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Homeownership Isn’t A Short-Term Investment

Don’t buy a home to make money because you won’t.

At the end of May, my wife and I will have owned our home for three years. It was a home that we purchased six months behind the burst of the housing boom and one that has still appreciated in the time since, a testament to the strength of the housing market in the area between Baltimore and Washington D.C. In our little development, similarly designed homes have been selling in the $310k-$320k, or about $15k-$25k more than what we paid for our home. Some of those don’t have the full basement renovation ours has, some don’t have new windows (which means they’re 25 years old), and so one might be tempted to say that those homes would sell for a couple thousand more if they did have some of those amenities. Even so, does that mean we “made” $15k-$25k on paper on our home investment?

Nope. We’ve spent $7,000 on new windows and sliding doors (a great deal I think), about $900 to carpet the basement, and will soon spend approximately $5,000 on a new roof. Total those up and you have yourself ~$14k of expenses. Okay, so deduct that from the $15k-$25k and you have an appreciation of $1k-$11k, not bad right? Then consider that we’ve paid nearly $35k in interest payments to the bank (of which a third is returned at tax time) and you see how this “investment” has actually lost us money.

Homeownership isn’t a short-term investment. Not only isn’t it a short-term investment, the majority of the “reward” derived from homeownership has more to do with living a better life than having more zeros in your bank account. Even though we have “lost” money (granted, we would’ve “lost” more had we been renting), we’ve made lots of great memories in the short time we’ve been in this house and had the pride of homeownership.

Life isn’t always about $$$.