Chapter 10

Investing in a Home

In This Chapter

arrow Using homeownership to meet financial goals

arrow Deciding whether to rent or buy

arrow Determining how much you can afford

arrow Finding the best properties to purchase

For most people, buying a home in which to live is their first, best, and only real estate investment. Homes may require a lot of financial feeding, but over the course of your life, owning a home (instead of renting) can make and save you money. Although the pile of mortgage debt seems daunting in the years just after your purchase, someday your home’s equity (the market value of the home minus the outstanding mortgage debt) may be among your biggest assets.

And, yes, real estate is still a good investment despite its declines in the late 2000s in many areas. Like stocks, real estate does well over the long term but doesn’t go continuously higher (see my website at for up-to-date, long-term graphs of housing prices in different parts of the U.S.). Smart investors take advantage of down periods; they consider these periods to be times to buy at lower prices just like ...

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