Please allow me to share a story with you,
Before we begin, all numbers used in this example are approximate and there are a great many other factors that will influence these numbers such as earning interest on savings and not being able to predict appreciation and depreciation over a term of 30 years. In addition, there is no accounting in this example for emergencies and other events that cause unexpected loss or gain. Buying a house does not guarantee your wealth, but it is a solid foundation for building personal wealth.
This is about two young couples who we will call the Smiths and the Jones. Both are young couples starting their lives together and both are considering getting a place to live. Both couples have decided that they won’t be able to afford the house they really want right now. Each couple decides that they have $800 a month to pay for the place they will be living, and then saving $200 a month for the house they want. Both couples really want to be in a house that costs $200,000 today.
The Smiths decide that they are going to do the “smart thing” and save their hard earned money to buy a home in 3 years. They rent an apartment and it costs them $800 a month as planned. They put $200 a month in the bank to save for their dream home.
The Jones decide to work with a great REALTOR® and get hooked up with a lender that helps them to get approved for a loan, but not nearly enough to get the house they really want. Like the Smiths, they settle, but instead of settling on an apartment, they settle on a little $110,000 house that ends up giving them payments of about $800 a month. Because they own a house now, they can’t afford to save $200 a month. They save $100 a month and put the other $100 into maintaining and fixing up their little house.
Three years later:
The Smiths have saved diligently and are ready to buy the house they wanted. They have saved $7,200 over the three years and are feeling good!
The Jones have done the same thing. They only saved half the cash of the Smiths and have $3,600 ready to spend.
Seems like saving was a good idea, but, there is more!
Other things have changed in three years. A healthy market has appreciated at a conservative rate of 3% a year. The $200,000 house everyone wanted is now worth $218,000.
The Smiths have spent a total of $28,800 on rent over the three years and saved $7,200. With the home they want having gained $18,000 in value, they are now $10,800 behind where they were three years ago (in terms of buying power). *sad face*
The Jones have spent $28,800 on their mortgage and saved $3,600 in cash. They have also earned 3% a year in equity on their home. Their little $110,000 house is now worth $120,000. In addition, since they have been diligent in putting $100 a month into maintenance and with some added curb appeal, they have increased the market value with that sweat equity by $7,200 and they are able to sell their little home for $127,500. Their mortgage payments have reduced the principal they owe to $103,000. Once they sell their home for $127,500 they will pay off the principal and other fees associated with selling, they have about $15,000. Add the $3600 in cash and they have $18,600 in cash putting them on pace with the market.
Five Years Later:
The Smiths have saved $12,000, and are further in the hole, still being behind the growth of just 3 years of appreciated property prices!
The Jones have saved $6,000, but will have paid the house down to $97,000 and gained another 6% in appreciation and other sweat equity. If we have a sale of $135,000 then after fees they will have about $25,000 to add to their $6,000 for a total of $31,000. As time goes on, the Jones rate of earning and building wealth increases with every year.
Thirty Years Later:
Smiths will have paid a landlord $288,000 and saved $72,000. They still can’t even afford to go back in time to buy the little house the Jones have been living in for 30 years. Next month, they will still be paying $800 a month in rent. Forever.
The Jones paid their mortgage for 25 years and in that time saved $30,000 in cash. They used that savings to pay off the balance on their home and started saving the $800 AND the $100 a month for the last 5 years and have saved $54,000 in cash. They also own a free and clear house and never have to make a monthly payment again. If we see 3% a year over 30 years in appreciation, they have $267,000 of equity in their home for a total value of over $300,000!
You can see how after a few years, owning easily makes better sense. I think you know this already. Unless you are going to be moving every year, you must explore every option to buy. We don’t often face choices that could potentially cost us more than a quarter of a million dollars, but this is one of those times. Do not give tens of thousands of dollars to landlords that you could be using to invest in yourself!
In the worst case, as we move forward together, we will explore every option to buy and if you have to wait a few months to a year to buy, you still will be in a better position than the Smiths. With that, the choice is yours to be Smiths, or to be the Jones. Whether you are a young couple or a single person, young or old, start your new life on the right foot and make good choices today to build your wealth tomorrow! In ten years, you will look back to today and either love the choice you made as you build your wealth, or wonder to yourselves, “what if?”
Real Estate Broker / REALTOR®