Enjoy Your Forever Home For Now, It Will Likely Change

In 2020, we bought a forever home. We found a relatively good deal as panic set in during the first month of lockdown. We decided that if we are going to be cooped up for an unknown period of time, we might as well live in a more comfortable space.

The forever home is about 35% larger than our previous home. It has a nicer layout for two children and a guest. Working from home in this forever home is also great because there are multiple levels for sound proofing. There should be no problem living in our current home until our kids become adults.

However, based on my track record of buying properties since 2003, I have my doubts we'll be living in this home for the rest of our lives. I'm pretty sure that within ten years, I'll be looking for a new forever home!

In a strong real estate market where you might be constantly getting outbid, buying one and done has its benefits. If you're debating about whether you should buy a forever home or whether to upgrade to a forever home, this post is for you.

Your Forever Home Will Likely Be Temporary

The one constant in life is that it's always changing. Just when you think you've got a great groove going, something tends to come up.

In 2004, I thought I had found a forever home. It was a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home across 2,300 sqft. It took all the money I had to buy it. I thought that over the next 10 years, we might start a family and grow into the home.

But our baby never came. So in 2014, we moved to a smaller home in a quiet part of San Francisco and rented out our larger home. The new house cost about 60% less than our budget based on my 30/30/3 home buying rule. It was a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with an office facing the ocean.

Today, my wife and I are likely done with having kids. The biological chances of having a baby are minuscule once you hit your 40s. Further, we don't have the same amounts of energy as we once did. However, if we are somehow blessed with a third child, we will likely have to hunt for a larger home and a car with third-row seating.

If we end up keeping our home, we may downsize once our daughter goes to college in 2038.

If you're under 40, I say the chances of you buying your forever home is less than 25%. It's only after you buy a home after age 45 do I think you have a greater than 50% chance of never moving again.

Your Wealth Will Change Your Desires

Part of the reason why I think there's less than a 50% chance of buying a forever home before 50 is due to our changing desires. Ideally, all of us will spend to where our income and wealth will go. By doing so, we are able to utilize our money to live our best lives all the time.

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to accurately forecast our future net worth. As a result, we tend to hoard our wealth for many years long after it's more than safe to spend more. After all, corrections happen all the time. It's generally better to be more conservative with our spending than too aggressive.

However, in 10 years, I'm certain the vast majority of us will be much wealthier. If you currently own a home with a mortgage, the cost of ownership will feel so little in 10 years thanks to inflation as well. Therefore, even if you think you own your forever home now, your desires will likely change a decade from now.

Upgrading homes is like climbing the career corporate ladder. Until you get the corner office or become CEO, you might forever long for more. Just beware there are some risks in upgrading homes that you might not think about. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money on a new home and not like it.

Your Property Declines As A Percentage Of Net Worth

When I first bought my 2-bedroom vacation property, the total purchase price made up around 35% of my net worth. At age 30, I naively thought this property would satisfy my desires for the rest of my life. At the time, I also thought my income and net worth would continue to rapidly grow. Too bad the financial crisis happened soon after.

However, after more than 14 years of ownership, the purchase price now makes up less than 3% of our net worth. Yet, we still vacation there. The reality is, I would prefer if we owned a place that was twice as big given our household is twice as big.

If so, we could stay at a vacation property closer to the size of our primary residence rather than 60% smaller. One of the goals of going on vacation is to live it up, not down.

I'm pretty certain that in 10 years I'm going to long for an even nicer home. The reason is not because our current home isn't good enough. The reason is there's a decent chance my net worth will increase and maybe even double in 10 years, assuming a 7.2% annual growth rate.

Despite being relatively frugal, it's a little hard to imagine not wanting to inflate our lifestyles a little further. Money should be spent on a better life, otherwise, there is no point working so hard after you have enough to survive.

I've already dreamt about living in a beachfront home. I thought this dream would only grow stronger over time. But, a recent trip back to Hawaii showed me that perhaps owning a beachfront property is a bad idea.

Best Way To Buy A Forever Home

With the default assumption your forever home will likely be temporary, let me propose the best way to buy your forever home in a financially responsible way.

Some buyers use the excuse of buying a forever home to pay more than they should. They tell themselves and others that because they plan to live in the home for decades, stretching to overpay is fine.

The situation is akin to someone justifying buying a fancier car because he plans to own it for 200,000+ miles. But the reality is, this seldom ever happens.

