This Is Why I Own a Home

by Mr. 1500 - Published July 26, 2017

naughty dishwasher

[As part of our new weekly column by Mr. 1500 of 1500Days.com]

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Recently, J. Money wrote an article on why he doesn’t like owning a home.

A naughty dishwasher hose leaked and caused thousands of dollars of damage to the home he was renting. J. Money describes the chaos:

  • Walked into the kitchen and saw air (water?) bubbles on the floor
  • Walked into far corner of the basement and saw water dripping from the ceiling
  • Looked closer and there was mold on the wooden beams – meaning it’s been dripping for a while
  • Mold people come out to inspect and quote a price to our landlord
  • Mold people start work on it and find even more mold under the kitchen floor (those bubbles? they were water)
  • Cost to fix is now doubled – but that’s only for the mold cleanup/restoration
  • To get to the mold they had to rip up the kitchen floor
  • To get to the kitchen floor they had to rip up the cabinets
  • To get the cabinets back in/re-built a cabinet person needed to be hired
  • To get the floor fixed a floor person needed to be hired
  • Then on top of it all the AC overheated, tacking on another $268.50 to the bill

Sounds like a nightmare, right? Since J. was renting, the nightmare mostly belonged to the landlord. J. had to move his family out of the home for a couple days, but was responsible for nothing else.

Despite J.’s tale of woe, I love owning a home. I’ve owned my primary residence ever since I graduated college and I’ll continue to do so until I’m old and grey.

Why I Love Owning a Home

I’ve always enjoyed home ownership. Here’s why:

#1. I make money from my homes: Before I tell you how I profit from home ownership, I’ll tell you what not to do. The recipe for not making money is this:

Buy a new home. Choose a cookie cutter model in a new subdivision where the home is priced at top dollar by a builder who knows how to maximize profit.

Bonus points: throw more money out the window and build a custom home

Don’t buy or build a new home. Ever.

I have two strategies that I use to make money from my primary home:

  • Love the Ugly Duck: I buy homes in need of love and fix them up, earning instant sweat equity. Of course it’s work, but an added bonus is that I get to make the house my own with finishes that I enjoy. Bye-bye vinyl floor, hello slate!
  • Flirtation with Gentrification: I buy homes in up-and-coming places so the gentrification wind is at my back. I look for areas that are experiencing an influx of people and have a solid economy. If the town is still a little rough, that’s OK because it won’t be that way forever.

My current home is the most extreme example of these strategies. In 2013, I bought an ugly foreclosure for about $175,000.

I put a load of work and $100,000 into it. It now looks like this:

At the same time, my town has improved. The shuttered turkey processing plant that was recently torn down will soon be fancy condos. The pawn shops on Main Street are almost all gone. I could easily sell my home for $500,000 today for a profit of about $225,000.

#2. Owning is cheaper than renting: My mortgage (15 years at 3.25%), property insurance and taxes set me back $1264/month on my 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home. Meanwhile, half of a duplex on my street (2 bedrooms/1 bathroom) rents out at $1400/month. Full disclosure: In addition to the $100,000 and time I spent on improvements, I also put 20% down ($35,200) at the time of purchase. After taking these numbers into account, I strongly believe that I’ll come out ahead over the long term. This brings me to my next point.

#3. 11 Years to Freedom: I have 11 years of payments to go on my mortgage. After that, the home will cost me only property taxes and insurance (currently $250/month). (Editor’s Note: AND MAINTENANCE!!! WHY DOES EVERYONE “FORGET” MAINTENANCE????? ;))

#4. Stability: Moving sucks. Enough said. Well, that’s not quite it. I have children and I want to give them stability. I was fortunate to spend my childhood on the same street with the same friends. I want my children to have the same experience.

#5. Learning Opportunities (more tools): This one is a stretch, but I’m throwing it out there anyway. I like to build and fix stuff. Coming out of college, I didn’t know how to do anything with my hands. Now, I can set tile, plumb a home, wire a home, replace windows, build a custom shower, fix a dishwasher, hang/finish drywall and build a deck (thanks, YouTube!). I can take something ugly and make it beautiful. Bonus: I get to buy more tools!

