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Love the Home You’re With. Was : Real Estate For Sale by Owner
Old 07-22-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
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Love the Home You’re With. Was : Real Estate For Sale by Owner

Your choice of home — and how often you choose a new one — will determine your ability to accumulate wealth. According to The Millionaire Next Door, that wealthy family has been next door for quite a while. Half of millionaires have lived in the same house for more than 20 years.

FIs how many houses did you buy in your lifetime?
What are your plans?

I live in same house (our first house) for 17 years and plan to do so for 6 more at which point we will FIRE.

Looks to me most people can not avoid wasting 6% of their money each time they buy and sell the house (Reading thread "Real Estate For Sale by Owner")


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Old 07-22-2014, 07:35 PM   #2
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This is one area that we have not been very good . Daughters keep telling us that in order to build equity we need to stay in one place for a while. A brief history:

1979 - 1983 - Various rentals in college and in New Orleans.
1983 - purchase small house in NOLA for $80K
1986 - transferred to Houston, BigOil buys house for $73K (and covers commission)
1986-87 - rent in Houston
1987-1988 - Move to Collegetown for grad school rent
1988 - buy house while in grad school for $36K
1992 - Sell house for $51K - move to Smalltown, IA buy another for $61K
1997 - Sell house for $61K - move back to Collegetown, buy house for $139K
2002 - Sell house for $150K, buy big old house that DW just happened to notice and fell in love with for $112K
2007 - move to NOVA and rent
2008 - Finally unload old house for $110K after chasing falling market for 18 months
2009 - Buy townhouse in NOVA for $ungodly sum$
2012 - Sell townhouse for same $ungodly sum$ and buy house for $less than ungodly sum$

And here is where we are going to stay!

If you are keeping score, we have lived in 10 different rentals and have "owned" 6 properties during our 35 years of marriage. We are 1/5 for making a profit.

Good thing that we have always bought inexpensive houses relative to our income (with the exception of the last townhouse which was still much less than most people with our income would have bought). So, yes we were stupid to move so often, but at least we minimized the damage.

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Old 07-22-2014, 07:55 PM   #3
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One, where I live now. Here 14+ years. Might eventually move to a condo or similar, but not soon.
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...not doing anything of true substance...
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Love the Home You’re With. Was : Real Estate For Sale by Owner
Old 07-22-2014, 08:06 PM   #4
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Love the Home You’re With. Was : Real Estate For Sale by Owner

Let's see:

1992-2002: various rentals throughout college and grad school
2002: bought a house in North Carolina for $185K
2005: sold house in North Carolina for $205K and bought a house in Alabama for $194K (moved for job)
2012: moved to California for job. Renting an apartment in California. Still own house in Alabama but will be listing for sale soon for $225K.

Don't plan on buying another home any time soon.
45 years old. Exited the job market in 2010 (age 36). Have lived solely off my investments since 2015 (age 41).
Current AA: real estate 65% / cash 35%
Current WR: < 1.5%
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by eta2020 View Post
....FIs how many houses did you buy in your lifetime?
What are your plans?...
This is our third home.

First home we owned from 1984-1986 in greater Boston area as young marrieds. The top floor was unfinished and we finished it ourselves. Those improvements, along with a growing real estate market at the time, allowed us to sell it for almost twice what we had into it.

We owned our second home for 24 years and raised our kids there. We made many improvements over the years and probably about broke even.

Our current home we have owned 9 years, but only 4 years as our main home. It was formerly our summer/vacation home and we demolished the building and rebuilt. I expect that we will be here until they put us in the ground or a nursing home but we will snowbird to somewhere warmer in the winter.
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:09 PM   #6
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After I got out of the service, I lived in my Dad's duplex. After that, I moved to my own home, where I traded equity in a business for. I have been here ever since, and it's paid off.

