What Happens When Homeowners And Their Tenants Are Friends
I’m reaching that interesting phase of life in which half of my friends are still renting apartments and the other half are starting to buy homes. If you’re like me, then when that first friend told you that she and her partner were looking to buy, you thought, “Well, I didn’t realize you were loaded!” Or maybe you thought something like, “You’re too young to do that.” Then, you stepped back, realized you’re in your thirties, and not only are your friends not too young to be buying houses, but, in some parts of the country, they’d be considered rather old to be buying their first home. I live in a metropolitan area where housing prices are obscene, but in most other areas of the country, I could own a house on my salary by now. Those facts still didn’t prepare me for my friends becoming homeowners. When homeowners and apartment renters are friends, here’s what comes up.
The homeowners host long-term guests
When my homeowner friend and I have a mutual friend visiting from out of town, I make the polite offer for her to crash on my couch, but we both know she’d rather stay in our homeowner friend’s extra bedroom.
So I feel left out
Since out-of-town visitors stay with my homeowner friend, I naturally get less time with that guest. I don’t get all of that downtime that happens when you sleep under the same roof—I just meet up with my buddies for activities.
The homeowners host most meals
Let’s be honest: while I could host Thanksgiving dinner at my place, people would only be attending to be courteous. Meanwhile, they’d all be thinking, “Why didn’t we do this at the home of the person who owns a full house?” So I just let my homeowner friends host most major meals.
The parking fiasco
My friends who now have driveways and garages don’t exactly love looking for street parking when they visit me at my apartment. I can sense it aggravates them a lot more than it used to (when they, too, were apartment renters).
They try to recruit me
All of my friends who own houses are trying to talk me and my boyfriend into buying one. They break down the costs, and try to show me that my mortgage payments would be around the same price as my rent is now. But I’m just not ready to make such a massive commitment like buying property.
When they complain about homeownership
Then my friends complain about how expensive it is to fix a leaky faucet or replace old tiles and I remember, “Ah-ha! That’s why I don’t own. If there’s a problem, my landlord gets the bill.” (But I can’t say that out loud because I don’t want my friends to think I’m judging their choices).
I feel out of place
I can feel out of place in my friend’s houses. When we were all in apartments, we all still sort of felt like kids living in the grownups’ building. Sure, we were paying to live there, but there was an understanding that none of us had any extreme connection to the place. Now, in my friend’s houses, I feel the need to be very careful.
It is rather relaxing
Okay, even though I do feel pressure not to spill anything, when I spend time at my friends’ houses, I have to admit it’s pretty relaxing. Something about having all of that space and no shared walls with neighbors just makes you feel like you can really unwind.
I feel a little ashamed
When my friends who own houses visit me at my apartment, I feel a little ashamed, like I know they’re making a sacrifice to leave their lovely home to visit my lowly apartment. I didn’t used to feel that way when they, too, lived in apartments.
They live further away
Buying a house is expensive in a city, which is why most of my friends who bought houses moved to suburbs just around a 45-minute to hour-drive outside the city. So when they invite me out for dinner, I can’t help but resent them a little bit.
They’re members of an exclusive club
When my friends talk about homeowners association meetings and fees, or the contractor they met through this other homeowner who they met through this other homeowner, I feel left out of some exclusive club.
Can’t they just host my party?
Sometimes when I want to have a party, I think, “Can’t my friends with the house just host?” But the truth is that they’ve already complained to me about how much other people ask them to host their events at their house.
Their home makes me love the city
While staying at my friends’ houses, out in the quiet suburbs, is nice, I do love living in the city. I love the quirky characters I encounter and how close and convenient everything is. I love that living in an apartment, in the city, somehow keeps me feeling young.
Their home also makes me hate the city
Of course, when my neighbors are being loud, or there are just too many crimes for comfort in my neighborhood in one week, I see the appeal of leaving it all for the suburbs.
You realize everyone is just playing house
While at first, having your friend move from an apartment she rents to a house she owns can feel distancing, eventually you have that moment when she confesses, “I have no idea what I’m doing and just feel like a kid playing house.” And you realize you all feel that way. Nothing has changed, just the number of bedrooms.