Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO
Like Nash, I'm holding on to the 3rd house I bought while in the military. I've been much luckier though, selling the first after 2.5 years for $36k more than we paid, and then buying the 2nd home in 2003. That one we lived in for about 5 years, and then rented it out for a small profit. Sold it just a few months ago for nearly $200k more than we paid. Sounds great, but the costs of buying and selling homes are quite prohibitive.
Net of expenses, I made $30,000 between the first two properties with an upfront investment of $0 via VA loan, and yet I would still do things differently given the short periods I lived in both places. The ideal situation would've been just taking the profit from the first house and renting, but I think I had a bit of real estate "irrational exuberance" and the belief that RE never loses value. Well, the second one did. Fortunately, it was a lesson learned at an early age and one that still allowed me to walk away overall wealthier than I entered.
In that regard, I was lucky in the early 2000s where I invested carelessly and lost the first $2000 I ever put in the market! Those are what I call "relatively cheap mistakes". I've had girlfriends that cost more than that!
You've done extremely well and timed things out right, as well as holding properties longer. That's the key, like with any investment, so long as your time horizon is long enough and the value is right, buying can be the right thing to do. In OP's case, I don't think the timeline is long enough to warrant a purchase.