This type of work isn’t for everyone, but it feels [email protected] good once you complete a project. Also, you save loads of money since most of the cost in projects is tied up in labor.

Not for Everyone, But…

I readily admit that owning a home isn’t for everyone:

  • If you live in certain areas like Vancouver, New York City, or San Francisco, forget owning a home. You’ll come out far better financially by renting. Sign a lease and call it a day.
  • If you move frequently, forget home ownership. Be in it for the long game.
  • If you absolutely hate taking care of a home, even mowing a lawn, go find yourself a nice rental. Fixing a broken dishwasher isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun afternoon:

However, if you’re at the right place in life or willing to endure a live-in renovation, maybe, just maybe, home ownership is for you. It’s certainly been worthwhile for me.

Let me know if you need help with your next project. If you live in Hawaii or San Diego, I can be over next week.

Mr. 1500 writes the Wednesday column here at Budgets Are Sexy, and is the founder of his own financial blog, 1500Days.com. He hit financial freedom at the age of 43 with $1,800,000, and stops by here to share his thoughts on finance, frugality, and life in early retirement.

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Budget on a Stick July 26, 2017 at 7:23 am

I love owning. We took an ugly duck and have made it awesome. Not only have our improvements brought us equity and comfort but we got the house on a huge discount.

I hated renting because of living so close to other people. No matter what style place it was we could always hear someone doing something. Drove me bonkers.

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2 Lance @ My Strategic Dollar July 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

YES YES YES! I’m a huge fan of house hacking. You buy low, upgrade the home at a cheaper price than having a contractor or builder do it, realize that instant equity, refinance then rent out the remaining rooms. It’s a recipe for success and it’s worked well for me!

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3 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

LOVE house hacking. I wish I would have had the sense to do it when I was younger.

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4 [email protected] July 26, 2017 at 7:38 am

Every time I see your home’s “after” picture, I think you’re joshing us! It is gorgeous!!!! It seriously looks like you pulled the picture from a stock photo agency. :)

One question: did you do all the (what looks like) major renovation yourself, or hire someone to do it?

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5 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 8:10 am

I did most of it. I paid for carpenters and for the drywall work, but did everything else myself. The technical (plumbing, electricity) finishing (tile) work cost the most, so I do those parts myself.

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6 Taylor July 26, 2017 at 7:49 am

I’ve been having this same back and forth with my Dad!

I just turned 24 and my Dad is insisting on my buying instead of renting when I move out. It’s just that I can’t see that happening right now. I’m young person who’s willing to move anywhere for a job, I know that I will not be in this state for the next 5 years and honestly right now it doesn’t sound too appealing.

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7 J. Money July 26, 2017 at 10:02 am

STICK TO YOUR GUNS!!! No shame in renting at all – especially if you’re going to travel around and you don’t feel like you’re ready. That’s exactly what got myself into the mess, as well as millions of others over the years. Owning is great in some circumstances, and renting is better in others. You tell your dad to give me a call ;)

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8 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 10:06 am

Completely agree; don’t buy!

Somewhere in our culture, we decided that we had to own homes. Despite my article, I think that’s completely silly.

And I admit I cheated a little with this article. I’m more of a long-term flipper than a home owner.

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9 [email protected] July 26, 2017 at 7:50 am

We were talking (laughing actually) about you guys and your marriage the other night in the middle of putting down a new vinyl plank floor in our basement :) Living through (and in) a remodel can definitely put a strain on everyone involved! We’ve learned to double the budget and the time we have planned – and to not take every little comment personally as the days go on! Since we’re retired, we have time to do these renovations and #5 is key for us. We’ve learned a TON in the last few years. My husband is a rockstar remodeler now and he’s not sitting around watching stupid TV all evening. He’s solving problems and doing calculations – keeping his mind sharp. Many jobs are also physically demanding, so it’s a work-out too!

