Monday, August 8, 2016

You Make Money Buying a House

Some people say that buying a house is an investment. That if you buy in the right neighborhood, with all the bells and whistles, like a three car garage, and stay in it long enough, taking care of it the whole time, you can sell it for a profit. Well, that's not always true. Housing prices go down sometimes.

No, where you make money on the house is when you buy it, getting the best deal for it you can.

I want to buy a house. Rather, I want to have a house bought already. I've learned quickly what creates value in a house, what I want and what I don't really need. You want the truth, I only need one bed to sleep in, a two burner stove, a couch, and I would like a dishwasher, laundry machine, two car garage, and bath tub. But no one wants to hear that.

People try to sell me on things like resale value (which is of course higher if you pay a higher price for the house) and multiple bed rooms, multiple bathrooms, and a seemingly endless flow of excess. Anything above 2,000 square feet scare me. The heating and cooling bills on that house seem just too high for one person, not to mention property taxes and the interest on a larger loan.

I looked at a house a few weeks ago that was listed for $24,900, and I liked the house. It was a nice two bed, one bathroom house in a part of town I like, with a new roof and a one car garage. The thing that drove me away was the neighbors with uncut grass who were borrowing the driveway for their truck with two confederate flags flying from the windows. Yep. I get the fact that I'm acting liked a spoiled kid trying to get something for nothing, when the prices for homes here in southeast Kansas are half of what they are in Dubuque and legitimately 1/3 to 1/4th of what you would get for that money around Worcester, Massachusetts.

Buying a house is something that you have to do and have to be invested in. There are so many reasons to walk away. The thought of taking on more debt, even if it is only a $65,000 mortgage, is something I'm not terribly excited about.

As I have gotten older I feel more detached from what defines normal, despite the fact that there are actually quite a few people "like me". It's been five years without cable television or Internet in my apartment, and I can't really imagine going back to having them. Oh I don't know...

Chances are I will have my student loans paid off by the time I turn 31, but no guarantee. It's just one more thing that is prohibiting me from willingly plunking down $70,000 for a three bed, two bathroom, two car garage house. A deal that would be unbelievable in most other parts of the country still scares me because it's so large.

Part of what makes this hard is that it is not like buying a new TV or a car. Research is way more difficult. Maintenance is a huge wild card of expenses. You can't read reviews of houses built by some guy in 1910. Plus, unlike the guy at the store selling you a new television who is not on commission, everyone stands to profit from your home purchase if you pay more/buy from them/buy today. I kind of like being an anonymous shopper because I can take my time as much as I like, and buying a house is not anonymous.

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