There was a discussion recently where a man remarked that a house was where you store your wealth, not a place where you amass wealth. That remark crystallized my typical lecture to prospective buyers that if you can’t afford the house you’ll own tomorrow, don’t buy it today, because you’ll need to pour a lot of money in without any fact based expectation that you will eventually get out more than you put invested.
Some buyers are clamoring to get into the market now because agents are saying that they can “get valuable homes at bargain prices” (an actual quote from an e-mail sent from an agent to a client of mine who attended an open house). But I need a definition of valuable that is less vague than my dictionary’s “worth much money”, because prices cannot and should not always define value. Yes, we all should have a place to give us shelter from the weather and safety from the dangers of the world, but is a one bedroom condo truly a less valuable sanctuary than a mansion with six garages if all we really need is a door that locks and comfortable spots to eat, sleep and bathe?
I’m thinking a valuable residence could better be defined as the one that offers a relaxing atmosphere and enough room for you and any family to gather, store belongings, and attend to life’s needs and necessities, all while leaving some money in the checkbook each month as a cushion after all the bills are paid. Notice I never indicated you had to own the house for it to be of value? If you have the wealth to buy the security that comes from ownership, I am all for it. But if you only have the funds to rent monthly shares of shelter, that is no less valuable in my real estate lexicon.