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10 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 8:12 am

“Living through (and in) a remodel can definitely put a strain on everyone involved!”

Oh yeah! Throw in a couple kids and you have a recipe for a whole lot of not fun. I’m glad we remodeled our current place, but also glad that it’s done.

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11 Ms. Frugal Asian Finance July 26, 2017 at 7:56 am

Wow I’m impressed by your renovation. Your house looks great. Of all of the perks of owning a home, stability and appreciation is key for me!

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12 Apathy Ends July 26, 2017 at 7:58 am

We built a home in 2015, but to offset costs of upgrades we did a ton of work ourselves. Tile, wood floors, picked out all our lighting fixtures (instead of using the “design studio”) planted trees, laid sod. I figure it was a 25k swing all said and done.

I prefer to own a home over rent as well – you put that house through quite the transformation, nice work!

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13 Leo T. Ly July 26, 2017 at 8:09 am

I love being the king of my castle. I bought my first home ten years ago and moved to a larger home five years ago as my family grew.

When I bought my homes, they were not fixer uppers, but they were also not in tip top shape either. Like you, I had learned how to become a handyman and was able to save a boat load of money by fixing the homes myself. I built two kitchens, a deck, a stone step and an interlocking driveway.

To take this even further, I use my home as collateral to borrow money and invest in the stock market. All in all, my primary residence is my greatest asset.

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14 J. Money July 26, 2017 at 10:04 am

I admire all of y’all who have the patience – and desire – to be handy. I’d save my wife a lot of heartache if I could bring myself to be the same :)

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15 Leo T. Ly July 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm

There are two things that motivate me to be handy. The first is being able to save money. The second is being able to build things that I want. It’s like playing with lego for big kids.

My proudest moment was being able to sit on my deck and enjoy a nice BBQ gathering on a hot summer day.

Start on small projects to build your confidence.

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16 J. Money July 27, 2017 at 10:32 am

Amen, brother.

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17 D July 27, 2017 at 1:55 pm

@Leo T. Ly – If I am reading your post correctly, it would have been a lot better for you and your family to have rented; The ROI on a house is WAY beyond 5 years.

The fact that you’re leveraging your house as an asset is what scares me the most. Don’t you remember 2008???

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18 Leo T. Ly July 30, 2017 at 6:37 am

Hi D, I do remember 2008 and 2009. I lived though that and it taught me to be a risk manager. I think that the best way to learn is to experience. I am glad that I had the experience and I did not lose my shirt during the last down turn.

It depends on the area that you live in. I was fortunate enough to live in an area that saw real estate more than doubled since 2007, the year that I bought my first house.

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19 Gwen @ Fiery Millennials July 26, 2017 at 8:19 am

At this point my best hope is gentrification. Otherwise I’ll probably never see the money back as there is a lot of deferred maintenance to do.

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20 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 10:07 am

Start swinging that hammer!

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21 J. Money July 26, 2017 at 10:09 am

The maintenance is the worst :( (And the part most people forget to consider when looking for homes… it’s not just a rent vs mortgage calculation!)

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22 Eileen July 26, 2017 at 8:24 am

Amazing renovation!

We’re home owners as well. We bought a 1970s era home in the late 90s. We are not the go-getters you are, but we’ve chipped away at the gold appliances and pink carpet and various other things. BUT, we bought in a fantastic location with large lots and as our area grows (we’re in a high growth area of NC) we know our home will continue to appreciate in value.

This is our third home and while we used to spend random Saturdays driving around looking at places we’d like to live, we have not done that in over 20 years. We know this is home. We’ve raised our kids here (and one would like to buy it from us whenever we do decide to move).

Of course, the decision is so highly personal, so knowing you are in the right situation is what matters most.

