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Have been thinking about this for a while, and would like to buy a house.

Have a decent amount of cash ($100k) I've accumulated over the last year or two that I've invested poorly (e.g. not at all). It's sitting in a bank account collecting dust and devaluing as we speak. It's a bit painful to hear of the recent highs on the Dow. Lost a bit in the last bubble bust and have been hesitant to buy back in -- at this point, seems oversold, but who knows -- I've decided I'm not savvy enough to time the market effectively.

At this point -- after expenses, current rent, taxes, etc -- have free cash flow that ends up somewhere above the $4.5k range. I'm fairly young (30yo) with a solid 401k, a good amount of earnings potential, and a decently secure job, so I'm OK with a bit of risk.

Have spent a while dreaming about various properties I'd like to purchase, but think I need to figure out a price range first. Any suggestions on this?

Option #1: If I put 20% down, could buy something in the ~$500k range. A 30yr fixed mortgage for the $400k loan at 3.00% would end up in the neighborhood of ~$1,700/mo. Seems reasonable.

Option #2: Alternatively, could stretch a bit and put 10% down, to buy something in the ~$1M range. 30yr fixed for $900k at 3.00% comes out to around $3,800/mo. That'll make things a bit tighter, but would be doable... if I could get a bank to loan me that much (anyone know how likely that would be?)

Anyway, that's a big range. Looking for advice...

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So you don't trust your investing ability, and to counteract that, you want to put 1000% of your portfolio (10:1 leverag... (more)

dk240t (Mar. 26, 2013 @ 1:50p) |

OP - oversold doesn't mean what you think it does.

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/oversold.asp

BostonOne (Mar. 26, 2013 @ 2:35p) |

You can go back and forth on this, and there's good reasons to take either course. I always look at it this way tho:
1... (more)

kenblakely (Mar. 26, 2013 @ 4:07p) |

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What's your income? If it's $100k, then you'd be insane to go much above $500k. If it's $250k, then $1m may be reasonable. However, it also depends a lot on your area. If you're area has high property taxes, then aim for something cheaper. Also keep in mind that more expensive homes are generally poorer investments - they cost more to condition, remodeling to same standards costs more, taxes, more RE fees when reselling, etc. You may not be so willing to drop your standards after living in an expensive home as well later if you decide to save money.

Sounds like you are buying a lot of house for a single guy. Keep your scale small and build your portfolio. Save the big house headaches for when you have a family.

statusquotoday said:   
Option #1: If I put 20% down, could buy something in the ~$500k range. A 30yr fixed mortgage for the $400k loan at 3.00% would end up in the neighborhood of ~$1,700/mo. Seems reasonable.

Option #2: Alternatively, could stretch a bit and put 10% down, to buy something in the ~$1M range. 30yr fixed for $900k at 3.00% comes out to around $3,800/mo. That'll make things a bit tighter, but would be doable... if I could get a bank to loan me that much (anyone know how likely that would be?)

Anyway, that's a big range. Looking for advice...


Where are you getting the 3.00% number from? I doubt you can better than 3.75%, maybe 3.50% on 400k (for a 30yr fixed). Probably not under 4% for a 900k (jumbo) loan. That is, if you can get a loan that big. 3x income is the guideline on what you can expect to get. But also, 10% down is almost certainly too low for a 900k loan.

Also make sure to factor in other monthly costs (especially property taxes) and other closing costs (eg. realtor fees). With 100k down, and say 150k-ish income, 400k-500k range seems more realistic.

The conforming limit now is borrowing $625.5K, where the most favorable rates are. GodelianKnot above is correct about the rates - currently 3.5% or slightly lower.

Given you have $100K for a downpayment, and some $4.2K per month, you'll need to use the $100K as a 20% downpayment for the most favorable rate. If you want to get more than that (and use a 10% down on a 900K loan), be prepared to pay a lot more - something like 4.3 or 4.5%. And that's more than what your budget will allow.

I just did a jumbo refi, >20% down, and snagged a 3.87% rate.

So doing the math, you will need to set-aside about $1K/month (rough! numbers) for escrowed real-estate taxes (all dependent on where you live), and insurance (also dependent on where you live).

