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Old 10-02-2009, 05:38 PM   #51
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You have to do what's best for you. Only you know what you can manage financially.
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:20 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by rolnslo View Post
So, I'll throw out a few things for you to consider...

1. Property taxes in Texas suck! Depending on where you buy, expect to pay between 2% and 4% of the value of the house every year in taxes. Buying new? Expect to be closer to the middle to upper end of that spectrum. I live near Houston but in a rural area outside of a subdivision. My tax rate is 2.14% or just over $2400 a year ($200/mo) and I live in a modest $115k house on 1.25 acres.

2. Depending on your income level and the amount you finance to buy a house, the income tax advantages of being able to write off mortgage interest are questionable, at best. I'm married and for the last 2 years, I've barely cleared (less than $500 difference) the standard income tax deduction by itemizing my tax return to be able to count the amount of money I spent on mortgage interest and property taxes. I could rent and pay no mortgage interest and come out about the same when paying income taxes.

3. Housing prices in Texas will never reach the levels seen in the rest of the country. San Antonio and Houston are prime examples of urban sprawl. Rather the containing growth, they'll just build more roads that go farther out from the center of town and then fill in the empty space with more subdivisions filled with affordable new homes (built by inexpensive sub-contractors). All those new homes keep existing home prices down. Don't let people try to scare you into buying now because prices are down. Hell, in Texas, they're always down...It's part of why I left the housing bubble in Seattle a little over 4 years ago. I bought nearly the same thing (age, size, land, build quality) my sister did up there but down here in Texas, I paid less than half of what she did.

4. It's a lot easier to sell your car and break an apartment lease if you get into financial trouble (i.e., lose your job) than it is to sell your house. Sure, your car is a depreciating monster but there is always someone (Carmax) that will buy it from you on short notice. Try that with a house and you'll find it difficult to do. To be able to sell your house, you either have to have enough cash or equity to pay off the mortgage plus pay all the closing costs and realtor fees. If you only pay the scheduled mortgage payment, it takes years to build up enough equity to do that. For example, my affordable $115k house that I bought over 3 and 1/2 years ago has only been paid down $4k on the original loan balance despite monthly payments in the range of $1100-$1200.


Just thought I'd throw that out there for something to think about. If you can get an apartment with a garage, you've got 80% of what you'd have in a house. The only thing missing is long term equity building but you could also do that with a savings or investment account instead.
That is the way I see it also (see my earlier post). My tax rate in the Woodlands is about 3.3% and you and I know that the Texas market in the past even in good times barely beats the tax rate (not including all of the maintenance costs here in Texas because all of the rain and humidity). Buy the car and buy a cheap lot on the east or west coast if you want to take advantage of the low housing market and build equity. You won't build any appreciable equity in Texas......
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:32 PM   #53
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This is the funny thing about our society. We consider renting a bad thing because you are throwing away your money every month but how come everyone considers buying a house an investment?

If anyone actually stays in the same house for 30 years and makes regular scheduled monthly payments the entire time, you actually end up paying the amount financed twice, once for principle and again in interest.



That does not include all the taxes, insurance, maintenance, HOA dues, closing costs, etc...

Now how is that, as an investment, better than renting? Let me give you $300,000 in exchange for something that is only worth $150,000.


I'm guilty of it, just like most of us here are. Just something to think about....


that is why I said, looking at home ownership as soley a finacial investment is completely flawed.
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:59 PM   #54
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that is why I said, looking at home ownership as soley a finacial investment is completely flawed.

Obviously if everyone thought like us we would not be in this financial crisis from the get rich quick "flip this house" craze. Looks like most people don't understand the math and can't determine that all you do is pay interest for the first third of a mortgage and you only get to write off your tax rate of that if you are lucky. Houses are good to live in but historically have been poor "cash on cash" return investments. Plus, as we have all said right now they have almost no liquidity.
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:05 PM   #55
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Buying a house is the best investment most people will ever make!

If you have a good dependable car, buy a home now, and by the time you need to get another car, your income will probably have increased. Then since your housing cost should be about the same, (rent keeps going up!), and you make more money, buy a new car (or better yet, buy a demo and save some more money!).