I think the best way to buy a forever home is to buy the nicest home you can afford up to 5X your household income. The common multiple used to be 3X. But if you can get a mortgage rate of 5% or below, stretching to buy a forever home up to 5X is feasible because your income should continue to grow over time.

Make no mistake about it. Buying a home up to 5X your household income is aggressive. You don't have to buy your forever home either. But if you want to, we are talking about the highest household income multiple possible that is still financially responsible. After all, it's reasonable to assume our net worths will generally go up over time.

After you've purchased your forever home, you should aim to live in it for longer than the median homeownership duration of ~9 years pre-pandemic and ~11 years post pandemic. The longer you can live in your forever home, the greater the chance you will build more equity and make more money off your home.

Average U.S. homeownership tenure in years

Why Own A Forever Home For At Least 10 Years?

10 years is a good enough time to:

  • Enjoy your forever home and get the most out of your initial down payment. The first two-to-three years will be filled with excitement. The next five years will be getting really comfortable with your home and the neighborhood. The next two or more years may be about entrenching yourself in your community.
  • Accumulate a significant amount of additional capital. Perhaps after paying 5X your household income, you are left with a small financial buffer. You want to rebuild your cash hoard to gain back some financial peace of mind. After 10 years, you've now got a big financial buffer to afford a new forever home if you want one.
  • Ride out downturns just in case you buy your forever home at the top of the market. Although a downturn shouldn't hurt you if you planned to live in your new house forever, a downturn may still negatively affect your mental health. But after 10 years, chances are high your forever home's price has likely recovered or even increased in value.

After 10 years of ownership, only then can you properly make the decision as to whether your home is truly the one. If it is, congratulations! Having to find a new home and move can be a real PITA. But if you create enough wealth during this time period, you might as well keep living your best life.

Own your forever home for at least 10 years

Plans For Our Forever Home

Given we purchased our forever home in 2020, we will ideally try and live in it until 2030 before making a decision. The biggest drawback of owning the home for so long is that it may affect our ability to relocate to Hawaii. My parents are in their mid-70s, and I would like to spend as much time with them as possible now.

If we are able to build enough wealth, we might be able to buy a new forever home in Honolulu before 2030 and rent out our current home. And if we build an enormous amount of wealth, we can do what foreign money launderers do in Canada and just keep their homes empty. Just kidding. That would be too wasteful!

Bought A New Forever Home In 4Q 2023!

After owning a forever home we bought in mid-2020, we ended up buying another forever home in 4Q 2023!

An amazing property we saw came on the market in May 2022, just as the Fed started its 11-rate-hike cycle. I was willing to borrow millions of dollars from my friend to buy the home thanks to intense real estate FOMO. But in the end, I decided to hold off as I just couldn't comfortably afford it.

13 months later, the home was quietly shopped around. After three months of discussion and 75 days in escrow, we finally locked it down! We truly found our forever home as it's 50% larger with a large triple standard lot. I feel truly blessed the stock market rebounded and we were able to pay for the home with cash.

The best time to own the nicest home you can afford is when your kids are at home. This way, you spread the cost and the joy out to more people.

Best Way To Buy Property

My favorite way to buy real estate is to buy a great property, live in it for several years, and rent it out. In a normal lifespan, going through this process three times to build wealth and passive income is feasible. When you buy property you enjoy living in, chances are high the person renting it will enjoy it too. Same for a potential future buyer.

Selling a property creates economic loss through commissions, transfer taxes, and preparation costs. Therefore, owning a home for as long as possible is recommended. And if you get really wealthy, there's no reason why you can't buy and own multiple forever homes to live in throughout the year.

Eventually, these forever homes can be passed down to your children. Let's hope they can take full advantage of the stepped-up basis when the time comes. As your children build their own wealth, they can eventually buy their own forever homes as well.

Permanently Lower Home Inventory

Check out this latest existing home inventory for sale chart. I don't think we'll ever return to the historical average of 2.35M homes for sale. Yes, inventory is going up with the rise in interest rates. But I believe home inventory will stay below trend for the long term.

Low home inventory makes buying a forever home and getting a good deal hard

As I look to the future, it seems likely more households will permanently buy and keep more than one property. Owning real estate has become a normalized way to build a retirement income portfolio.

Further, as more people keep their forever homes for longer, the average duration of homeownership will increase. As a result, there may be a permanent decline in inventory. And lower inventory leads to higher prices.

