Striving to become a prudent person is a laudable goal—one usually only achieved after impetuous youthful misadventures have taught the wisdom of prudence. Caution—particularly in financial matters—may seem to be synonymous with prudence—but they aren’t always the same thing. Especially when there are magicians at work.
An example of that can be found in the way most people think about Costa Mesa rental properties. There’s no sleight-of-hand from the landlord’s point of view: few would argue with the proposition that rental properties are a prudent form of investment.
The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t sorcery happens when the audience (in this case, renters) view the same proposition: buying a home instead of renting. From that perspective, the exact same prudent investment can seem to be transformed into a fearfully huge risk. Taking the plunge—buying a home—has become a dangerously formidable commitment. It would seem to be a more prudent course to put off that kind of years-long gamble. After all, who knows for sure what the future will bring? Signing on the dotted line for a 15- or 30-year Costa Mesa home loan seems like a humongous step into the unknown.
This apparently prudent risk assessment is actually a conclusion that fails to see what’s happening behind the distracting illusion. At its root is a basic truth behind the rent or buy decision:
Unless you’re living with your parents, you’ll be paying off a mortgage—either way.
The choice comes down to paying for a landlord’s loan or paying for your own. If you take the mortgage yourself, you have to make the payments. If you rent from the landlord, you also have to make the payments—with the landlord acting as middleman.
As soon as you’ve peeked behind the curtain to acknowledge that fact, a couple of other notable backstage realities are likely to come into focus:
First, if you buy a home via a fixed-rate mortgage, you can plan on what your payments will cost—now and 15 or 30 years from now. It’s written in stone. On the other hand, if you rent, you won’t know what your rent payments will be a few years from now. The first choice is the one that creates predictability and stability: i.e., prudence.
Second, if you buy, eventually the loan payments will equal zero. If you rent—well, having seen behind the curtain, you know what happens eventually: i.e., more payments.
At least in the world of Costa Mesa rental properties, there is a distinct difference between prudence and caution. In the rent-vs-buy calculus, it’s pretty clear which is which.
Once you have peeked behind the curtain, you may also conclude that it’s an even more prudent idea to become a landlord yourself. And right now, there are some excellent Costa Mesa rental properties that could make that possible.
To investigate further, give me a call!