Doesn't always have to live in a basement.
"...And then you've got the ones who are just waiting for their parents to die. My one friend is like, 'This'll all be mine one day,' and I'm like, 'What are you talking about? Your mother is only 54. What are you gonna do, poison her?
A stereotypical Hollywood Nerd
who, despite being a grown adult is still an adolescent
right down to living with his parents. While the decor of their Poster-Gallery Bedroom
is subject to the tastes of the character, be sure there will be a computer to communicate with the outside world. It's always Played for Laughs
as an acceptable lifestyle target
. More importantly, the subject is Always Male
. There is little stigma to a female character living at home, and in some cultures it might even be expected. This makes the trope a huge Double Standard
against men as well (but see below).
The guys who are depicted in this condition usually fit into one of the following:
- Lazy and unwilling to earn a living for himself.
- Childish and requires everything to be done for him.
- Can't get any and hasn't moved out to start a family.
- Technically unable to earn a living for himself. (i.e. unable to get a job)
Thank goodness those don't sound like nerd stereotypes, or we
could be in real trouble. This trope has become much, MUCH
less stigmatizing in Real Life
, however, where the economy has been sending more and more adults back to their parents' homes. And if this article is any indication, this trope could even become discredited at some point in the future.
Note that living with one's parents is a stigma mainly in the USA and other Anglosphere countries, where working-age adults are expected to live on their own, so this trope shouldn't be applied to characters from cultures where this is the norm
For a more serious treatment of this as a social problem, see Hikikomori
. Not to be confused with Madwoman in the Attic
. Compare The Hermit
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- A Burger King commercial features a winged pig who used to be this, but is now finally moving out.
- This British Dulux paint advert wherein a couple get their thirty something rocker son to move out by... painting his room yellow?
Anime & Manga
- In Mallrats, comic loving slacker Brodie lives in his mothers basement. His girlfriend dumps him for this reason
- In Men In Black 2, Agents J and K get intel from a conspiracy theorist guy who lives in his mom's attic. They claim to be from his therapy group.
- Live Free or Die Hard: "Warlock's" "Command Center".
- In The Pallbearer, David Schwimmer still lives in his childhood bedroom.
- Wayne of Wayne's World. In the second movie when he and Garth move into their own place.
- The movie Failure To Launch deals with a group of grown men living with their parents who exhibit stereotypical nerd behavior.
- Subverted though, in that the 'nerdiest' of the group actually owns the home he lives in, and took in his mother because that's what you do when your mother has nowhere else to go. In fact everyone in the group but the main character has some sort of technicality which makes them not really live with their parents, which is used to explain why only said main character is attacked by chipmunks and dolphins.
- Subverted in Galaxy Quest when Jason Nesmith is contacted by the Thermians. He thinks that they're particularly rabid fanboys who have built an exact replica of the the Protector in their parents' basement. He's only two-thirds right.
- Guy Fleegman, whose character played a Red Shirt in the in-movie TV-show, can be spotted in one scene hitting on a young woman who responds with "but you live with your mom!"
- Speaking of Tim Allen. His role as Zoom in Zoom: Academy for Superheroes has him meeting his fans and asking how many of them still live in their Mom's basement. All but Chevy Chase raise their hands. This is followed by what the movie's Agony Booth Review refers to as "Awkward Silence Which Is Supposed To Be Funny?."
- A wonderful line granted, but the idea was best expressed in a SNL sketch with Shatner delivering that as well as the inquiry of how many attendees at the convention have even kissed a girl. Priceless.
- In 8 MM the killer lives with his mom, who is completely oblivious to his problems.
- The whole plot of Tanguy involves exasperated parents who try to get their grown son (the title character) to move the hell out so they can have their own lives back.
- This French film appeared to have hit a chord with the public, as the name "Tanguy" has basically become a generic word for Basement-Dweller in French-speaking countries, where it's not uncommon to hear people complain that their son is a Tanguy.
- Dave's cousin Toby from Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakel who lives in his grandmother's basement and plays video games all day.
- Subverted in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen by Agent Simmons. When questioned about living with his mother, he states "She lives with me. There's a big difference."