Sure, there's a chance inventory ticks up in the future as some retirees look to downsize. But with the potential for a capital gains tax hike, the rational financial move is to just keep the asset and borrow from it if necessary.

If you find your forever home, chances are high that other people will have found it as well. The key is to not overpay. But if you do, know that when you turn around and sell in the future, chances are high new buyers will overpay as well.

Invest In Real Estate To Build More Wealth

As you build up capital to buy your forever home, it's a good idea to gain exposure to the real estate market so you don't get left behind. As the real estate market rises, so do your real estate investments and vice versa.

The various ways to gain exposure to real estate include buying a public REIT, a real estate ETF, a home-building stock, or a name like Home Depot. Another less volatile way to invest is through real estate crowdfunding. Here are my favorite two platforms.

Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eREITs. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and manages over $3.3 billion for 500,000+ investors. For most people, investing in a diversified eREIT is the easiest way to gain exposure.

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations and higher rental yields. Growth is potentially higher as well due to strong demographic trends. If you have a lot more capital, you can build you own diversified real estate portfolio. 

Personally, I've invested $954,000 in private real estate to diversify my portfolio and earn more passive income. I strongly believe in the long-term demographic shift towards lower-cost areas of the country.

private real estate investment dashboard

Readers, do you live in your forever home? Have you left your forever home and moved to an even nicer home? What do you think is the minimum amount of time and the maximum amount you should spend on a forever home?

51 thoughts on “Enjoy Your Forever Home For Now, It Will Likely Change”

  1. Hi, we are in our early sixties and want to sell our home in the suburbs for a larger space surrounded by nature and serenity. We own our home and have a mortgage on our investment property that is occupied by tenants. Moving to a more quiet area with more space will cost us more than our sales procceeds from our suburban home. We have some savings, although I don’t think it would be wise to spend all of it towards a new home. Selling the investment property as well would help to move on financially, although using those procceeds as well, will leave us with no savings. I am reconsidering buying a lovely finished off home and to buy something less expensive so we can keep our savings for retirement. Also weighing up whether it is wise to sell the investment property to receive more spending money towards our new home, or to keep it and continue to pay down the mortgage on it?

  2. From a financial viewpoint I disagree Sam.
    I’ve been in 5 long term rentals and 3 purchased homes. The first purchased home was a starter home, the second felt like a forever home due to excellent prime location but it wasn’t quite right in build quality or design. Our current home is in same location but a new build specified to be flexible in use for the next 20-30 yrs. it had to accomodate two teen adults and elderly parents and is wheelchair friendly etc. Here in Australia it’s very costly to buy and sell homes due to taxes, agent fees, compliance and stamp duties. I would much rather spend that money on round the world trips while family is still healthy or to help the kids get the best education possible. I would consider a move to a “better” home as a utter failure on my part in poor consideration and decision making. I can’t predict what life will bring over the next couple of decades but I’ve markedly reduced my risk in not planning sufficiently to handle whatever may come in terms of housing. If the process is free or insignificant to move houses perhaps I would give lesser thought to the choice of home as a mistake in choice is less devastating in costs.

  3. First off Sam thank you for your excellent articles and great site. Looking for a little advice here. My wife and I are both 46 and have been living in our starter home for the last 20 years. It’s been paid off for about five years which has allowed us to save a lot of money and invest it in the market. Currently we have no debt and have a net worth of $2.7 million. Our house is worth about 575,000.
    We like our neighborhood but with two daughters that are about reaching teenage years we are feeling the house is a little small and that maybe we should splurge and buy a little bit nicer house.
    We’re just not sure if we want to get another mortgage which we can easily afford as our combined income is about $270,000.
    Not sure if we should buy the slightly bigger house that would cost us about $825,000 or have no debt and continue to pour money into the stock market.
    If we did sell I noticed you recommended renting out your house. How did the finances work out with that as you would lose your $500,000 capital gains deduction from selling your primary house. We did not make more sense just to sell the house so you could not have to pay taxes on the house appreciation?
    Once again thanks for all your hard work you’ve been an inspiration to our family.

  4. I know I’m late on the comments for this one, and aside from the financial content being great, I wanted to call out this comment as a dad of a 3rd kid in my late-30s. Thanks for phrasing it this way.

    “However, if we are somehow blessed with a third child, we will likely have to hunt for a larger home and a car with third-row seating.”

