MrsSlocombe I really appreciate all the insight you have. Thanks for taking the time to type it all out on my behalf!
My plans for home ownership are for a few different reasons and not really to come out of it a few years later for profit. Not that it really matters though, many people probably are trying to own for that reason and will fall upon this thread and find your great advice. I can't tell you how many times I've used the search at the top of the page and come up with years of threads from people with my same question.
I am looking for my forever home. Something I can keep years after it's paid off and probably leave for my kids. I won't buy older than 1985 because of pollutants from old pipes going into the water. I'm sure over the years I will have many repairs.
I have had really horrible landlords who didn't fix things anyways and wouldn't let me fix things. I have sent my kids out in the backyard to play only to find that my landlord had let himself onto my property without telling me and was outside my back door spraying poison on the bushes! I've had a landlord who divorced his wife and she wanted her cut from the house I lived in so I had to leave because they were selling.
I live in one of the most expensive counties in America which is totally CRAZY but my DH grew up here and just refuses to move. I have talked him into moving one county away where we can afford a newer home purchase. Renting a well taken care of or newer home in the county I'm in now is about $2500 a month and moving just a half an hour away we can buy a home less than 20 years old and have a mortgage of about $1300 a month. That's the biggest reason I want to buy. Since the housing market fell it is just WAY cheaper to pay a mortgage than rent.
Yes I will have to budget for a roof replacement and property taxes. A new furnace and new carpets.....or whatever else. The house I just moved from had carpets that were so old and they had runs in them and my landlord did not replace them before the new renters moved in, just not right!