- In Badly Drawn Roy, Roy continues to live at home because he can't hold down a job despite being in his thirties, which causes friction and arguments between him and his parents as well as running away from the camera. He eventually checks himself into a rehabilitation center because of his depression.
- In Baby Boy, Jody's mom calls him out for being a grown man living at home, until he points out that she never moved out and simply inherited her house from her own mother.
- Stephen in The Score lives in a Hacker Cave in his mother's basement.
- Man Child Alan from The Hangover films refers to himself as a stay at home son. He gets his meals served to him in his room by his mother.
- Teddy in Save Your Legs is living in his mate Stavros' garage. Stavros' wife does not approve of this arrangement.
- Subverted early into Harvey. Myrtle Mae complains to her mother how her uncle Elwood does nothing but lounge around the house all day and still lives with his older sister. Veta promptly corrects her that Elwood inherited the entire family fortune so they're the ones living with him.
- In Saturday Night Fever, Tony lives with his parents, even though his mother wants him to move out and become a priest like his older brother Frankie. He does end up moving out eventually to live with Stephanie.
- Subverted in The Help. The big publishing hotshot is disgusted to learn that our heroine lives with her mother. The heroine is actually taking care of her mother as she dies of cancer. Oops.
- In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, Fitz's initial circumstances may count as a subversion: he's a single, 27-year-old, immature geek with a lousy job whose 65-year-old widowed mum lived with him before she moved into a sort of insane asylum shortly before he's introduced. She's generally mentally unwell and prone to delusions of being the devil and so on, in addition to being rather sickly and apparently prone to "taking the back off one-armed bandits", and therefore needs him to look after her.
- Played with in Freakonomics with the chapter titled, "Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?"
- "Batman may call it "The Batcave", but that doesn't change the fact that he spends most of his time in his parent's basement"
Live Action TV
- The Trope Maker is likely William Shatner's "Get a Life" sketch on Saturday Night Live, in which he made reference to how the Star Trek fans should get a life and move out of their parents' basements. That sketch may have single-handedly
invented popularized every Trekkie stereotype.
- There was a series called Get a Life starring Chris Elliott that aired on Fox in the early 90's. Elliott's character was an epitome of this trope, although he lived in an apartment over his parents' garage, rather than in the basement.
Chris Elliott plays Chris Peterson, a carefree, childlike bachelor who refuses to live the life of an adult. At the age of 30, Chris still lives with his parents and maintains a career delivering newspapers (the St. Paul Pioneer Press), a job that he has held since his youth. He has no driver's license (instead, riding his bicycle wherever he goes). He is depicted as being childish, naïve, gullible, foolish, occasionally irresponsible, and extremely dimwitted. Chris is often the subject of abuse from his friends and family. He is often seen dancing (involving a silly back-and-forth step while swinging his arms) to the piano tune "Alley Cat" by Bent Fabric. His lack of intelligence is exaggerated to absurd levels: at one point, he tries to leave his parents' house but is unable to operate the front door. He also fell out of an airplane after opening the plane's exterior door, believing that it led to the restroom.
- CSI episode "A Space Oddity" plays the Hollywood Nerd image ludicrously straight by showing two guys living in a reconstruction of the ship from "Astro Quest" in their mother's attic.
- Ghostwriter episode "Into The Comics": Manny Gite runs his evil operation from his mother's attic, where he resides.
- Played with in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When what's left of the Cardassian resistance movement are on the run on Cardassia, they end up hiding in the basement of the house Garak grew up in; complete with an overbearing mother-figure who feeds them and makes them do chores. Garak shelters there, and if it never definitely says she is his mother, she acts damn close. Still, he certainly is not a shiftless loser.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Xander Harris, who does not enrol in college during the fourth season and lives in his parents' basement, where he pays rent. He gets his own place in season five. By season seven, everyone seems to be living in the Summers household.
- Also the nerd troika of season six, whose evil headquarters is Warren's parents' basement.
- Spike in parts of Season 4 and 7. ("I'm chained in a bathtub, drinking pig's blood from a novelty mug!")
- The Drew Carey Show: Drew had long been living in his parents' house, which he bought from them. When they have to move back in, he's forced to live in the basement. Naturally, he comments on being a 40-year-old man who lives in his parents' basement.
