As we approach Memorial Day, give thanks for our soldiers who gave and are giving sacrificially for our freedom.
One of the freedoms we enjoy is the freedom to own a house. The greatest asset of most people is the roof over their heads. Your house may be worth more than all of your cash, savings accounts and in some cases retirement funds combined.
If your house is paid for then congratulations to you. You have achieved a beautiful piece of the American dream. When I was 26 years old, I bought a house on a land contract. The house cost $80,000. Interest rates were 17 percent back then and a man sold it to me for no money down and 10 percent interest rate. The rate then was good and it was good for him. He was using the sale to fund his retirement for 20 years at about $800 per month. It was great for me because I didn’t have a nickel to put down on the house. If you can buy a house this way then more power to you and the seller. Talk to an attorney and make sure the title is clear and the contract is solid before you enter into the agreement. A couple of years later I moved and sold the house and cleared $10,000. It worked out okay for me. The man got his balance owed plus interest.
You may not find a land contract deal and will have to go through a bank or other lender. The idea of entering into a 15-, 20- or 30-year loan agreement is overwhelming. If you can handle a 15-year loan you will save tens of thousands of dollars. When you purchase a house on a 30-year loan the cost of the house depending on interest rates will almost double.
When you a pay a few years on your house you develop equity. You could borrow against the house in case of an emergency. Once you have paid for your house it’s yours and you have a place to live. In your golden years if you decide you don’t want the hassle of taking care of property you can sell it and utilize the cash to rent or buy something more economical. However, carefully assess if you really want to give up your space and be subjected to a land lord or rental association. You’ll always be more independent in your own place if you can maintain what you have.
There are tax benefits to buying and owning property that you won’t get when renting.
You will also come out better financially if you are planning on living at least five years in your house.
A man or woman’s house is his or her castle. Invest in a place to live if and when you can and give thanks for a country where we have the freedom to build financial security.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books including Uncommon Sense. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.