Doing some quick math, assuming you can get a 4.5% rate, that's a 30-year fixed payment of $3200 (Principal + Interest) on some $630K loan amount. So you could look for something in the $730K range. If (and a big IF) your taxes are about 1.2%, that's a $8.8K/year tax or $733/mo. Throw in homeowner's insurance, say $1000/year, plus homeowner's association fees of $150/month, and you get to $966/mo additional. $3200 + $966 = #3933.

statusquotoday said:   Have a decent amount of cash ($100k) I've accumulated over the last year or two that I've invested poorly (e.g. not at all). It's sitting in a bank account collecting dust and devaluing as we speak. It's a bit painful to hear of the recent highs on the Dow. Lost a bit in the last bubble bust and have been hesitant to buy back in -- at this point, seems oversold, but who knows -- I've decided I'm not savvy enough to time the market effectively.
Not many have been successful market timers. Staying invested for the long haul, subject to your risk tolerance is the way to go.

Thanks for the thoughts... my income will end up somewhere in the ~$250k range this year. That said, have other obligations that I'm devoting some of my take-home cash to (along with general vacation / entertainment spending that's probably too high). The $100k + $4.5k/mo figure comes after looking at what's left over after maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts and all the other spending (ignoring bonus). It's the money that I'm (stupidly) letting sit in a low-yield checking account.

Was thinking of this primarily as an investment, based on a few beliefs:

a) Inflation is inevitable given the Fed's policies -- my cash holdings need to go somewhere
b) Equities seem high / oversold, and I don't think I'm smarter than all the hedge fund guys making bets on the market
c) Real estate still seems somewhat depressed / low enough to find "value"
d) Real estate is a less efficient market on a local level -- I don't have to be smarter than every fund manager in NY to realize above market returns
e) Mortgage rates are low enough that I can get a degree of leverage (with a fixed rate) that's better than I could get anywhere else

I have a partner, but no kids. Have thought about buying land instead (say, 100-200 acres in the mountains with a small cabin). Would act as a nice inflation hedge and a potential retirement property. Some psychic value in owning land, too, but know that it gets to be a more complicated investment.

GodelianKnot -- thanks! Very helpful guidance. That's the kind of advice I was looking for... At 3.50% / 30yr for 400k ($100k, 20% down), looks like that would come out to around ~$1850/mo. Add property taxes of ~1% (SE USA) would add +$350/mo. Total = $2,200.

Seems reasonable... significantly below the $4.5k/mo budget for this.

scooterdog said:   The conforming limit now is borrowing $625.5K, where the most favorable rates are. GodelianKnot above is correct about the rates - currently 3.5% or slightly lower.

Given you have $100K for a downpayment, and some $4.2K per month, you'll need to use the $100K as a 20% downpayment for the most favorable rate. If you want to get more than that (and use a 10% down on a 900K loan), be prepared to pay a lot more - something like 4.3 or 4.5%. And that's more than what your budget will allow.

I just did a jumbo refi, >20% down, and snagged a 3.87% rate.

So doing the math, you will need to set-aside about $1K/month (rough! numbers) for escrowed real-estate taxes (all dependent on where you live), and insurance (also dependent on where you live).

Doing some quick math, assuming you can get a 4.5% rate, that's a 30-year fixed payment of $3200 (Principal + Interest) on some $630K loan amount. So you could look for something in the $730K range. If (and a big IF) your taxes are about 1.2%, that's a $8.8K/year tax or $733/mo. Throw in homeowner's insurance, say $1000/year, plus homeowner's association fees of $150/month, and you get to $966/mo additional. $3200 + $966 = #3933.


Very helpful, thanks! Hadn't thought about the conforming limit issue... and the corresponding step-change on the rate. Will have to read more into that. Not sure if my area is classified as "High Cost"... probably not. Guess that would limit me to a $417k loan.

statusquotoday said:   a) Inflation is inevitable given the Fed's policies -- my cash holdings need to go somewhere
b) Equities seem high / oversold, and I don't think I'm smarter than all the hedge fund guys making bets on the market
c) Real estate still seems somewhat depressed / low enough to find "value"
d) Real estate is a less efficient market on a local level -- I don't have to be smarter than every fund manager in NY to realize above market returns
e) Mortgage rates are low enough that I can get a degree of leverage (with a fixed rate) that's better than I could get anywhere else

Reg. (b), (d): You dont have to be smarter than the hedgies to make money. Simply invest in a well diversified portfolio, stay within your risk tolerance, and have a large time horizon. Aim for market returns instead of beating the market.
(e): Leverage cuts both ways. If the values go down, your equity will take a bigger hit.

