Rethinking Homeownership: A Long-Term View

This post is courtesy of one of the lenders I utilize, Kate Wilson, of Fairway Independent Mortgage. She and her team work with all buyers and are especially knowledgeable about first-time buyer programs.

Guest Author: Kate Wilson of Fairway Independent Mortgage

We have a magazine rack for our clients in our lobby. I was really hesitant to put out the September 6th edition of Time Magazine because the front cover read: Rethinking Homeownership: Why Owning a Home May no Longer Make Economic Sense.
I can think of a lot of things that don’t make much economic sense but I sure wouldn’t put buying a house in that category. I have some pretty strong convictions about why homeownership is important and a lot of them start with common sense. I take the long-term view:
There are tax advantages to homeownership that you don’t get when you rent. Once you have a fixed rate mortgage, the principal and interest payment will not change over time. Your rent will and you have no control over just how much those rent increases might be. Both the interest and the property taxes are deductible but only your landlord gets to deduct them when you rent.
At the end of the day, a house is a forced savings account. If you pay all of the payments, at the end of the loan term, you own the asset. You can save yourself a lot of interest and get there faster by making one extra Principal and Interest Payment a year. It’ll take about 7 years off of a 30 year loan. If you pay rent for 30 years, your landlord will own the asset and use it to pay for his Long Term Care, not yours.
Your mortgage should not outlive your retirement age even if you’re buying up. Mortgages come in terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. Consider this: If you’re buying up, keep your mortgage in sync with your overall financial plan and objectives. If you’re considering a move, take the age you want to retire and subtract from it your current age and see how much you’ll qualify for using that amortization period. There’s no prepayment penalty for first mortgages these days so even if you take out a 30-year mortgage to protect against a ‘what if’ scenario, figure out how much extra principal it takes to repay it according to your retirement timeline and just do it.
Home equity lines of credit for vacations or the purchase of cars are a bad idea. You’ll be paying for that vacation long after the memories have faded. The car started to depreciate the minute you drove it off the lot and you’ll be paying for the old one even after it’s eligible for vintage plates.  In the meantime, you will probably have to buy another car and pay for it while you’re still paying for the trade in.
The most common sense reason I can think of for homeownership has nothing to do with it making economic sense. When you own your home, you are free to make it fit your lifestyle and a reflection of who you are. Landlords call such changes ‘damages’ and keep your deposit or kick you out. If the landlord decides to sell and you have to move, you can lose years of accumulated emotional net worth.

Other than graduating from college, having my kids, and marrying my sweetheart, I can’t think of a better decision I’ve made in my life than becoming a home owner. Your thoughts?

Kate Wilson


I agree with what Kate has written here which is why I asked her if she was agreeable to my posting her thoughts here. We’d both be interested to know your thoughts. Share them by adding a comment below. (The typeface color for Leave a Comment is green so it doesn’t stand out immediately but it’s at the end of the list of tag words at the bottom of this entry.)

Learn more about Kate Wilson and her team here:

Kate Walsh
Lakes Area Realty




1 Comment

  1. Gene Perez says:

    One of the things I try to tell my clients to do is pay an extra $100 or so every month on your mortgage so that way it goes to the principal. You can build up some serious equity. But of course buying a home still makes sense. It’s all about timing and it is an investment and like any investment if you got in at the wrong time it can feel like the biggest mistake you have ever made. Santa Maria Homes For Sale

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