Longevity Enhances Value
We recently had a post about living wealthy. This brings out a question about your home. How does one optimize the value of their home? First, of course, would be to keep it as long as you can. Your home should not be considered as a “temporary” situation. In spite of the housing crash of 2007 and 2008, your home is usually your most expensive investment. The old adage of buying the most expensive home you can afford simply doesn’t hold water any more.
There are two reasons for staying in your home and not “moving up”.
1 When you purchase a more expensive home, you are increasing the amount of money you are spending and this will impede your investment rate and increase your likelihood of staying poor.
2 Keeping a home for a longer period of time will give it a greater opportunity to appreciate in value.
OK, so how long should we keep a home? Ideally, the simple answer is “as long as you possibly can”. Practically speaking, 20 years might be a good number. It will allow a couple to raise their children and then they can move one time into a home they will be comfortable in for their retirement. Naturally, there are many that would disagree with us.
Look who’s talking
This advice is coming from a couple who has owned 8 different homes over the past 34 years. Obviously, there were extenuating circumstances. For example, we were transferred around the country by our employer for the first 12 years of our marriage. After that period of time, we have had two homes and here we are.
So, many people are doing an awful lot of moving around these days, just like we have dome. The difference is that they don’t have to do the “buying up” part of the program. There are tax consequences when you “buy down”, so you must be cautious when deciding how much you can afford when purchasing a home. There is no problem with buying a home that you really love and then making improvements as you go along. Keep your receipts for the improvements that you make.
Don’t misunderstand you don’t really need receipts for routine maintenance. The receipts for the home improvements can be used to increase the base cost of the home when you should decide to trade down in the home value.
Keep in mind the cost of possession of your home. Generally speaking, the cost of possession will increase with the value of a new home. Things such as utilities, taxes, etc. are typically tied to the size and value of a home. Other costs increase because of “social stature”. In a more “expensive” neighborhood people would be more inclined to purchase a more expensive car and more expensive furniture. These costs tend to be unnecessary and a hindrance to the successful completion of a sound Futuristic Retirement plan.
What to do?
Consider what can be done with your current home to make it more pleasant and enjoyable to live in. We, for example, have added a small room to the back of the home in which we place a very nice hot tub. We have had the hot tub and, after our accident, it has been very good therapy. The addition cost right around $10,000 and may or may not actually improve the value of the home. I am sure; however, the tax assessor will think that the home’s value has been enhanced.
The thing to keep in mind here is that we can enjoy our home and drive around our new Chevy, enjoy the hot tub and take a trip or two when we want. Or, we can buy a far more expensive home, the Cadillac that goes with it, the fancy furniture and stay at home because we are continually paying off the monthly bills.
Is this a difficult concept to grasp? We don’t really think so. It seems to fly in the face of the proverbial “conventional wisdom”. But, if you think seriously about this program, we believe you would spend far less on an annual basis enjoying the finest home in your neighborhood than you would spend by “buying up” in your home and living the lavish lifestyle.
We hope these thoughts might help you as time goes on. Perhaps you can use it to your Futuristic Retirement advantage. Perhaps you can help someone else. Naturally all circumstances are different and have may have different outcomes. We simply hope you would carefully consider all options when deciding your needs for your home and your future.
God Bless you all,
Bea & Terry Reeves
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