I am not necessarily saying the stock market is better than RE. Just that you understand the risks involved in both and play accordingly.

statusquotoday said:   30yo... ~$250k range this yearwhat do you do, and where do you do it?

scripta said:   statusquotoday said:   30yo... ~$250k range this yearwhat do you do, and where do you do it?

BIGLAW (is my guess)

You said this is an investment - do you mean it will be a rental property or something you'll live in?

If its a rental property just try to make sure it can RE t for about 1% of the purchase price

If its a home to live in, tell us what your current rent is and don't get something that's far more expensive than what you currently pay to rent

I'm still trying to figure out $250K/year and only $100K saved in "the last year or two"??

That's a lot of H&B.

jaimelobo said:   I'm still trying to figure out $250K/year and only $100K saved in "the last year or two"??

That's a lot of H&B.


Being single, he has to pay lot of taxes. 100k is the right amount of cash savings if he lives lavishly. I am assuming he is a doctor.

Split the difference and get something in the middle, at $750K.

My only advice is to buy soon.

What is the cost o the house you would wish to live in? To aim for 1M when it may be a happier life to live i a 300K or 500K or 800K house is silly. As a single man you do not need a ton of bedrooms and it is a rare 2 or 3 bedroom house that cost 1M depending on location. So what is the cost of the house that would meet all your needs, most of your wants and a few of your luxuries? Do not look to buy a 1M place if you would be happier living in a 300K place

dealsboy said:   jaimelobo said:   I'm still trying to figure out $250K/year and only $100K saved in "the last year or two"??

That's a lot of H&B.


Being single, he has to pay lot of taxes. 100k is the right amount of cash savings if he lives lavishly. I am assuming he is a doctor.


Tell me about it -- as someone with zero deductions and no dependents, feel like I give up at least half of my paycheck. After accounting for taxes and the # of hours worked, the $/hr calculation is kind of depressing.

Also -- do have funds going to various tax advantaged retirement plans + student loans... that's why I figured a "free cash flow" basis would be a better one to offer in the original post rather than giving a meaningless salary stat.

statusquotoday said:   Thanks for the thoughts... my income will end up somewhere in the ~$250k range this year. That said, have other obligations that I'm devoting some of my take-home cash to (along with general vacation / entertainment spending that's probably too high). The $100k + $4.5k/mo figure comes after looking at what's left over after maxing tax advantaged retirement accounts and all the other spending (ignoring bonus). It's the money that I'm (stupidly) letting sit in a low-yield checking account.

Was thinking of this primarily as an investment, based on a few beliefs:

a) Inflation is inevitable given the Fed's policies -- my cash holdings need to go somewhere
b) Equities seem high / oversold, and I don't think I'm smarter than all the hedge fund guys making bets on the market
c) Real estate still seems somewhat depressed / low enough to find "value"
d) Real estate is a less efficient market on a local level -- I don't have to be smarter than every fund manager in NY to realize above market returns
e) Mortgage rates are low enough that I can get a degree of leverage (with a fixed rate) that's better than I could get anywhere else

I have a partner, but no kids. Have thought about buying land instead (say, 100-200 acres in the mountains with a small cabin). Would act as a nice inflation hedge and a potential retirement property. Some psychic value in owning land, too, but know that it gets to be a more complicated investment.

GodelianKnot -- thanks! Very helpful guidance. That's the kind of advice I was looking for... At 3.50% / 30yr for 400k ($100k, 20% down), looks like that would come out to around ~$1850/mo. Add property taxes of ~1% (SE USA) would add +$350/mo. Total = $2,200.

Seems reasonable... significantly below the $4.5k/mo budget for this.


Wait, wait, wait!

You're confusing yourself.

