I love being a freelance writer. I don’t envision a time when I won’t be freelancing. Sometimes I feel tempted by a “real” job, and then I remember all the things I like about the freelance lifestyle.
As the debate over buying a home heats up a little bit on the news that millennials aren’t interested in purchasing houses, I’ve been thinking about my own lifestyle choices, and whether or not home ownership is compatible with the freelance lifestyle I want for myself.
Is Buying a Home Still the American Dream?
One of the realities of the shift in mindset among millennials is the fact that buying a home might no longer still be the definition of the American Dream. Instead, many value location independence. Home ownership doesn’t really help in that area. If you buy a home, you are more likely to be tied down and have fewer options later.
I know that when I owned a home, I felt cramped by the reality that I couldn’t just pick up and move. In fact, when I did move across the country for my then-husband’s job, we had to sell our house quickly, at a loss. We paid a pretty hefty sum to get rid of the house quickly because we didn’t want to be landlords.
Today, many millennials are more interested in freedom than in a white picket fence. The American Dream is more about flexibility and lifestyle design than it is about owning a home and “settling down.”
This is especially true when you start thinking about the freelance lifestyle. Many freelancers like the ability to travel, live where they want, and not have to worry about selling a home or being a landlord. Renting is especially conducive to the freelance lifestyle, and now that I’m renting again, I doubt that I will buy a home. I enjoy the flexibility of renting too much.
Buying a Home as a Freelancer
Of course, just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean that you don’t want location stability. When we bought our home, we did so on the strength of my freelance income. While I like renting so much better than buying, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. You need to figure out what works best for you.
Many people, including freelancers, like the idea of buying a home. If you have a family, and you are concerned about providing stability for your children, and you want to put down roots in a community and focus on specific schools, it can make sense to buy. Just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy a home.
However, you do have to be prepared for the added hoops you’ll jump through if your freelance income is used to decide your mortgage. I went through an income audit when I bought my house, even though I had several years’ worth of tax returns for my business income. You might also have other requirements. Buying a home as a freelancer is a little easier if you have a partner with a “real” job to help with the income portion of the mortgage application.
Like many things, the decision to become a homeowner depends on your preferences and finances. Decide what works for you and your own freelance lifestyle and make that your goal.