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23 J. Money July 26, 2017 at 10:27 am

That is SO COOL one of your kids wants to take it over later on!! I love legacy stuff like that – where the object becomes much more than a physical thing, and more about memories and happiness :) As much as I don’t want to own a house myself at this moment, I do dream of a day when I’m settled down and our kids can grow up and eventually take over the compound as well to be carried on through generations. I love the stories of hundreds of year old homes still kept amongst ancestors – so much warm history!

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24 Paul July 26, 2017 at 8:41 am

Love this. I think people are too afraid to mess up once or twice in order to learn. I do almost all of my own home improvement and maintenance. I am currently finishing my 2400 sq ft basement. adding 2 new bedrooms, one full bath, a movie theater room, a weight room, and a giant common area. I’ve done a decent bit so far, framing, electrical and hvac, once you get into it it really makes you wonder why anyone would ever pay the rates these people ask. Any time I have had a contractor come in I have found them to be lazy and lacking in terms or detail. I hate paying someone to do a worse job than I can do myself. Plus university of YouTube and a number of other websites help a lot. We had quotes for $40K to complete the work in our basement. At completion, I’ll be in it for less than $15K with a better layout and better finish quality than we would have received otherwise.

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25 J. Money July 26, 2017 at 11:05 am

Movie theater room!!!! When can I come over??

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26 Paul July 26, 2017 at 11:34 am

Open invitation, although right now that room is just studs and insulation.

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27 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 3:59 pm

“…once you get into it it really makes you wonder why anyone would ever pay the rates these people ask. Any time I have had a contractor come in I have found them to be lazy and lacking in terms or detail. I hate paying someone to do a worse job than I can do myself”

Exactly. I’ve had no shortage of contractors do horrible work. It probably takes me longer, but I do it right.

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28 Paul July 27, 2017 at 8:25 am

Plus, without the extra added expense of labor, IF I mess up and have to start all over, even if I had to re-buy material, I’d still come out ahead on total dollar amount spent. People love to play the “you didn’t factor in your time” game…firstly, that only counts if you would have been working and making money in lieu of manual labor and secondly they are also discounting the knowledge and experience gained by giving that no monetary value.

Plus I just like working with my hands. If I could make as much money doing that as I do in my white collar job I would totally switch. Once I get to FI though, its Paul’s time to shine.

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29 Mr. 1500 July 27, 2017 at 9:41 am

Right on Paul! I think we need to work on a project together some day! My framing nailer is ready to go!

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30 Mrs. Adventure Rich July 26, 2017 at 8:48 am

I think #3-5 really resonate for Mr. Adventure Rich and I. We moved back to Michigan last year and part of the thought was that we were moving to the place we wanted to settle and raise our family. While buying a house is not necessary to stay here, the stability we have found through purchasing and now living in what is hopefully our “forever home” has given us great comfort. We also find that we are excited to try our hand at fixing things or making improvements here and there. The house is something we work on together and will benefit from as a family.

I think another big reason for us was the autonomy to do what we want (within reason/the law) with our house and property. We don’t have to worry about what the landlord will think if we want curtains instead of blinds or if we choose to reshape our yard through clearing brush and creating paths around the house. We can make that call ourselves!

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31 Mrs. Picky Pincher July 26, 2017 at 9:36 am

Ahhh, owning a home. It’s been wonderful and horrifying all at once. It’s always going to be more expensive than you think it’ll be, that’s for sure. But I do love owning a home. For us it’s a better financial decision than renting, and we’re able to have a lot more freedom.

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32 Jason Butler July 26, 2017 at 9:37 am

Currently, owning a home is not for me. I’d rather rent and allow the maintenance man to fix things once they break. I have no interest in fixing anything right now. I’m also not sure where I want to settle down and live it. I have a feeling that I will be making a couple of moves before it’s all said and done. Eventually, I want to own, but not right now.

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33 J. Money July 26, 2017 at 10:29 am

No shame in that!