I actually wrote a post about the property on my blog.
FIRE no later than 7/5/2016 at 56 (done), securing '16 401K match (done), getting '15 401K match (done), LTI Bonus (done), Perf bonus (done), maxing out 401K (done), picking up 1,000 hours to get another year of pension (done), July 1st benefits (vacation day, healthcare) (done), July 4th holiday. 0 days left. (done) OFFICIALLY RETIRED 7/5/2016!!
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:09 PM   #7
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12+ years. Hope to stay at least 5-10 more. RE next year (lucky 13 years in the same abode!).
“We always may be what we might have been.” -- Adelaide Anne Procter
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:17 PM   #8
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2 houses.

1st was a condo in Chapel Hill which we lived in for 3 years while attending law school. Bought 70k, sold $95k after $5-6k improvements.

2nd home was going to be a starter home, but it's looking like a permanent home at 10.5 years in so far. 4 BR home on a 1/3 acre in the city. On a lake. Bought for $107k from the city at an auction (surplus property with some potential issues that were non-issues). Put a lot of sweat equity into the place and spent maybe $4-5k fixing it up over the years (with free/cheap labor from construction worker in-laws in exchange for legal services, appliance repair, and computer tech support). House is currently worth $140-150k 10 year later (with most of the equity gain occurring at the time of purchase).

I definitely think being content staying in once place is a key to FI. There were temptations to upgrade as our working peers did so, but we stayed put and focused on the positives of our current residence (location, neighbors, low cost, no Joneses to keep up with, etc).
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (6, 12, and 13).
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:19 PM   #9
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Been 19 years in our fourth and hopefully last home. Just like cars, buy what you want and keep it forever.
Just plodding along on Dividends/Interest, SS and a very small pension.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:21 PM   #10
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We've owned 2 homes. The first was a smallish starter house; we paid $170K for it 1996, and sold it 3 years later for $225K (we also put about $35K of upgrades into it, so after realtor fees, we basically broke even).

We bought our current place when we sold the first one, for $390K. I thought we were a little crazy to spend that much at the time, but conservatively, it would sell for $850K today. We've been here 15 years, and will probably be here another 12-15, until the kids leave the nest. At that point, we hope to downsize, and pad our ER fund with the excess.

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Old 07-22-2014, 08:25 PM   #11
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Since July 1992, we have lived in our first and only home. It was, in fact, the only house we ever looked at, and we found it completely by accident. We weren't planning to buy a house for a few years, but we knew this was the one for us when we saw it. We have refinanced 5 times to take advantage of falling rates, and have never taken a dime of equity out. The mortgage, currently at 1.99%, will be paid off in 2 years and 10 months. I expect we'll move to a continuing care community when the time comes, but I don't expect to ever buy another house.
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:30 PM   #12
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Rented throughout most of my 20's (college and post college).
Move to Bellingham in 1990, rented 2 different places. Bought house in 1991 in Bellingham for $72.5k
Took job in suburban Philly in 1993... oops. Fortunately there was an increase in the market and I had a corporate package that paid the realtors. Sold in 1993 for $80k and got to pocket the difference. In the meantime rented near new job.
Corporate package also offered closing costs on purchase in suburban Philly if w/in first year - closed on new house in Dec. 1993 for $114k.
A few years later (1995/96) moved to take a job down south - listed house. Job sucked, house wasn't selling (in part due to 'blizzard of the century'). Chucked southern job and moved back into unsold house.
In 1999 - met DH , he put his home up for rent and moved into mine. Got hitched, had baby, and shortly after that took a transfer back to my hometown of San Diego. Sold my Philly burbs house for $136k - which covered closing costs and recovered my down payment but didn't give me a windfall. DH sold his home when the lease was up on his tenants, later that year. That left us a nice chunk of money (between the two house sales) for a down payment.

Rented in San Diego for 1.5 years while deciding if we'd ever get past the sticker shock of San Diego. Deciding factor was Dad deciding to downsize and sell to us at market value - but we'd get the reduced prop-13 tax rate (saved SEVERAL thousand dollars each year.)
We sucked it up and bought the 40 year old (at the time) tract-home that I grew up in, for a fortune. We've been here 11+ years, and have no intention of every leaving. We added a granny flat for the in-laws, and now that they aren't living there, we get a very nice rental income from the detached casita. Paid off the mortgage earlier this year.

