving. Not specifically for a down payment. But just because… who wants to not have savings?
Jane: When we first moved in together, I warned Ryan that I was absolutely not living in this city forever. I want adventure! I want to live in Seattle! Or Portland! Or on a few acres in the mountains somewhere! Or in Europe! Or all of the above!
For now we’re stuck in the DC area for the sake of our careers, and we’re very happy with this borrowed abode. I’m saving about 35% of my take-home pay just because saving is the smart thing to do, so yes, we’ll have a down payment if we ever want it.
Q: How long to you plan to rent? Of course, you might have to change the name of your blog, but aren’t you ready to buy a house, or is there some reason you just prefer renting?
Ryan: I answered some of this above, but you really hit the crux of the problem. The Owned Abode just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? I’ve tried a few. The Mortgaged Abode. The Bank-Owns-It-But-They-Let-Me-Live-Here-For-Now Abode. The Hey!-I’ll-Knock-Out-This-Wall-Now Abode. I like the last one, actually.
Jane: Shoot, you guys have figured out the real reason why we haven’t bought a house!
We’ll be back later with more questions and answers. The non-rental-related ones In the mean time, if you want to add a question, feel free to do so in the comments.