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34 Charlotte Farmer July 26, 2017 at 10:44 am

As a retired person I’m glad we own our home. Even though we do have maintenance to pay for, the costs are much lower than rent. The taxes and insurance in our area are reasonable too so I guess it depends on where you live. It gives me chills thinking about paying rent on our income because we would have to take money from our savings or investments every month. By the way, I love your blog.

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35 J. Money July 26, 2017 at 10:46 am

Glad you’re enjoying it :)

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36 Dividend Daze July 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

So many great arguments for or against home ownership. Really just comes down to personal preference. If you want to own a house, go do it. If you want to rent, more power to you. Everyone is in different stages of their life too. No choice is bad. Would just be nice if third party people wouldn’t argue and tell you that you are wrong in your decisions. If you are reading blogs like this, then that are probably doing better financially than those people anyway haha. Love the opposing article though. Nice to see both sides of the equation.

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37 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm

What I don’t like is the thought that owning a home is a good financial decision. It can be, but in most cases, it isn’t.

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38 J. Money July 27, 2017 at 10:34 am

You didn’t help that cause with this post ;)

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39 Billy B @ Wealth Well Done. July 26, 2017 at 11:57 am

I hear ya @Mr1500. Three years ago I had ZERO skills with my hands and was afraid to buy my first house. But once I was I moved in, and owned the place, I found out I loved learning little projects and skills on utube, and then executing those projects and skills to make my home more valuable. When I am bored, I just walk around my house and look for ways to improve it! Instant entertainment for me! In fact, I found out I liked it so much, I bought the other half of my twin home (It’s a huge property) and learned how to rent it out. In fact, I just got back tightening a screw on a drain in the rental that had gotten loose, and I enjoyed working with my hands for the last hour and doing a general maintenance check on the property. That was WAY more fun for me than waking up early, sitting in traffic, and going to a full-time job! Now eventually, when I am ready, and find the right property, at the right price, I can buy a new house for myself, rent out my side of my twin-home, and the rent from these two houses will pay the mortgage for my next house. I would then own 3 awesome properties and my out of pocket costs would be $0. I know it’s not for everyone, but if you’re like me, go ahead, buy something at a good value, and try real estate. I was afraid at first, but I took a risk, and found out it’s a lifestyle that I love if the price, location, and quality is just right. If I wouldn’t have tried, I never would have given myself the opportunity to learn how to succeed. There’s no better way to learn, than to try. However, you’re right, if you cringe every time you think about mowing the grass, or pulling out your saw or drill, save yourself the bad experience, and enjoy renting. You can win at money that way too, as J$ has shown.

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40 Mr. 1500 July 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm

“There’s no better way to learn, than to try.”

Yep, I’ve found that the hardest part in most cases is just gathering the courage to try.

And nice work Billy; you’re killing it!

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41 Dads Dollars debts July 26, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Great post. I would not say I love owning more then renting. My current home was bought with the thoughts that prices will continue to increase in Northern Cali for the next 10 years. Downsides are I already have dumped a lot of money in maintenance in the house.

My biggest downside for owning a home is always wanting to change it. Feeing it is not just right. I do not have that problem with a rental.

secobd probpem is lack of mobility. With kids this is less of an issue but when I was kid free it made me cookoo.

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42 Mrs. BITA July 26, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I own (and this is the first home that I have ever owned) in the Bay Area. I’d argue that owning in the Bay Area can be a fantastic idea _if_ you plan to stay there for a ‘medium’ amount of time and then reap the appreciation gains by selling and moving away. We bought for $775k in Oct 2012. Comps in our area are now at $1.5M.

Mr. BITA and I have about 26 thumbs between the two of us, so we are the opposite of handy. While I am grateful that our house has appreciated as much as it has, house maintenance is not fun at all. The latest gift our home has given is a leak from the upstairs shower causing the wall behind the pantry to be damp. Yuck.

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43 J. Money July 27, 2017 at 10:37 am

(I think I just vomited a little in my mouth)

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44 Michelle Schroeder-Gardner July 26, 2017 at 1:36 pm

The before and after picture of your home is amazing. It is so beautiful!