You have:
1) Appreciation
2) Interest as both a cost for acquisition and afterwards an investment in paying early
3) Rental income or rental payment avoidance for yourself.

So you're getting carried away when you first have to specify where you're going to get these returns from.

Effective 3% cost for acquisition means that you should put down the least possible for any property. If you can't beat 3% with the remainder of your capital over 30 years(I don't care if it's 1929 or 2007) you're doing something very, very wrong.

Paying back early on what essentially is a 3% 30 year fixed bond at that standpoint is dumb. Who would invest in a 30 year fixed bond today paying 3%? I wouldn't!

It doesn't seem as though you intend to rent place out and I don't of a single home over $400k that represents a good return on investment and quite likely the opposite as a cash flow negative property. You want to become a landlord in smaller places and you could find some great value and returns. You buy a $500k place and you aren't saving a bunch of rent because likely you would be renting something substantially smaller so all you have succeeded in doing is increasing your luxury spending.

Lastly, especially in the higher end markets I see zero reason to believe that you'll see significant housing appreciation in the future. You might see in nominal terms, but it's likely going to be flat if not negative in real terms. So yes devaluation of debt is great, but only if the appreciation rate of the property can exceed the cost of capital and over time can keep up with inflation rate. I don't see that being realistic when places in the high end market have as many as 100 homes for sale for ever buyer. And without a pulse in the high end market I don't see how you can get sustained appreciation in the middle market which means I don't see how you can sustained appreciation in the lower end market. Furthermore, housing appreciation is much more closely tied to wage inflation and not price inflation. It is negatively affected by rising interest rates of which inflation is a component. Lastly, home ownership as a percentage of the population continues to fall every single quarter and is likely not to stop anytime soon which doesn't bode well for a high end market that already doesn't have a pulse.

So I don't see expectations for large housing appreciation in the future as realistic. I also think that any expectations for a major leg down in real estate as unrealistic. Instead your looking at predominately flat housing values for a while IMO.

So how can you make money from a housing market that is essentially flat? Rent taking(landlording) or rent avoidance which all happens at the lower end of the market and maybe the lower end of the middle market. And that asset class still likely has a great future ahead of itself, but it's not based on appreciation.


Lastly, be very careful with the idea of 'buying land'. Agriculture land is on absolute fire right now and whether or not it goes for a quite a few more years from now it's prices are approaching ridiculous.

uutxs said:   statusquotoday said:   a) Inflation is inevitable given the Fed's policies -- my cash holdings need to go somewhere
b) Equities seem high / oversold, and I don't think I'm smarter than all the hedge fund guys making bets on the market
c) Real estate still seems somewhat depressed / low enough to find "value"
d) Real estate is a less efficient market on a local level -- I don't have to be smarter than every fund manager in NY to realize above market returns
e) Mortgage rates are low enough that I can get a degree of leverage (with a fixed rate) that's better than I could get anywhere else

Reg. (b), (d): You dont have to be smarter than the hedgies to make money. Simply invest in a well diversified portfolio, stay within your risk tolerance, and have a large time horizon. Aim for market returns instead of beating the market.
(e): Leverage cuts both ways. If the values go down, your equity will take a bigger hit.

I am not necessarily saying the stock market is better than RE. Just that you understand the risks involved in both and play accordingly.


Makes perfect sense. A bit more hesitant when I'm re-entering the market with a single large lump sum. Feel like my net return will be impacted much more by the timing of this initial investment. Hesitant to just dump it all into a S&P500 index fund.

Ironically, spent a couple years going to a school where I had the chance to sit in and "learn" from some of those hedge managers. Instead of walking away with a sense that I could do it myself, walked away with a feeling that their information advantage was just so far beyond the casual investor that it would be a fool's errand to try and play the game. Maybe I could roll the dice a few times and catch sixes, but it would just be me tricking myself.

dshibb said:   
Lastly, especially in the higher end markets I see zero reason to believe that you'll see significant housing appreciation in the future. You might see in nominal terms, but it's likely going to be flat if not negative in real terms. So yes devaluation of debt is great, but only if the appreciation rate of the property can exceed the cost of capital and over time can keep up with inflation rate. I don't see that being realistic when places in the high end market have as many as 100 homes for sale for ever buyer. And without a pulse in the high end market I don't see how you can get sustained appreciation in the middle market which means I don't see how you can sustained appreciation in the lower end market. Furthermore, housing appreciation is much more closely tied to wage inflation and not price inflation. It is negatively affected by rising interest rates of which inflation is a component. Lastly, home ownership as a percentage of the population continues to fall every single quarter and is likely not to stop which doesn't bode well for a high end market that already doesn't have a pulse.