Transaction costs are only part of the picture in CA. If you're under 55, in CA, you also restart your prop-13 tax rate on the new sales value. So upgrading your housing also significantly upgrades your carrying costs. (Unless you do a generational transfer, or are over 55 and "downsize" - which is defined as buying a place for "less" than the one you sell.)
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:36 PM   #13
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Just sold house #5, married 35 years. Longest stay was house #3 for 15 years raising the children. Now off to condo living on the Florida gulf coast!
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:12 PM   #14
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1974 – get out of college, work as Engineer - buy house in Connecticut for $28,000

Within two months, get transfer to Detroit (promotion). Wife decides not to go, we split (no kids, still friends). Sell house for $29,000.

1976 – Buy house in Detroit for $33,300 – New wife pregnant.

Within 6 months, get transferred back to CT (big promotion). Sell Detroit house for $41,000.

!977 – Build nice house in Southbury, CT for $56,000. – wife has 2nd daughter.

1980 – Big Oil hires me and moves me to California. Sell CT house for $100,000. Buy Ca house for $205,000.

1985 – Move up to a new house in Ca for $229,000. Sell 1st Ca house for $219,000.

1986 – Lose job at Big Oil – use separation $$$ to buy a condo in Ca for $90,000 and rent it out. Find new job in Ca.

1989 – Wife wants “out” of Ca and leaves. Sell both Ca properties for $405,000 and $185,000 respectively. Profit pays for some of the divorce costs.

1990/91 – Start my own consulting business and I rent apartment in Texas with two teenage daughters. This was really a fun time.

1994 – I buy Texas house for $91,000 with $13,000 down and pay it off in 12 years.

($$ Put two daughters through college $$)

2013 – Sell TX home for $205,000 and buy a newer, smaller one close by for $214,000.

If I made any money, it paid for two college educations and a divorce.

But all is good now.....and that's all that counts!
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:12 PM   #15
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Rented in grad school, bought first house after grad school in 2007 (not quite peak market but almost) for $265 in greater Philly area with company paying for relocation and closing cost if buying within a year.
Stayed 5 years and did exhaustive renovations, put in lots of sweat equity and $30k.
Sold in 2012 (FSBO with MLS listing) for $312k, about $9k profit.
Relocated with new company closing costs paid for and bought a nice 100+ year old home for $282k and locked in 30 year mortgage at 3.5%. Hope to live here for a long time, but my wife wants to downsize to "small space living" which I am not on board with yet... We'll see.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:35 PM   #16
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Lifelong renter with no plans to change, moved apartments every 8 years on average.

I don't buy the premise, I think staying in a starter home long term comes from the same attitude that keeps these guys out of Jones's rearview mirror. IMO if you hold a steady job and can lock down on the standard of living you started out with as an adult, that's a pretty sure path to wealth. Habitual upgraders need a steeper wage trajectory to reach it.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:50 PM   #17
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We've bought 6 homes in 31 yrs. of marriage. Current one is in a 55+ Active Living community and we think we'll stay here many, many years -we love it, but we've said that before and turns out we only average about 5 years per house!
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:29 AM   #18
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Still in our first home after 32 years of home ownership and marriage.
We updated some features, but still like the structure and area.
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:38 AM   #19
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Bought our first home in 1986, and still there. Paid it off in 13 years, even with an initial interest rate of 10.5% before refinancing. Retired last year, and we might look to downsize or rent down the road, but more for convenience and maintenance avoidance than for any need to pull out equity.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:22 AM   #20
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I wouldn't be surprised if the average American spends $50k over their lifetime in real estate commissions. That is one year of full time work for the average American. Some of the best real estate advice I heard was "make your starter home your forever home."-Jeff Yeager

I've only bought one home, five years ago. I plan on being FIRE'd in 8 years. I'll sell the house and hit the road Perpetual Traveler style. Not sure if I will ever own real estate after that.

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