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45 Mr Crazy Kicks July 26, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Count me in as a home owner. We haven’t made nearly as much renovating and owning in CT, but I’m still happy if we break even. Our mortgage isn’t nearly as much as rent would be for the same sized home.

While it can be a lot of work, I love being able to customize and renovate as I see fit. I have a yard where I grow a lot of our food and raise chickens for eggs. We also get to enjoy a pool, hot tub, and movie theater with a 9ft projector screen that I built.

Of course it’s my job to maintain everything, and that’s not for everyone. But I love working with my hands and having space for my projects :)

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46 J. Money July 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

I’m glad you said that. You keep keeping those chickens alive, and I’ll be over shortly to collect me some free hearty eggs :)

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47 Steven July 26, 2017 at 4:46 pm

I am not the most handy guy in the world but I have certainly tried a few things along the way while I owned and rented out part of my home. Anything that I felt was needed ASAP like a renter fix or electrical that couldn’t be hooked up by following the instructions we used our best efforts to hire someone we trusted at a fair price that if needed could do future work for us. Renting your house is running your own business, you can certainly do everything yourself but it may be in your best interest to hire someone. Cheers to working with J. Money……..please make him get a mohawk for FINCON at least!

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48 J. Money July 27, 2017 at 10:39 am

(I’m on it…)

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49 Mr. Tako July 26, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I’m always amazed by your DIY renovation skills Carl! Seriously, your house looks awesome!

I thought I was pretty handy, but you take it to a whole new level! :)

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50 Mr. 1500 July 27, 2017 at 9:43 am

Thanks Mr. Tako, but I know you’re handy yourself and can do anything that I can do. And given the time, gumption and some helpful YouTube videos, anyone can do this stuff.

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51 Jaymee @ Smart Woman July 26, 2017 at 5:32 pm

WOW that doesn’t even look like the same house when you first bought it! Amazing work :D

And Yeup! Can’t beat those numbers!

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52 Crystal July 27, 2017 at 2:15 am

We own two homes. Our first was a cheap, but well built foreclosure. Our second, and current, was a semi-customized build. We are happy with both. Neither one has had to have major work, just the little stuff that breaks in all homes (water heater heating coil, a/c parts, and a leak in the first home, etc.). We have $10,000 set aside for both homes to take into account larger maintenance items as they pop up. We rent out the first house and a room in our current house. Home ownership is definitely not for everyone or even a good idea all the time, but in our area of Texas, it’s cheaper even with maintenance costs than renting and we love it.

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53 Dave July 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Wow, you did an amazing job on that house. You really maximized your budget. We currently own a house that is almost paid in full. We might rent in the future after we reach FIRE and want to travel more.

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54 LL July 27, 2017 at 1:33 pm

“Don’t buy or build a new home. Ever.”

I’m on board for this article, but this sentence seems like nonsense. Sure, it’s way more expensive than any other housing choice, but you’re ruling out any possibility that there might be trade-offs that are worth it? My family (me, spouse, 2 toddlers, 1 grown child living at home during grad school, plus her boyfriend, also living with us during college) recently moved into a new (and BIG) home. We had decided we wanted a living arrangement that would allow my mother (recently retired) to move in with us, and between the large profits from the 2 houses we sold (ours and hers), our current mortgage is lower than before we made the move. (Property taxes are another story, of course.) Why a new house? We needed private living space for all 3 groups of people who live here, and the ‘grandma suite’ had to be main floor (totally unheard of in our area, where they are almost always basement suites). Could we have bought a big, older house and remodeled? Sure, but (1) we wanted to make the move as soon as possible for family reasons, (2) we both work full time and weren’t willing (or really skilled enough) to take time off to play contractor, and (3) not sure we would have saved all that much considering the substantial costs of a professional remodel. So: lower debt burden, but more importantly we’ve totally changed our family life for the better without enduring a long, expensive remodel on an existing home.