    I was not expecting to have a 3rd kid, but cannot imagine being happy without him. A blessing indeed. (Not so much I am hoping to have a 4th, but if we do, it will be just as big of a blessing as the other 3)

    In addition to all of your great financial advice/content, thanks above all for being a good dad. I think that is probably what I respect the most about you.

    1. I appreciate your support and kind words! As you know, being a father is the greatest thing ever, but it also takes so much work. We’re also know that when our children grow up, we will look back and regret all the time we spent with them!

  5. Cool article, Sam. I like your heuristics…5x income and 10 years of living in it.

    I’ve got some hindsight bias hurting my brain…I purchased my “starter home” in 2018 instead of a “forever home”

    And since then, the market has completely run away from me. Any growth (equity + appreciation) I’m building in this starter home is being wiped out by the appreciation in the more valuable forever home’s price.

    Live and learn :) But I’m not sure I’d do it differently if I had to do it again

    1. But surely your starter home has appreciated in value as well, so making up the difference to buy the next nicer home won’t be as hard as those who’ve been renting since your purchase.

      But since you just bought your home, enjoy it for years more to come!

  6. Alex Hamilton

    “I don’t think we’ll ever return to the historical average of 2.35M homes for sale.”

    Might I inquire your reasonings as to why?

  7. Our home will be paid off in <5 years in Cali. I don’t ever see us getting out of the market in Cali completely for fear that we wouldn’t be able to return (priced out). I also don’t think that I could ever rent and have other people living in one of my homes that I still want to spend time in. I’m kind of a Germophobe and I know nobody would take care of the home like I would. Probably why I have also never purchased a used home. I can do hotels by not thinking about how gross it actually is to share a bedroom with thousands of strangers. That leaves us with a dilemma if we want to Geoarbitrage by taking our inflated Cali/earned pensions elsewhere in retirement. The idea of leaving an 800K home empty 49% of the time seems suboptimal. However, the idea of saving on living costs with a primary residence elsewhere, while still having the luxury of Cali home when the other places weather inevitably gets horrible, seems totally optimal. What to do??

  8. Opposite experience here. We purchased a “5-6 year plan” home in 2015 after a disastrous new home buying experience (which was our supposed forever home) and the subsequent sale of said new home. Since our current home is a small rancher on a decent sized flat lot near many conveniences, we are now viewing this “temporary” home as a probable forever home as we could easily age in to it. We are also sure we can have it paid off in 4 more years, well before we plan to retire. However, if we do change our minds and move, we will definitely keep this as rental property.

  9. When we first were married, stayed in our 1st “starter” home 17 years. We paid it off after 12. With 2 almost teenage kids, needed some more room. Upsized and built current home in 2005 on a nice estate sized lot over an acre which backs up to a 10 acre pasture of horses. We paid this home off after 9 years. Kids are grown and on their own. We have thought about downsizing, but not sure what else we would really want or need or where we would go as we would likely stay in close proximity to my wife’s aging parents as she is an only child and my parents passed quite some time ago.

    Pricing some of the smaller homes costs are as high as what we currently own. We also enjoy updating our house both inside and out and do most of the work ourselves as we are pretty handy and actually work well together as well as having a lot of friends and family in the trades so that helps by staying close too.

    We have no payment … although real estate taxes and insurance keep going up. Although my daughter and her husband have their own starter home now as they did get a great buy 5 years ago … my son on the other hand, likely will need some help buying a home if the market continues the way it is … starter homes are non-existent…so that likely will be where we come in with any additional real estate investing or else I may have to renovate my downstairs as a multi-generational suite :-)

  10. What a timely article. We bought a house 2 years ago that we absolutely love. Had planned to stay here 5-10 years. Just found out that there are plans to demolish a house across the street and build an apartment building. That’ll mean about 2 years worth of construction noise/dust/hassle. We are now seriously considering selling and moving before all that starts.

    1. I personally would have to sell, that is a huge change! Best of luck in your decision. The market being rough right now is not going to make the decision any easier. However, this apartment complex seems like it could hurt your current home’s value, and most importantly, hurt your quality of life while at your home.

  11. Kristy Clark

    We bought our “forever” home 6 years ago, when I was 36 years old. We actually downsized despite having two kids and moved within walking distance to the beach. The home was not as nice as our previous home, but the location is much better! We recently refinanced into a 15 year mortgage and all of my spreadsheets and calculations indicate I should be able to retire once the mortgage is paid off. Time will tell though!