- Howard from The Big Bang Theory lives in his old bedroom instead of the basement, but otherwise fits this trope to a T. However, he and his family are Jewish, which is one of the cultures where adults living with their parents before they get married is considered normal.
- Frank on 30 Rock lives with his mother and pays her rent. It hasn't been mentioned if he actually lives in her basement. Subverted when he almost moved out to become a lawyer. (Jack put a stop to this after learning that all of Frank's male relatives were lawyers for The Mafia and consequently met bad ends.)
- In one episode of NCIS, Tony and Ziva interviewed the web master of a porn site who lived in his mother's basement. He also collected Star Wars toys as "investments" and met the site's owner on his paper route. If memory serves, his mother wanted to bring them snacks.
- Another episode, featuring an episode long, city-wide Big Black Out, starts out with a man in his thirties who's playing a computer game when the Internet connection is suddenly lost. He immediately shouts for his mom, who he apparently lives with.
- Similar to this, people routinely make fun of the title character of Frasier for living with his father, causing him to make the same reply of "He lives with me!" Except that this is actually the case... Frasier's father moved into Frasier's apartment to be taken care of, not the other way around. Oddly enough, the writers of the show seem to occasionally forget this.
- The most extreme example of this is Ted from Scrubs, the pathetically inept sad-sack attorney who not only lives with his mother, but shares a bed with her.
- In Seinfeld, George lives with his parents during most of season 5 because he can't find a job.
- Everybody Loves Raymond: Robert Barone is forced to move in with his parents— even though he bought their house from them, and ends up having to give it back to them after he loses his apartment, he's cast as the "loser" because he's a man in his mid-40's living with his parents.
- The first time he moved out, he ended up in an apartment above the garage of the Jewish versions of Frank and Marie. They even cooked his dinner, bossed him, and ignored him in order to pay attention to Ray.
- Criminal Minds:
- The accomplice of the killer from "Extreme Aggressor" had shades of this, since he lived with his grandmother and spent almost all his time in the attic; Morgan, after finding his bedroom, even says "This is a boy's room, not a man's".
- The UnSubs in "The Wheels On The Bus..." were implied to be this trope for much of their lives, since their parents had abandoned them.
- On Sci-Fi's Flash Gordon the title character lives with his mother and sometimes worries that he's falling into this trope. Everyone assures him that he's actually rather admirable because he moved back home to help take care of his mother when she was diagnosed with cancer.
- On My Name Is Earl, Earl tries to make up for poking a hole in his crush/babysitter's condom. He finds the girl, who has married the guy who got her pregnant, and they have an unemployed adult son who dropped out of high school and leeches off his parents. Earl decides to help him truly become an adult. Hilarity Ensues.
- Bud Bundy in the later seasons of Married... with Children.
- Vinton Harper of Mama's Family, despite being over 40 years old, and a single father of two children, who DO move out when they're old enough.
- Buster Bluth in Arrested Development is a grown man still living with his mother. He is more or less incapable of functioning in the outside world.
- Invoked by Saba's characterization of Chui the leopard when she finds he's still living with his mother about a year after they thought he'd have become independent. Obviously, being a leopard, he doesn't show the human-specific features of a Basement-Dweller, but he is living mostly off of his mother's kills when he's old enough to be on his own. Best guess about why? The local male (probably his father) seems to have gone missing and therefore wasn't around to drive him away and mate with his mother. Sadly, his mother Bella was looking kind of skinny from supporting her adult son as well as herself.
- During a hockey broadcast by TheSportsNetwork in Canada, announcer Gord Miller and commentator Pierre McGuire were talking about ludicrous trade proposals they've read. Miller noted, sarcastically, "there are two types of people who make up proposals- 13-year-olds that live in their mother's basement, and 30-year-olds who live in their mother's basement."
- Don Pratt from a Mr. Show show sketch. During his commercial, he tells the audience he can get anywhere within a 30-mile radius "anytime she doesn't need the car." Also when calling, "if [Don Pratt's] mother answers, hang up quickly!"
- On Orange Is The New Black, it is shown that just before being sent to Prison for setting a bomb under her crush's fiancee's car, as well as mail fraud, Lorna Morello was living with her parents in her old bedroom.