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55 J. Money July 27, 2017 at 3:19 pm

I looooove the idea of having my parents live with us one day! My mom is totally on board with it (we’d have to go back to owning in this case, but it would be worth it), however my dad is not so hot on the idea… something about wanting to enjoy his retirement on his own terms and not being shacked up with little kids, pssh… :)

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56 Brian July 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm

I have a solution for you… buy a compound. That way your parents can be in a smaller out building, you can have the main house and the third building (have to have 3 buildings to be a compound IMO) can be used to run your internet empire.

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57 LL August 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

We actually did look for something more ‘compound’- like. =) In our metro area, zoning restrictions are pretty strict when it comes to ‘accessory dwelling units’, so we would have had to purchase commercial real estate to find something like that, or else move into a rural or unincorporated area. Even for the house we bought, with a built-in ‘multigenerational living’ suite, there are alot of rules around what we can add, and what would make it a ‘multifamily dwelling’ which isn’t allowed in our area. Like, my mom’s suite can’t have a private entrance. I don’t get why there aren’t more regulatory carve-outs for intergenerational families and their living arrangements.

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58 Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom July 27, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Yes!!!! We have the same approach! We bought a home that went to auction, literally paid half price. Even after fixing it up, we are sitting on $110,000 of equity. Today. Imagine in five or ten years if we go to sell. Housing costs will only continue to rise. Home buying isn’t right for everyone. But it has definitely worked out for us!

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59 J. Money July 27, 2017 at 3:17 pm

It’s like the yard sale for houses, haha…

(and actually – I know a guy who once stopped by a yard sale and then ending up buying the house! It wasn’t even for sale!)

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60 Donna Freedman July 27, 2017 at 4:33 pm

During my married years I/we owned a condo, a trailer and a house. Now I am divorced and own nothing. However, my midlife-fairy-tale-romance fellow owns a house that’s paid for. He loves, loves, LOVES not having a house payment.

Maintenance is, indeed, a bear. But he’s handy and I’m sorta handy, so we can find our way through most problems without opening our wallets too wide. In fact, we’re about to embark on a small deck-building project. Since it’s for utility (i.e., how to get out the back door and into the yard) rather than for glamor and backyard entertaining, we’re talking an extremely basic platform set on pier blocks. It will still cost a lot because (a) wood is expensive and (b) everything in Alaska is expensive. But we’re frugal-hacking it by cashing in for Home Depot cards from several rewards programs, hitting the Habitat ReStore for odds and ends and, yes, doing the work ourselves rather than paying the $2,000 to $2,500 price quoted by several professional handymen who eyeballed the plans.

Here in Anchorage, once you hit age 65 the first $150,000 of appraised value is not considered in terms of property tax assessment. So I tell my partner (who turned 65 last year) that the taxes he ISN’T paying will cover the rest of the cost of the deck. Which is good, because the washer and dryer are at least 18 years old and could go on strike any day. Maintenance: Feh!

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61 ZJ Thorne July 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

Your home is beautiful, but I value using my time for other endeavors. The ability to let the problem belong to the landlord and not worry is important for my stress-level.

I was also raised a military brat, and don’t see the value in roots. None of the kids who had lived on the same block their whole lives had the curiosity, resilience, or easy ability to fit in that folks who moved frequently did.

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62 Myfinancekits July 29, 2017 at 8:48 am

Owning a house is a long term investment indeed. But if you are able to take the risk and be patient, it also has long term rewards. However, it comes with responsibilities such as the payments of property tax and home insurance premium.

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63 Mrs Money July 30, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Oh my gosh, your house is GORGEOUS now!! I love it. We own our house and I do prefer owning for many of the same reasons you listed. I can’t wait to be mortgage free! There’s a lot that we need to do to our house still but at least it’s our home.

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64 Abel Travis July 31, 2017 at 6:45 pm

The renovation looks great. We owned a few rentals and the tenants caused so much damage, it took years to recover. I love owning our personal residence, rentals have been ok in my experience.

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