  12. We bought our forever home in our early twenties. We are still in it 41 years later. We added on and remodeled several times as we raised three kids and successfully launched them into adulthood. We paid about one years income when we bought it and now it’s appreciated value is about 3% of our net worth, a trivial amount. We paid it off decades ago. It’s nice to have never had to pack up and move, ever. But few people manage to have a great career without ever changing jobs, like I did. Even among other boomers it is pretty rare and for subsequent generations it is nonexistent.

      1. We did live it up, it’s just the things we love, tennis, fishing, running, hiking, cooking and car road trips aren’t that expensive. Plus quite a few trips to other countries. And our house is large with four bedrooms and four bathrooms and very nice, with every convenience. Plus there are 800 acres of wooded wetlands around us. It’s been a lot of fun living and raising kids in a rural environment less than five minutes from a small city.

        1. Cool. It is a blessing to have inexpensive tastes and hobbies.

          We’re pretty similar. It’s just that housing costs on Honolulu and SF are higher than the average place. Other than housing, all other wants are reasonable affordable.

  13. Need some advice here. We have a modest Bay Area rancher that we thought was our forever home (500k taxable value, 1.2m estimated sales price) and two condos (estimated sales price 150k each, 20k net income) in the Sacramento Area. We don’t have any mortgages. We’re thinking about moving to the Sacramento area (or maybe SoCal) for various reasons (warmer weather, bigger house, better schools, etc). If we sold our primary residence…

    A) Downsize to a condo (300k), pocket the difference and/or invest in more rentals. Pay lower property taxes on our primary residence.
    B) Get a modest home (500k-600k) that is still better than our current one, pocket the difference and/or invest in more rentals. Pay equivalent property taxes on our primary residence.
    C) Get a much better home (800k-1.2m). Pay higher property taxes but chill in the pool.
    D) ???

    Our current household income hovers just under 200k. As taxes seem to be going up, I honestly don’t have any ambition to work more. In fact, I’d like to work less and have more time for personal projects, but the family health insurance keeps me tethered to some degree.

  14. At 50, and now looking once again for my “forever home,” for retirement, I wholeheartedly agree with not thinking beyond life chapters of 7-10 years.

    Two things worth pointing out:

    1) In CA, there is a unique benefit of locking in Prop 13 base year tax. As a Manhattan co-op owner looking to divest because of rising maintenance and property taxes year after year, CA is suddenly looking appealing. Moving frequently in CA defeats this purpose: when property values increase dramatically, so does your new property tax basis. Locking in property tax bills from 10, 20+ years ago is such an advantage. I’m envious and looking for ways to take over a jointly inherited property’s basis to buy and transfer under the newly passed Prop 19. Example: a $2M property with taxes at $3500 a year, gets exchanged for a new $2M property. Market rate tax of new property would have been approx 25K but I keep the old basis of $3500. An additional $21K would require an additional $525K of investible assets at 4% safe withdrawal rate…

    2) When the musical chairs of life stops and you find yourself in retirement or between jobs, not having your forever home becomes a challenge unless you have all cash or 2 years of schedule C (net is always lower) and haven’t used up your LTV with other properties. We have a decent net worth and healthy leverage, but now that we are accidentally retired and don’t have a W-2, may be forced into one last W-2 job to finance the forever home. You can be comfortably FIRE’d but the banks won’t care.

    1. I’m in a similar situation in FL. I bought a decent 3/2 single-family foreclosure at rock bottom price in 2010; so that set the taxable base very low.

      In 2015, I bought, what I hoped to be my future waterfront retirement condo, also at a very good price, and I’ve kept it fully rented. But, w/o the FL “homestead expemption” (limits the increase to the assessed value to 3% per year), I’ve been facing a 10% increase on property taxes very year. Property taxes are going to force me to sell the unit before I get to retire.

  15. I think people will continue to buy more properties too. I am very wary of people saying the words “forever”, “never”, and “always”. From people I observed say those words, it never turned out to be true.

    It always seems to be a forever home until something else better comes along, ha.

  16. Your right that these days it’s unlikely to have a “forever” home. Even our current home which is awesome has some flaws. We’ve lived in it for four years and would love to be here until our kids go to college, but if I can sensibly upgrade to a larger lot with an extra garage in our neighborhood in 5-6 years it might make sense.