A general 'Rule of Thumb' to remember: A home payment usually won't keep you from getting a car loan, but a car loan will often keep you from getting a home loan!
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:07 PM   #56
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And stay away from HOAs, they are evil!
I second that... JUST SAY NO to HOAs!!
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:10 PM   #57
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I don't understand this house thing either. I'm going to get one only when I need the space (I.E. when I start a family), because owning a house for any other reason isn't economical if you're investing your money properly.

http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-f...nership-21111/

Renting an amount of space appropriate for your needs will always be more economical than owning the same amount of space (unless you bought a shack in the ghetto). Taking the money you save by renting and investing it wisely will net you capital gains that you can actually realize through the sale of assets non-essential to your basic needs (food, water, SHELTER, etc). When you want to realize the gains on appreciation on a house (which never really happens given the cost of maintenance, interest payments, etc...save for bubble markets that are merely passing fads), you have to sell that house. Typically buying a house is a somewhat permanent (i.e. your goal should be to pay it off, own it, die in it, etc)...and if you don't sell an asset...it's not really an asset, is it? Nevermind that most people don't even own their "asset" until they're done paying off their 30-YEAR MORTGAGE!

If you want to make an investment, buy stocks and commodities. Those are appreciating assets that you can sell. Anything that you need for basic survival should never be called an asset...because you need it to survive.
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:14 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by DallasRetro View Post
Buying a house is the best investment most people will ever make!

If you have a good dependable car, buy a home now, and by the time you need to get another car, your income will probably have increased. Then since your housing cost should be about the same, (rent keeps going up!), and you make more money, buy a new car (or better yet, buy a demo and save some more money!).

A general 'Rule of Thumb' to remember: A home payment usually won't keep you from getting a car loan, but a car loan will often keep you from getting a home loan!
Makes perfect sense. By the way, what's a demo?
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:16 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by kjd15 View Post
You have to do what's best for you. Only you know what you can manage financially.
So true. After re-reading every single response for about the tenth time it's really up to me to take it from here. rolnslo does throw a kink in what seems like an obvious answer though.
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:37 PM   #60
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I don't understand this house thing either. I'm going to get one only when I need the space (I.E. when I start a family), because owning a house for any other reason isn't economical if you're investing your money properly.

http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-f...nership-21111/
Very interesting read! Thanks for the link.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:06 PM   #61
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So true. After re-reading every single response for about the tenth time it's really up to me to take it from here. rolnslo does throw a kink in what seems like an obvious answer though.
I try to help when I can.

Good luck in your decision.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:42 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by walls View Post
I don't understand this house thing either. I'm going to get one only when I need the space (I.E. when I start a family), because owning a house for any other reason isn't economical if you're investing your money properly.

http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-f...nership-21111/

Renting an amount of space appropriate for your needs will always be more economical than owning the same amount of space (unless you bought a shack in the ghetto). Taking the money you save by renting and investing it wisely will net you capital gains that you can actually realize through the sale of assets non-essential to your basic needs (food, water, SHELTER, etc). When you want to realize the gains on appreciation on a house (which never really happens given the cost of maintenance, interest payments, etc...save for bubble markets that are merely passing fads), you have to sell that house. Typically buying a house is a somewhat permanent (i.e. your goal should be to pay it off, own it, die in it, etc)...and if you don't sell an asset...it's not really an asset, is it? Nevermind that most people don't even own their "asset" until they're done paying off their 30-YEAR MORTGAGE!

If you want to make an investment, buy stocks and commodities. Those are appreciating assets that you can sell. Anything that you need for basic survival should never be called an asset...because you need it to survive.

Have you not been watching the stock market over the last year and this week? Your idea of guaranteed gains is just a gamble that hasn't been paying off for many folks.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:44 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by rolnslo View Post
This is the funny thing about our society. We consider renting a bad thing because you are throwing away your money every month but how come everyone considers buying a house an investment?

If anyone actually stays in the same house for 30 years and makes regular scheduled monthly payments the entire time, you actually end up paying the amount financed twice, once for principle and again in interest.



That does not include all the taxes, insurance, maintenance, HOA dues, closing costs, etc...

Now how is that, as an investment, better than renting? Let me give you $300,000 in exchange for something that is only worth $150,000.


I'm guilty of it, just like most of us here are. Just something to think about....
If you rent an apartment for 30 years at say $900 a month (which I doubt would even have a garage for your car) you will have paid $324,000 in rent. How much equity do you have after 30 years? $0.00. Congratulations you just made someone else $324,000 richer while you get nothing. Many of you are forgetting that you still have to pay for your roof over your head no matter what.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:54 AM   #64
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Very interesting read! Thanks for the link.
You should check the date on that link again. It’s from 2007 before all the world’s economies came crashing down and everyone’s investments and 401K tanked and thousands upon thousands lost their jobs. I wonder how the author feels about his investments now and if he wishes he at least owned some equity in his own home.

