Recently we looked at a house that is up for sale. We spent almost an hour there, meandering through the rooms, pondering the design of the kitchen, wondering who came up with such a weird layout for a living room. I strolled through the backyard, noticing all the trash that was lying almost everywhere.
The state of the house was terrible. We could easily see that it needed more than just a little bit of TLC. New windows, new floors, preferably hardwood. A fresh coat of paint in warm Mediterranean colors. A completely new color on the outside to chase away the sadness that covered the house. New bathrooms. And the kitchen… it was the best room in the entire house. I envisioned my favorite kitchen from IKEA, a kitchen isle with a basket of fruit on top and a huge wooden dining table where everyone would gather. Flavorful smells coming from the oven and a happy fire crackling in the wood stove.
So, will we put an offer on the house? Is there a chance that we eventually will become homeowners after decades of renting?
The honest answer is that I don’t know. But since we looked at that house I have been wondering what it means to me to own a home. Is it really a dream of mine? Is this something I cannot live without?
I have never owned a home in all my life. Actually, before I came to the States I hadn’t lived in a single-family house, but in apartments. I grew up in a two-bedroom apartment on the third floor of an apartment complex that was built in the sixties. I spent years and years in one-room apartments. When someone made me a good offer for the purchase of a beautiful rooftop apartment I ran. I wanted to travel, see the world and not putting my money into a place that would make me feel being stuck permanently.
I love the house we’re currently renting. We have been living in this mountain-sage green ranch-style house for almost ten years. It’s a very average, mediocre house. The kitchen drives me nuts. The dining room functions as my studio. The three bedrooms have a good size, but are way too cluttered. The yard was a desert when we moved in that I have converted into a beautiful little paradise ever since and is loved by wildlife. The house is never tidy, but full of laughter and music and loud happy voices.
Sometimes I wish we would own our home so that we could put in new windows – in the cold season we’re heating the world! We have asked our landlord multiple times whether he would sell the house to us. He would not.
So – we’re renting. It’s still our HOME. We don’t have to own it.