    But I love your philosophy for renting out your previous residence. If I pay down the house entirely before we sell, we could easily use the rent to cover our next mortgage. That is certainly my one regret is we sold our last home and that could have at a bare minimum been giving us an extra $1k of cash flow per month.

  17. Debra Damari

    We live in a house in a nice neighborhood, sized for a family, but chose to not have children. We have completely renovated the home to our modern aesthetics as we are professional builders. I only see us selling if California continues to raise our taxes to a point where it doesn’t make financial sense to stay in this state, and if the crime continues to grow. We worked hard to pay off the mortgage ASAP so with our fantastic neighbors we think we will remain here. I think buy in a location you like and don’t buy at market or above the market and you will always have the freedom to easily move with a profit.

  18. I can totally relate to this sentiment. My previous two homes were both “forever homes.” The total time spent living in them? Less than 3 years each. Over time, the little things that bothered me initially grew to bother me A LOT. Luckily, we kept under the 3x income cap so could easily transition.

    I think there’s just too much pressure in “forever.” Life circumstances, a desire for new locations, or work can easily force you to move sooner than you expected.

    This experience and mindset is why we approached our most recent home purchase and move across the country as a 5 – 10 year adventure, rather than a permanent move to our next “forever home.” It also gave us the courage to grab a great deal on a complete fixer-upper and ability to laugh off any mistakes we make along the way. All learning for the next home :-)

      1. Mrs. @ RichFrugalLife

        All the things that caused hesitation during house hunting, but that I somehow talked myself into enough to purchase LOL. For example, the backyard in our last house was super short (at least lined with privacy bushes) with the lot behind us having a huge backyard. Despite having a great park across the street, it annoyed me every time I was in the backyard, and wasn’t something that could be changed. We moved for work, but I think it always would have bothered me if we had stayed. Just a reminder to always trust your gut.

  19. Bought our forever home in October 2020. Traded up from our previous home, to a .7 acre lot, pool, 6300 sf. with a movie theatre in basement. Perfect for the many hours my wife and I, and 3 teenage daughters, were stuck at home.

    We utilized the Financial Samurai real estate love letter, 30/30/3 concept and just took the jump.

    Given our 30 year fixed rate was locked at 2.5%. One major selling point for me was, the home is older (built in 1996) and all of the landscape is in and mature. It’s also not accessible to through-traffic and so it is completely peaceful and quiet. Most nights, there is nothing on my ring doorbell camera from 9pm until 6:30am.

    While there are increased costs with a larger home and lot (“had” to buy a John Deere riding mower) the trade offs have completely outweighed the costs. The home has even shown a 6% value appreciation in the 6 months we’ve owned it. It’s our “forever” home for now.

      1. We are in Colorado. Crazy home appreciation and low property taxes… for now. Reading comments about people escaping high property tax states. That’s great, just don’t vote for that when you land in your new location if that is a driving reason you’ve left your previous locale.

    1. Bought first house in Indiana in 1988 for $73,000. Sold it in 1992-added a 2 1/2 car garage-for $118,000. Bought second house-still in Indiana-for $160,000. Sold it for $242,000 in 2005. Bought third house-Indiana again-for $310,000. Selling this house this year for?-Zillow says $427,000. Building 4th house in Arizona for about $600,000.

        1. Never wanted to be a landlord. I have a co-worker who is, and he’s had nothing but headaches. I realize it CAN be very profitable, but, here in the Indiana suburbs, renting doesn’t seem to be a attractive opportunity.

  20. So many issues with a buying a home a few years after we retire (which is also in a few years).

    We own our home and it will sell easily in one of the country’s most expensive markets (even though it has way too many stairs). Then we want a warmer climate, beneficial taxes, access to a major airport less than an hour away, good hospitals, and so on, all well east of the Mississippi. Mountains and lakes, not beaches. No stairs other than the walkout basement and maybe, maybe, some upstairs guest rooms. Low maintenance. The wife doesn’t want a big place, I do, but I’m a realist. It’s not about the money, so I’ve got her sold on fewer rooms, but large ones with high ceilings, superior craftsmanship and enormous amounts of storage. Maybe even a place for an elevator someday. We do not want a McMansion, even if those aren’t about to start being a glut on the market.

