4 Reasons Why Personal Finance Expert Tori Dunlap Is ‘Happy’ She Didn’t Buy a Home


The couple decides whether or not to sign the mortgage agreement while sitting at a bank desk.

Image source: Getty Images

It’s not always a smart decision.


the main points

  • Tori Dunlap nearly plunged into homeownership a few years ago, but backed out at the last minute.
  • Dunlap realized that buying a home was not the right decision for her at the time, for reasons of lifestyle and money.
  • An honest assessment of your wants and needs can help you decide if you are ready to become a homeowner.

Tori Dunlap is a financial influencer, blogger, and podcast producer. It focuses on teaching women financial skills and how to create a good life through them. On the last episode of her podcast, Financial FeminismDunlap noted that buying a home was (almost) her biggest financial mistake.

The idea that such a cornerstone of the highly acclaimed American Dream was a bad one might have come as a surprise to some people, but I knew right away where Dunlap came from. After all, I she did I bought a house in my twenties and it turned out to be so Biggest financial mistake. Dunlap gave four reasons why she was glad she didn’t buy, even though she could have almost afforded the house she bought and, in fact, is still renting. Here’s why.

1. Lifestyle

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of American life in many ways, including motivating many people to give up renting and buy homes instead. This surge in demand, along with historically low interest rates, has driven up home prices. According to Redfin data, in July 2022, the median sales price for a US home was $412,198. And in some markets, this is actually quite cheap.

Tori Dunlap is located in the Pacific Northwest, and as she noted in her podcast episode, her job, friends, and social life were based in Seattle, an expensive metro area. She couldn’t afford to buy in Seattle, so the apartment she was trying to buy was more than an hour out of town, in an affordable area. This has left her on a long commute to and from work, and away from a city with great restaurants and other opportunities to have fun.

If you’re wondering if home ownership is right for you, ask yourself: Does buying this property mean I have to let go of aspects of my life as a tenant that I enjoy? You probably really hate doing yard work, and if you buy a house, you will have to maintain a green space. Perhaps, like Dunlap, you cannot buy property far from the city and the people you love. Under these circumstances, it is absolutely right to abandon the purchase.

2. Poor management of HOA

Dunlap was looking to buy an apartment rather than a single-family home. This means that she will be indebted to Homeowners Associationor HOA. In apartments and similar communities, HOA provides the rules that govern life for homeowners. They are also often responsible for the maintenance of the outdoor and common area. People have strong opinions about HOAs, and for good reason – I know I wouldn’t want to pay extra money and have someone tell me what color to paint my house or pets to get. Honestly, this self-determination is one of the biggest reasons why I Hoping to buy a house myself in the near future.

Dunlap discovered that the HOA of her soon-to-be apartment was inefficient and mismanaged, and tasks such as cleaning the gutter were neglected while the HOA squabbled and wasted money.

3. Emotional preparedness

Buying a home is a huge decision, and not just financially; There are emotional considerations involved, too. As a young man in his 20s, Dunlap wasn’t ready to be a homeowner.

Home ownership involves spending more money, energy, and more time maintaining possessions than many people may realize. It also commits to living in a specific area for a period of time. The longer you stay in the home you bought, the more likely you are to make money on the property when you sell it. Rent is a wiser prospect If you are not stable enough in your life or career to make this commitment.

4. Real estate agent issues

The last reason Tori Dunlap mentioned that she was glad she didn’t buy it was because she didn’t have anything good broker her work. The agent wasn’t supportive of her attempts to negotiate the price (which is a huge red flag!), and seemed more interested in getting his commission on the sale than in making sure the purchase was right for his customer.

A good real estate agent should be your biggest supporter in the home buying process, and if you don’t work with an agent, definitely find a new one. And if you realize while looking for a home that you’re not ready, a good agent will respect that as well. If you find a good dealer, reassess your life in a few years and see if you can work with them again if you’re ready to buy.

Buying a home is something many people dream of, and for good reason. But buying just because you have the money, and because you accepted that old adage about home ownership “the key to wealth,” is a bad idea. You better take your time with such an accessory (and costly) decision and really think about it, like Tori Dunlap did.


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