- A rather disturbing variation occurs in Being Human. One episode has a young man who lives with his parents... because he was turned into a vampire while in his late teens and his parents are trying to hide it. They constantly move around so no one notices their son staying the same age and have him feed off of them so he won't attack anyone else. By the time the protagonists meet him, they find his now-elderly father dying, leaving his son on his own for the first time in his life.
- Toni Cipriani in Grand Theft Auto III is a Mafia boss who still lives with his mom and frequently gets yelled at by her. Not that he's always lived with her; three years before the game he'd been living alone (and far away from Mama) for a while. He just had to move back in at her insistence - she can be very... persuasive.
- This is also part of the Italian stereotype of men, no matter how independent, tough or respected outside of the home, still are dominated by their mothers.
- The entire McReary family from GTA IV, all grown, live with their Ma with a single exception. Derek is a fugitive recently returned from Northern Ireland, Gerald is in and out of prison, Packie is a small-time thug, and Kate, wholesome and innocent, keeps their Ma safe. The odd man out, Francis, is deputy police commissioner.
- Jimmy De Santa from GTA V also fits this trope. He constantly sits up in his room, masturbates, smokes pot and plays video games without making an attempt to get a job or move out.
- Rowland in The Orion Conspiracy reveals himself as this. He says that he lived with his mother before coming to work at the space station. He is rather childish, immature, lazy, fat, has a chocolate addiction, and is a hypochondriac.
- Larry Laffer in Leisure Suit Larry lived with his mother until he one day came home and discovered that she had gone traveling and sold the house. Larry was 38 when this happened.
- Evil Dave in Runescape has constructed his lair in his mother's basement.
- Your first employee in You're the Boss says "Thanks for hiring me. You have no idea how much my mom wanted me out of her basement."
- The main character in Plains of Fantasy lives in his mother's basement and spends most of his time playing the title MMORPG.
- In The Sims, when you're on the main menu, you have an option telling you to "Get A Life."
- One of the first missions is to move out of your mother's home.
- Strong Bad's "Road Trip" mocks an e-mailer, calling him "Pete From Pete's Parents' Basement".
- Linkara hasn't moved out of his parent's house in 30 years, as his review of Superman v. Terminator reveals.
- Maddison Atkins refers to the people commenting on her videos as basement dwellers.
- The roles are reversed in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series were Grandpa shamefully lives in the basement.
- Until fairly recently, Spoony lived in his parents's basement. He ended one review on an explosive cliffhanger in case the circumstances of his move out rendered him unable to continue filming.
- In an episode of the Vacuum Consortium, Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum is seen yelling to his parents upstairs after the credit roll.
- Nostalgia Critic: Douchey McNitpick is revealed to live in his mother's basement in "The Next Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Fuck-Ups".
- A pre-cursor to Douchy; Melvin, self-claimed brother of the Joker, lives with his mother, whom he tries to pass off as his secretary to the audience, but to no avail. He finally admits it later in the video:
Melvin: "I do in fact, live with my mother. I see no shame in it... even though she constantly does."
- Doug and Rob moved out of their parents's house around the time of The Room review. Then, they had a big and gorgeous. Now, they are married and live in different houses.
- Similarly, Uncyclopedia articles assume that all the editors and readers must be basement dwellers.
- Defied in Cinema Sins with a bit of Self-Deprecation:
Narrator: "We don't live in our mother's basements because we don't deserve such luxury. And there are spiders down there."
- Update is told from the perspective of an unemployed 31-year old man who lives in his parents' trailer.
- According to Cracked, Valentine Strasser, the former dictator of Sierra Leone, had to live with his mom after being overthrown. And his current situation was so pathetic that the very same government that overthrew him felt the need to request that people stop throwing rocks at him.
- In Adventure Time, one of Jake and Lady Rainicorn's sons, T.V., is revealed to be this in the episode "Jake Suit". Jake expresses his approval.
- Frugal Lucre of Kim Possible operates his schemes of world conquest from his mother's basement where he lives.
- Taken two steps further, when the heroes gain access to his 'lair' not through their usual MO of breaking in through the roof or ventilation shafts, but by knocking on the front door and asking his mother if he was home, and then when Lucre and the heroes are gearing up to fight in the basement a few moments later, they're interrupted by his mother bringing a tray full of snacks and juice for her son and his 'friends'.