    Preferably, I would have it the middle of 40+ wooded acres but I recognize we will be getting older and she might prefer a neighborhood for older folks with an active clubhouse and such. In that case, house had better be on a lake is all I’m saying (or have an exceptional view–unlikely, I don’t want to drive up and down a mountain all the time).

    Still, I agree, it’s hard to see that we would be able to live there for much more than 10-15 years, barring some pretty incredible medical science … the possibility of which can no longer be entirely dismissed. How much leeway can we give ourselves once we get to, say, our eighties? Our parents still get around well and I know we are way more active than they were at our current ages.

    Then we will prob want a vacation place near all the grandkids . . .

    1. Dilemmas! As we get older, we should probably not be in the middle of the woods miles away from good healthcare facilities no? The social connection and good healthcare have to be two musts as we age.

      1. Too true. It also occurs to me you might want to look into the emerging McMansion glut and talk to it, as it relates somewhat to this article.

        Here is a link to a decent jumping off point on the subject. You can remove the link before you post this if you like, or even not post any of it, of course. Just wanted to bring it to your attention.


      2. Agreed, our current home is almost walking distance from a hospital, just outside of our small neighborhood. It does offer a sense of security. For reference, we are in our early 50’s. Although living in the middle of the woods on a lake, ah, that would be the life!

  21. Ann Adams-Smith

    The problem with keeping a house for several years is they become money pits. We’ve done better with having newer houses with new appliances and flooring so that we’re not fixing and replacing often. The same with vehicles.

  22. What you said about “Some buyers use the excuse of buying a forever home to pay more than they should. They tell themselves and others that because they plan to live in the home for decades, stretching to overpay is fine” is so true. My sister did exactly that and she admitted it too. She’d lost out on multiple bids and got so fed up she overpaid for her current home. She plans to be there forever and I hope that’s the case too. She’s had to move way too often and I’m sure she wants to stay put.

    But it’s so true that life is always changing and we just don’t ever know for sure what our futures will be like. I used to really fight that concept, but once I came to peace that things will always be changing and we just have to learn to adapt and grow, I felt more at ease.

    I don’t like moving and hope I don’t have to move for a while, but if I do I know it’ll be for the best. And i’ll make the most of it. Moving is also a great motivator to declutter haha. Now if only all the local Goodwills will start taking donations again maybe I can clear up some more closet space. :)

    1. I’m sure your sister is home as appreciate it tremendously in value since she bought it several years ago! Raleigh is a hot hit market.

      Moving really is great for decluttering. Speaking of which, I should throw out or donate my old clothes already.

    2. Alex Hamilton

      I think a lot of folks are overpaying in this market based on emotions. Just wait till the tax bills come next year.

  23. Our home today is likely our forever home, or at least our really-long-time home. We’ve been here for 7 years already and have lots of friends and family very close by with kids of similar age. Barring something major and unforeseen, I’d expect we’ll be here until at least the last one goes to and maybe finishes college. After that, we’ll see where our adult kids settle and maybe move at that time to be closer to them and / or a state with lower cost of living.

  24. I used to work under this assumption that it was possible to buy a forever home once and live in it forever. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the idea that anyone can predict their life 5 or 10 years from now, let alone a lifetime from now, is nearly impossible.

    I look at houses that I used to think were amazing back when I was in my 20s and today, now that I’m in my 30s and making a bit more money, I think of these houses as shacks. I can only imagine what I’ll think of houses that I think are amazing today when I’m in my 40s, 50s, and beyond.

    10 years for a home seems like a good target.

  25. Timely! Last December marked ten years of living in the first home we bought. Just last month we sorted out our ‘forever’ plans vis-a-vis finances, where to live, and how to make it work. We’re 39 and 41; this place will be paid off in nine years, and we somehow enjoy it and our community more with each passing year.

    Some of our happiness with the home comes from plowing money back in — a renovated bathroom, better appliances, more efficient and comfortable systems — but most of it is a combination of fantastic neighbors and retaining the same or lower expenses our ten-years-ago selves had. If in five or six years we can maintain the same outlay we did in 2010 but 1. spend the two coldest and hottest months of each year in a more temperate country and 2. quit our jobs, that suits our goals and desires nicely. Much saner to our minds than inflating our lifestyle to the tune of thousands of additional square feet and more years on the hamster wheel.

    1. I bet your home feels so inexpensive now right? In 5-10 years, your home is going to feel even cheaper to own, which can really boost your financials as you invest elsewhere.

      Play by year and congrats on getting past 10 years!

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