If you lose your job and can’t pay your mortgage or rent you can be evicted much quicker from an apartment than from a home you have bought because it takes much longer to foreclose on a home loan.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:57 AM   #65
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I wouldn't buy a house yet, but it sounds like you can afford a camaro, so why not!! Many car enthusiasts have purchased cars they maybe shouldn't have but tell that to the guy who is the original owner of a cobra or yenko camaro etc in his garage
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:12 AM   #66
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If you buy a house now, let's say it costs you $800. mo.

If you rent an apt. let's assume it costs the same. (normally the same priced apt. will be much smaller but this is a simple example)

Fast forward 20 years... Your house pmt... $800
Your rent, same apt... $1600 (maybe more maybe less)

Equity in home after 20 years on a 30 year note... $30,000 conservative guess
Equity in apt. after 20 years... 0

Many advantages to owning. Few advantages to renting.
YES YES YES!
I'm a R/E agent and even though the market is now down that will change.
More than an investment, a home is a Hedge against inflation!(as the above poster mentioned).
Don't buy a condo/townhouse, reason $ per square foot is crazy then add the H/O fees (crazier), plus as you get older you'll want more privacy (or pick up the guitar like me).
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:15 AM   #67
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I second that... JUST SAY NO to HOAs!!
I AGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREE!
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:29 PM   #68
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I second that... JUST SAY NO to HOAs!!
I agree. Unfortunately sometimes you don't have a choice -- in my area nearly all condos, townhomes and even single family homes fall under the umbrella of an HOA. If you want to buy a home, you have to pay HOA dues (unless you live out in the country). At least with a single family home the HOA is significantly less than with a townhome, but it's still a complete rip-off!
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:38 PM   #69
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have you considered leasing the vehicle, you wouldnt be paying a huge amount, and in 3 or 4 years when your reading to buy a home or whenver, you can make a decision on cost factor, if the car and house would be too much. you could give the car up then, or buy it fully with whatever the value would be at the time. they only prob is mileage, gotta keep it down.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:00 PM   #70
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If you rent an apartment for 30 years at say $900 a month (which I doubt would even have a garage for your car) you will have paid $324,000 in rent. How much equity do you have after 30 years? $0.00. Congratulations you just made someone else $324,000 richer while you get nothing. Many of you are forgetting that you still have to pay for your roof over your head no matter what.


I'm currently paying about $1400 a month in rent (only because I can't put down roots yet) and I don't have a garage, just a tiny covered spot. Even in SoCal, I could get a reasonable place for that. As it is now, when I leave, I'll have nothing to show for it.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:03 PM   #71
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have you considered leasing the vehicle, you wouldnt be paying a huge amount, and in 3 or 4 years when your reading to buy a home or whenver, you can make a decision on cost factor, if the car and house would be too much. you could give the car up then, or buy it fully with whatever the value would be at the time. they only prob is mileage, gotta keep it down.
Leasing the Camaro? Leasing is a BAD idea in todays market. Residuals SUCK, interest rates are usually to high. Don't LEASE.. you will regret it.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:03 PM   #72
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I personally agree with hawk x7. Make a nice down payment on the car. Own the car and take your time looking for a place. You can decide to buy a house and still have it take well over a year, to find exactly what you want. For all you know you could find an awesome soulmate in 3 months that already owns a house



ps) owning camaro may help find above soulmate even faster
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:38 PM   #73
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I half expect to see a "Camaro Vs. Kidney Transplant" thread coming up...
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:40 PM   #74
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I half expect to see a "Camaro Vs. Kidney Transplant" thread coming up...
we have worn out this one...................
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Old 10-03-2009, 04:01 PM   #75
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YES YES YES!
I'm a R/E agent and even though the market is now down that will change.
More than an investment, a home is a Hedge against inflation!(as the above poster mentioned).
Don't buy a condo/townhouse, reason $ per square foot is crazy then add the H/O fees (crazier), plus as you get older you'll want more privacy (or pick up the guitar like me).
Please show your facts/charts of a home purchase (all-in costs) as a hedge against inflation. Typically commodities (oil, gold, etc) are hedges against inflation.
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