Reflections on a year of home ownership


Renting was to me…

Paying more for less every year while paying down someone else’s mortgage

Fighting landlords trying to blame us for things going wrong around the house, from the roof leaking to the shower floor breaking; having no hot water at all for a month due to them being useless

Dealing with frequent and annoying inspections

Never knowing how long you’ll be there

Cold, damp, mould, sick

Owning is to me…

Some idea of what I’ll be paying for 30 years with some of that going into an asset of my own

Less cold, less damp, less mould, less sick

Knowing when we’ve broken stuff vs bad luck/shoddy work and the flexibility to address that however and whenever we want

No inspections and no one to answer to

Knowing we can be here as long as we want and as long as we keep paying

Doing whatever the hell we want to the house

Buying stuff once and for all knowing it won’t disappear or break between the unpredictability of flatmates or moving house


I now pay for housing essentially what I used to earn when I first entered the workforce. I am so thankful to be in a position to afford a home, to have this degree of security. It is a particularly terrible time to be a low-income renter, and there are no signals of that letting up anytime soon.

In a typical week Auckland gains 825 new residents and requires 278 new dwellings. It’s pretty obvious that construction is not keeping up with demand.

I may never own a holiday house (which realistically I’ve never aspired to anyway) but I’m working to create a home I love – not just to come home to in the evenings, but to enjoy through the weekends and holidays too. Sitting out in the sun on my deck is quite possibly the happiest place on earth.

I had a good feeling about it as soon as I stepped into the house. It was a do up, but liveable. Now that I’m coming up on a year, I’m feeling more critical of it than ever, but I’m also very good at identifying what really matters.

Overhauling the bathroom or updating doors and wardrobes – not a priority. New kitchen – yes. Who ever thought tile counters were a good idea? They break and chip like mad, plus the grouting…! I’d also quite like cabinets that shut properly, a non grotty pantry, and a dishwasher. But good things take time (read: cost money). I’m probably only 20% into my savings goal for kitchen renovations.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and unicorns. A few cheaply done things started coming apart pretty early on – but it’s all right, simply more motivation to keep saving to redo this dang kitchen! And it’s getting time to upgrade one side of the fence (the wire chain/link side) to something more sturdy, for our dogs (and the rascally kids next door). Apparently neighbours are meant to split fencing costs – here’s hoping…!

I love home ownership and I am grateful every single day for what I have.

Disease Called Debt

14 thoughts on “Reflections on a year of home ownership

  • Reply Piggy March 8, 2017 at 09:42

    I feel you! I once had a landlord sell the house I was renting right out from under me. I had less than a month to find somewhere else to live, and as a result my monthly rent went up almost $400. I own a house now, and it’s bliss. I feel so much more secure. Do you ever get people commenting about how it’s “not worth it because you have to pay for maintenance yourself”?

  • Reply Piggy March 8, 2017 at 11:02

    Hah! I’ll file that under our unique cultural differences. I hear it all the time living in the US, and I think you’re absolutely right: it’s people who consider lifting a finger to fix their own kitchen sink way more dire than getting priced right out of the city rental market.
    <3 your blog as always!

  • Reply Four Pillar Freedom March 9, 2017 at 02:56

    It’s nice to see you discuss the emotional benefits of owning a home instead of looking solely at the financial battle of owning vs renting. It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind, which it seems like you’ve found through home ownership. It’s also nice to see the perspective of home ownership from someone living outside the U.S. Great post and great insights 🙂

  • Reply Leigh March 9, 2017 at 15:43

    I vaguely recall (almost five years ago!) sitting on the strange chair in the living room and deciding this place felt like home. It was just a feeling then and so hard to imagine with the previous owner’s strange choices, but it really does feel like my perfect home now. I’m so glad you too have found a place you love! It is an amazing feeling.

  • Reply Ten Bucks a Week March 10, 2017 at 23:07

    One day it would be nice not to move around. In America places have no furniture, bed, and sometimes appliances. Moving these things annually has sucked.

    • Reply eemusings March 12, 2017 at 13:20

      In NZ you literally get nothing as a rule. No fridge, washing machine, microwave etc. I’ve wasted so much money on buying and selling things based on what each place had/didn’t have, or what would or wouldn’t fit in each place (more on that rant here https://nzmuse.com/2016/04/money-ive-wasted-renting/)

  • Reply Mel @ brokeGIRLrich March 12, 2017 at 17:26

    I’m glad you’re so happy with your home and good luck on the kitchen remodel savings! Looks like you’ve got a great attitude towards slowly fixing it up in your own time.

  • Reply Gary @ Super Saving Tips March 12, 2017 at 18:14

    It’s a wonderful feeling to be happy with your home. Even if it’s not perfect, at least it’s yours (well, and the bank’s, but they don’t live there!). So glad you’re still feeling good about home ownership one year in. It’s not right for everyone, but I enjoy it.

  • Reply Vickie@Vickie's Kitchen and Garden March 12, 2017 at 22:11

    I remember having all those thoughts you mentioned of renting. You really never knew how long you would be there. They could sell the house anytime. Repairs to the house are so worth it!

  • Reply Amanda March 13, 2017 at 02:11

    I’m about to hit the one year mark of home ownership, too! I’m starting to like the place more and more. I had a few bad rental experiences through the years, too. Plus, so many places won’t allow dogs. Owning a home was essentially, for me, about providing a safe space for my two boys (one big, one little.) I love spending time in my living room, and I’m prioritizing projects, as well. Congrats on the anniversary, and on that splendid deck!

    • Reply eemusings March 13, 2017 at 10:08

      Congrats Amanda!

      Here it is literally about 99.9% no pets, and especially not dogs, in rentals. Even if I managed to find a rental I liked that allowed dogs, it wouldn’t be fair to get any (just go online and look at dogs up for rehoming for this reason…) and organisations also prefer to adopt out to homeowners for this reason. Being able to provide a home for 2 dogs is a huge joy of homeownership for me too 🙂

  • Reply Femme Frugality March 13, 2017 at 12:51

    I’m so glad this has turned out so well for you! I had no idea about the housing crisis in Auckland until we “met”…sounds like such a nightmare. I hope you get that new kitchen soon, but am glad there’s “less” of all the bad things!

  • Reply Song March 31, 2017 at 04:47

    It’s interesting reading about home ownership perspective in NZ. Tile counter is a big NO for me too. I don’t know why anyone would do it…

    We’re hitting 2 year mark soon. While I don’t think the renting market is that bad yet where we live, housing market is definitely getting worse. Same deal. Demand over supply. A house I was interested in and tracking listed for 450K but sold for 550K. That’s 100K over asking price…

    Being home owner definitely hasn’t been rainbows and unicorns, especially because we are not very handy, so if anything goes wrong we usually hire contractors… and labor is pretty darn expensive.

    Financial wise it hasn’t been worth it for us yet. But like you we’re fortunate to be in a position in which home ownership is an option, and we definitely choose to be home owners.

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