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Homeownership isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (forgive me, dear colleagues). 

As a Realtor, I’m supposed to devotedly stoke the engine that drives big parts of the U.S. economy as well as my personal economy by recommending that everyone buy a house. But despite all that American dream stuff, home –when you get right down to it – is only a state of mind.

If you’re an owner, you may have more control (or at least a feeling of more control) than if you’re a renter. But there’s a burden of responsibility that goes along with ownership, and some would say you’re trapped when the you-know-what hits the fan. With a rental, if the building starts leaning 18 inches to the left, you can walk away.

There’s much less attachment with a lease. Job change? Just got married? Having another child? Want a complex with a pool? Want to walk to work? Want to live in Harrisonburg, Virginia? If you’re renting, you simply wait until your lease ends (assuming you can’t break it sooner) and move out.

Don’t like the neighbors? House too dark? Too sunny? Airplane noise too constant? Neighborhood too edgy? Dream sofa won’t fit? With owning, you’ll have to hope the market is in a good place, interview agents to represent you, do some improvements, stage, move out, market, hope for offers, consummate a sale and then move.

And that stuff about not being a grownup until you own a home? Or not being able to “settle down” or start a family until you have a house? Skip that. Focus instead on the gifts of wisdom, perspective and freedom that come with adulthood. Focus on the core of what really matters. 

It’s no coincidence that the word “heart” is the main part of “hearth.” Home is where the heart is, and the hearth is merely a tangible embodiment of that idea.

Photo Credit: William White 

Cynthia Cummins is the founder of Kindred SF Homes and has been serving homeowners and homebuyers for 3 decades. For information on San Francisco Bay Area real estate visit For my writing and mindfulness blog, visit