- The Fairly OddParents episode "Big Superhero Wish": The middle-aged writer of the Crimson Chin lives his with his mother and receives a magazine called "Geeks Who Live With Their Mothers Monthly".
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Night Of The Huntress": The middle-aged "The Calculator" operates his evil ventures from his mother's basement. When Huntress comes to bust him, his mother is all too pleased that there is a girl here to see him.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: "Operation M.I.N.I.G.O.L.F." Involved The Great Puttinski shrinking down Numbuh 2 and challengeing him in a mini-golf course complete with models of the world's monuments. The whole course is in his mother's basement. Numbuh 2 still wins.
- Legion of Super Heroes episode "Substitutes" has Porcupine Pete, who not only has his mom drive him and the other audition rejects around, but also has the best moment of his life ruined by his mother arriving and saying it's his nap time.
- Coop from Megas XLR makes for a strange non-nerd (albeit very slacker) example. Upon learning that the Monster of the Week intends to destroy his house, he exclaims "My Mom's home! She'll kill me!"
- The Batman: Cluemaster even built his evil lair in his mom's basement.
- The Simpsons: Comic Book Guy is subject to Geographic Flexibility. Apparently someone thought this would make a worthy gag to have him living in his parent's basement after they'd already established that he lives above his shop (it's one of those business-on-the-first-floor-home-on-the-second-floor buildings common in smalltown USA).
- Most of the jokes about Seymour Skinner revolve around how he still lives with his beloved
smother mother in middle age (although as with Frasier, he insists "she lives with me!"). Unlike in Frasier's case, he is not especially successful, she appears perfectly capable of taking care of herself, and she was living in said house before he came home from the war. So it's pretty clear his protestations are wrong.
- Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before": Melllvar hits this trope dead center.
Melllvar's Mother: Melllvar! Dinner time!
Melllvar: Aw, but Mom, I'm playing with my collectibles!
Melllvar's Mother: Now!
(Melllvar groans and disappears)
Fry: All this time we thought he was a powerful super-being, yet he was just a child.
Melllvar's Mother: He's not a child, he's 34!
- A villain in WordGirl, Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy, lives in his mother's basement. (He tried to move into his own lair once, but got too homesick and moved back.)
- The Venture Bros.: Henchmen #21 briefly lives and operates his own comics supply business out of his mother's house, before being called back by The Monarch.
- Oz from Fanboy and Chum Chum fits this trope to a T. He's an adult, action figure-collecting, obese comic book nerd who lives with his mother. They technically run a comic book shop together, although in "The Hard Sell" it's revealed they're unable to sell anything due to Oz's infatuation towards the items.
- In King of the Hill "The Witches of East Arlen", Bobby joins a group of "wizards" who appear to be basement dwellers as the leader Ward who looks middle aged lives in his mother's house.
- Wade from Kick Buttowski, while not a nerd but a severe slacker, told Kick and Gunther that he lived in his step-mom's basement but she kicked him out...
- Turns out she lived in a trailer and the basement was just a hole in the ground underneath it.
- In Legend Of Korra Book 3 "Change" one of the new potential Airbender recruits is a 22 year old one of these. His Mother, despite the saying he's "Still trying to figure his life out" to try ans justify it, is delighted by the idea of Tenzin taking him to the Northern Air Temple just so she can get him out of the house.
- Former Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski lived with his mother throughout his term of office. He isn't married, has a law degree, so apparently the Polish electorate didn't hold it against him. The stigma is generally less in Europe, whether because of a strong emphasis on family life (as in Italy), prohibitive property prices (as in the UK, though Italy also has this problem) or both (as in Poland).
- In the Netherlands it's generally seen as uncommon and somewhat overly dependent to still live with one's parents if one is comfortably in one's 20s and has some way of supporting oneself. Though some students living close enough to their educational facility continue to live with their parents, a decision often related to difficulties finding a place or Hotel Mama being more convenient and less costly, most students look down on this, especially if still done beyond the first or second year of one's studies, and prefer the freedom and independence of a grotty student room. Adults moving in with their ailing parents seems to be fairly unusual as well. There may be in-country cultural differences in this, though.
