<< Only long enough to save for a large (30%+) down payment on our own house. Plus, we'll have our own kid(s) in the future and will need more space >>
You are willing to spend more on housing in the future. But, why must you buy? You could rent a bigger place.
<< 2) Why buy over rent in the future? To maximize control over my own life. Nobody can raise the rent, install low-flow showerheads, etc.>>
What control? Unless you have a stable income and / or you are financially independent, buying a house exposes you to a greater financial risk. You have less control. Now, you are tied to the house and stuck with a huge debt. You have less flexibility and mobility in finding a new job if you have to.
I have a perfectly rational way of looking at housing. It is an expenditure. I choose my housing requirement. Then, I decide whether I should rent or buy. Given that I am exposed to greater financial risk by buying, I only buy when it is cheaper than renting.
I already answered that first one - for greater control.
You claim I'd have less control. Less flexibility to move, sure. Less control over the building in which I reside? No.
Unless I have stable income? Well, I make the same amount every month, so that's stable. Or did you mean a guaranteed job? Of course I don't have that. Unless you have tenure or something, nobody does. But if I lost my job today, I'd have a new one within two weeks. Same income? Maybe, maybe not. But that's why we're putting 30% down on a $200k house, so the PITI will be no more than half of my wife's income (and my wife's income is less than half of my income). The odds of us both losing our jobs at the same time and
neither of us being able to find a job before our emergency fund runs out? To that I say, "ha!" And I also say "impossible," because I want our PITI to be small enough that it could be covered by us delivering pizzas. Frankly, I don't believe in exposing myself to financial risk, except for my Vanguard accounts which don't feel like "real money," since they're not accessible. It all comes down to keeping the PITI sufficiently low - arbitrary comparisons to net worth or rent are entirely irrelevant.
Mobility in finding a new job? I would never move for a job. Ever. Because jobs can be lost and then you get one somewhere else, possibly in the opposite direction that you just moved from. Right now, I drive 27 minutes to work. My wife drives 15 minutes to work. We both drive South. When we buy a house, I refuse to move more than about five minutes South of where we currently live. I would
like to be closer to the freeway, though. So, given that I don't currently have "mobility in finding a new job" while renting, I, by definition, wouldn't have less mobility in finding a new job with a house.
Or are you talking about moving across the country for a job rather than moving to the next town over? Because that's even more insane and I would never put that option on the table.
However, I'm getting bored of this and it's getting about time for Friday night video games, so I bid you adieu.