I’m not talking about the bank holding the mortgage on your home. Even if you think you own your home free and clear, you really don’t own it at all. You lease it from the State and it sets the terms and conditions that allow you to occupy the house or sell it to another lessee. The State owns the house and land in perpetuity and you can not alter this arrangement.
When I was a kid my dad bought a new four-bedroom house in 1964 for about $28,000. He had a good job and stuck his financial neck out by taking on a whopping monthly payment of $190 on a twenty-five year mortgage. He and my mom would talk about how when they got the house paid off they would not have to pay the $190 every month and that would basically put them on Easy Street.
My dad never made it the twenty five years. By the time my mom paid off the mortgage the monthly property tax bill was $450 per month! There is no way to pay that off once and for all and, in fact, it is subject to constant increase by political whim. Eventually the money paid in relentless property taxes exceeds the cost of the home. What was true for her is true for all homeowners.
Moreover, the terms and conditions under which you occupy “your” home are a further burden to you. You can’t add onto the home without permission, you can’t subdivide the land without permission. You can only have certain pets and only a certain number of them. You must maintain the home to a certain standard. Violation of any rule can cause you to lose the home and be evicted for repeated non-compliance with State orders. (After all, they are the true owners.)
Depending on your tax jurisdiction, when you die a large portion of your home’s value can be claimed by the State and your heirs would either have to pony up the cash or sell the home to pay the inheritance taxes. Then the State resets the clock with the new “tenant.”
Throughout the long life of the home the State does not contribute a penny to the expense of the home’s upkeep or the costs of complying with the myriad of regulations concerning things like fence heights, swimming pool regulations, tree trimming, wildfire regulations and dozens of other ordinances or bylaws.
Moreover, the State-granted monopoly utilities provided to the home – water, phone, gas and electricity – are further taxed at constantly increasing rates which you must pay in order to occupy the home.
Claiming to be an “owner” under these unilateral and coercive terms and conditions begs the definition of the word ownership. I have briefly lived in a communist country and I can tell you there is very little practical difference in home ownership there. Oh, plus their kids didn’t have put their hand over their heart and pledge allegiance to the State every morning at school – I guess that would be too Orwellian for communists.
Pete Sisco grew up in Canada, emigrated to California in his twenties and to Idaho in his thirties. He left the USA and has since lived in Belize, Mexico, China, Thailand, England and Spain. Since 2006 he and his wife have been traveling the world non-stop as digital nomads. http://www.petesisco.com