- The rising prices of student housing might be making an end to this, with students paying up to 600€ for a grotty room.
- This being the BeNeLux equivalent of the US- dormroom or house-sharing trope, which is quite rare there.
- Because of the current recession it can get rather difficult to avoid this if you're a college student.
- For that matter, it can be difficult to avoid this for graduates, if you didn't choose a high-demand degree.
- The "move out when you are an adult" is a (relatively) recent phenomenon of post WWII America where everyone had four complete years of constant work, savings i.e. rationing, and GI Bill bonuses to boot. Prior to that most people lived in family units and only moved away when there wasn't enough room in the current dwelling.
- It was also a cultural norm for young men to move out as soon as they became adults in order to make it on their own and prove that they were real men (it's debatable on whether or not young women experienced the same thing or they lived at home until they met the right man to marry and move in with him). Nowadays (especially because of the lousy economy), most young adults stay at home with their parents or relatives until they have a stable income and be able to live on their own off of that.
- The abovementioned cultural norm depended on your socioeconomic level. Working-class and farm girls as well as boys left home as young as eleven to get jobs in mills and factories, often sending part of their earnings to their families. Many factories had dorms for their child/teen employees. There were also independent rooming houses and protective societies for female workers.
- Japan has some serious social problems with this issue. Though shows like Welcome to the N.H.K. sort of address the issue, the usual statement made is that Otaku culture is a product of these behaviours, and not a cause.
- It doesn't help that only about 12% or so of Japan is actually inhabitable, which leads to crowding and insane prices. Well, let's see, I could either bankrupt myself trying to live in my own apartment, or stay with my parents and not spend almost all of my income on rent and mortgages. Decisions, decisions...
- Some people also move home after leaving and failing hard. This happens to many people. Reality show phenom Simon Cowell had to move home after the FIRST time he hit it big and lost everything, according to at least one official biography.
- Living with their parents is a common practice in Latin America, since social, political and economic instability is the rule in most of the countries of the region, up to the point you have 3 or more generations living in the same house; not that this is so bad, in nations where social care for old people is at best negligible sons end taking the responsibility to keep the house running along with their aging parents and relatives. Also, living in community makes things a lot easier in terms of paying the bills since you can buy wholesale merchandise.
- Interestingly the practice of having the family living close to someones has allowed some people to start family businesses which in turn have improved the economy of their countries. Also, Latin American people will always have a safe haven in case of social or economic failure, which may or may not be related to why instead of committing suicide or ending sleeping in a park Latin Americans simply pull back to their parent's homes to heal their wounds and get ready for another one!
- In Middle Eastern nations, it is generally expected that children live with their parents until they get married.
- Same thing in the Mediterranean countries, Eastern Europe (see Poland above) and SE Asia. In some of the Mediterranean countries, there are also expensive property prices on top (Italy and Spain, to name two examples).
- Living with parents, and the concept of the joint family, is very common in India and the rest of South Asia. When some younger individuals live away from their parents, it often happens amongst villagers who travel to larger towns and cities to earn a living. Sometimes, people from richer families live away from their parents, but the trope bounces back when they own houses within the same area or even building.
- The extended family is the norm through almost all of human history. It's only very recently that the nuclear family - and the whole idea that a person moves out and starts their own family - became popular.
- This was more a result of the relative perception of prosperity of the Post-WWII years in the West. The nuclear family migrated slowly to the Far East from Western influences.
- Dr. Phil refers to these people as Moochers, and has done four specials on them.
- In early 2014 a study in Britain found that over a quarter of 20-34 year olds (640,000 people) were still living with their parents, and for every 10 women there were 17 men. Reasons for this include a rise in unemployment and shakier employment prospects (ie. more part-time and temporary full-time jobs, less permanent full-time jobs); high house prices and low living wages were also singled out as problems. In addition, though not mentioned, many people with higher degrees often find themselves in much more menial occupations (due to stiffer competition and, again, rising unemployment), so many who finish uni end up having to go back home (though since Britian is a fairly small country its not uncommon for students to choose to commute and not leave home to begin with). In short, it simply makes more financial sense to postpone moving out as you can focus on saving up for a decent home and wait for the economy to improve before renting or buying one.