For as long as most of us can remember, buying and owning a home has been the hallmark of The American Dream. For some time, though, a significant part of that dream has been the ability to bank on a big return on investment, on the ability to “cash in” on the appreciation in your home’s value if and when push came to shove.
It would seem, however, that the time for reevaluation in priorities might be upon us. It might be time to stop looking at a home purchase not so much as vehicle for quick financial gain, but as an investment in the happiness and security of you and your family. It’s time to start, once again, thinking of it as your home.
For the past decade or so, it’s been the pattern of many Americans to buy a home, wait for its value to increase and, about 7 years later, move onward and upward, or simply to cash in on the equity that one’s home had amassed. While home sales have recovered somewhat from their low points last year, prices are down significantly (in California, for example, the median home price for a single family home is down 16.9% from this time last year), and may take a some time to return to the levels that we saw in the early part of the 2000s.
Your home will still increase in value, most assuredly, but this increase will happen at a far more gradual pace than it has in recent years. Given this reality, making sure that you buy a home in which you will be happy and comfortable is more important than ever.
Remember, unless you are an investor, it’s likely you’ll live in the home for at least ten years. As such, you’ll want to ensure that it’s one to which you’ll be happy coming home. One in which you’ll be comfortable. One in which you’ll want to raise your family. Perhaps the most valuable things aren’t the square footage and lavishness of a house, but the things that speak to our core values. Providing stability. A greater sense of self-esteem. Pride of ownership. These things are the cornerstones of our very society, and the ones to which we should consider returning.
Talk to your Intero agent. Talk to your financial advisor. Talk to them about making the greatest investment you’ll ever make: an investment in your health, security and overall happiness.
By Gino Blefari
President and CEO, Intero Real Estate Services