Here’s my answer to that question just asked on Quora
Owning your house is the biggest and best benefit. It means you can paint the bathroom whatever color you want, remodel the kitchen, plant what you want in the yard, and on and on…all for your personal comfort and enjoyment.
If you have a mortgage, the interest you are paying is tax deductible (and for about the first 15 years of a typical 30-year mortgage your payment is more than half interest if you don’t pay taxes and insurance from the same payment. And the property taxes are probably deductible whether you paid with your mortgage payment or separately. No part of rent payments are deductible.
Besides that, owning a home has been a good investment over a long period of time. Yes, there are times when the value of a home may go down, but you only “lose money” if you see during one of those times. In 1950 the median (half were more, half were less) home price in the U.S. was $7,354. By 2000 it was $119,600 and today is $236,400. But be careful here, that 1950 house was less than 1,000 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath. Today it’s just short of 2,500 square feet and the majority have at least four bedrooms and three baths.
Nevertheless, buying a home (and living in it) has almost always been a good investment. One way to lose money on a house is to sell it one or two years after you buy it. If you’re likely to live there for at least two years, my advice is rent.
Here’s answer I wrote recently to that question on Quora:
I’d guess flipping shows the greatest short-term potential, but as with most investments return is related to risk, and there is certainly risk in flipping. For example, what if in the remodel process you discover something not in your original estimate? What if the market turns between the time you buy and finish the remodel? What if the adjacent property is bought for something undesirable – pig farm, shopping center, fast-food restaurant, 10-story condo or apartment
Buying something to rent is lower risk but you need to be in it for the long haul. Investors I’ve worked with look at it for a minimum five year project and, depending on cash flow and their financial situation probably longer. The biggest single advantage to buying investment property is in the depreciation, but that’s not of as much value if you don’t have other income on which it can offset your tax bill. Cash flow depends as lot on how tight the rental market is. Portland right now is super-tight, but the City of Portland also prevents no-cause evictions and/or rent increases of more than 10%/yr without paying relocation costs to the tenant which range from $2900 (1-BR or SRO) to $4500 (3-BR or more). This does not apply to Portland area properties outside the Portland city limits
If you’d like the same patient, professional help I’ve given other real estate investors, please contact me.
With mortgages, there is no “one-size fits all”. Mortgages (and the rates) vary according to your personal situation: income, debts, down payment, credit score and so many more items. Your best source for mortgage information is a local, experienced, mortgage broker. If you don’t know one, contact me for an introduction to my preferred lender.
Fannie Mae, which indirectly finances the fast majority of mortgages in the US, recently did a study on the most influential sources of mortgage information. Here’s what they found
This shows we have a lot of smart people in this country. Almost one third relied on a mortgage lender. Slightly fewer named their Realtor. Before I get too flattered with that, a Realtor is not the best source of mortgage information. If you ask me about mortgages I’ll tell you exactly that and introduce you to my preferred lender, who is a mortgage broker. Next most often used, family and friends, may be a good source if they’ve recently financed a home purchase (but the best mortgage for you is almost certainly not the same as the mortgage your family or friend got). The best source remains a mortgage broker. The reason is that mortgages are so varied and complex (and changing) today that you have to be in the business every day to have good, up to date, knowledge of what’s available that best matches for a particular borrower. A mortgage broker has access to dozens of mortgage sources and probably works with 8-10 on a daily basis. They are the best place to find the best mortgage for you.
We continue to buy ever larger homes, now average 2700 SqFt (up 1,000 from 1973). 41% of renters wish they’d bought. Full details here.
I just learned of a new down payment match offer from Guild Mortgage, the largest local mortgage lender in the NW. It’s really simple: you put up 1% of the purchase price of a home and Guild makes a grant of 2% so you qualify for a conventional 3% down payment mortgage. Yes, you just tripled your money. You can buy a $350,000 home with only $3,500 of your money down (plus closing costs). You could buy a nice $100,000 condo with $1,000 down. There’s even more good news in the fine print in the detail flyer my preferred lender, Kelly Parkman at Guild, gave me today
And here’s a short video of Kelly himself explaining it. We’ve worked together for five years and I’ve never seen him so excited.
Contact Kelly at 503/528-9800 or KParkman@GuildMortgage.net or contact me and I’ll help, too
"That house down the street has 3-foot tall weeds all over the front yard"
"That car has been parked there for weeks"
"The business on the corner is so noisy I can't sleep"
"The neighbor's dog barks all day and night"
"I don't think that apartment being built over their garage complies with code"
In the City of Portland, there is a place to file a complaint for all these issues and more.
Click Here for a list of the right phone numbers for each of these issues, and many others. You can also file a complaint on line for almost all.
Personally, I've only filed one complaint like these. It was for a home under construction that had stopped the building process and let the weeds get 3-4 feet high. I filed an on line report and in two weeks they had been mowed.
Beyond removing an irritation to living, some of these things actually affect the value of all the homes in your neighborhood. So among other things, you're protecting your home's value when you file a legitimate complaint.
Nevermind all the pure joy of living in your own home, where you can decide what color to paint the kids' rooms and what to plant in the yard and hang on the walls in the kitchen and on and on… Harvard researchers point out five purely FINANCIAL REASONS to own a home.
If that sounds strange coming from someone whose favorite activity is working with people who want to buy or sell a home, let me explain.
What I will do is help you find the right home for you. When you see it, you'll know it's the one. No "strong arm" needed from me. I write it because
If this seems like a strange post from a Realtor, it's because I think some people hesitate to ask a Realtor a question or talk about their dreams and desires for a home because they fear being pushed into buying something that's actually not the right home for them, or at the right time.
My clients will tell you what they most appreciate is my patience and my professionalism. I love to answer real estate questions, even if you're not ready to buy or sell right now…or ever ! What's your question? Call or text me at 503-505-9722, or Tweet @DaveSuttonHomes
This chart is the simplest answer to both questions.
The longer you rent, the higher the cost, and while you have paid for a place to live, you have nothing to show for it but rent receipts.
On the other side, buying a property to rent has all the advantages the renting does not. In either case, a fixed rate mortgage would hold your costs level (OK taxes might go up, but that's a minor part of the equation), while your rental income increases.
And in both cases, there are significant tax advantages. For Home Owners, mortgage interest is tax deductible. For Investors, you also get depreciation and other deductions. Don't believe me? I can recommend a good Portland CPA.