So I don't see expectations for large housing appreciation in the future as realistic. I also think that any expectations for a major leg down in real estate as unrealistic. Instead your looking at predominately flat housing values for a while IMO.

[...]

Lastly, be very careful with the idea of 'buying land'. Agriculture land is on absolute fire right now and whether or not it goes for a quite a few more years from now it's prices are approaching ridiculous.


Interesting bear-ish view on high-end real estate. Good points; will have to think about them some more. Located in the SouthEast US, so "high end" here isn't quite "high end" elsewhere. Seems like that end of the market has dropped precipitously and there aren't a lot of buyers (confirms your view). Kind of thinking that would be a good sign for recovery, but suppose this starts to head to the market timing argument which is always a tough one to get right.

Still really like the idea of buying land. There's something very psychologically pleasing to the idea of walking around 200 acres of "my land" (well, really the banks and 20% mine). Maybe it appeals to the apocalyptic part of me. Hadn't thought about agricultural run-up, though... Thinking more about the mountains (in NC and TN), but will need to examine that further.

statusquotoday said:   dshibb said:   
Lastly, especially in the higher end markets I see zero reason to believe that you'll see significant housing appreciation in the future. You might see in nominal terms, but it's likely going to be flat if not negative in real terms. So yes devaluation of debt is great, but only if the appreciation rate of the property can exceed the cost of capital and over time can keep up with inflation rate. I don't see that being realistic when places in the high end market have as many as 100 homes for sale for ever buyer. And without a pulse in the high end market I don't see how you can get sustained appreciation in the middle market which means I don't see how you can sustained appreciation in the lower end market. Furthermore, housing appreciation is much more closely tied to wage inflation and not price inflation. It is negatively affected by rising interest rates of which inflation is a component. Lastly, home ownership as a percentage of the population continues to fall every single quarter and is likely not to stop which doesn't bode well for a high end market that already doesn't have a pulse.

So I don't see expectations for large housing appreciation in the future as realistic. I also think that any expectations for a major leg down in real estate as unrealistic. Instead your looking at predominately flat housing values for a while IMO.

[...]

Lastly, be very careful with the idea of 'buying land'. Agriculture land is on absolute fire right now and whether or not it goes for a quite a few more years from now it's prices are approaching ridiculous.


Interesting bear-ish view on high-end real estate. Good points; will have to think about them some more. Located in the SouthEast US, so "high end" here isn't quite "high end" elsewhere. Seems like that end of the market has dropped precipitously and there aren't a lot of buyers (confirms your view). Kind of thinking that would be a good sign for recovery, but suppose this starts to head to the market timing argument which is always a tough one to get right.

Still really like the idea of buying land. There's something very psychologically pleasing to the idea of walking around 200 acres of "my land" (well, really the banks and 20% mine). Maybe it appeals to the apocalyptic part of me. Hadn't thought about agricultural run-up, though... Thinking more about the mountains (in NC and TN), but will need to examine that further.


I wouldn't call a market remaining flat(positive nominal and negative real) as necessarily bearish. It's pretty much just as bullish as it is bearish.

*Large acreage* mountain wooded property is essentially a bet a lumber which is a bet on home building. That isn't likely coming back in any strong way for a while. Lumber will likely continue to be the dead laggard of the commodities market not far off from Iron Ore. If you instead want to buy it because owning it gives you a special feeling by all means knock yourself out, but call it for what it is luxury spending.

One area that might be smart from an appreciation stand point is highly sought after locations that have limited supply. See the problem with the high end market is that it's just large homes on essentially meaningless lots. If you instead were looking at secondary homes at highly sought after locations you might be able to find some property that will defy general flat trend. These places include cabins on highly sought after lakes(there is only so much lake frontage available), property on highly sought after ski hills, etc. The key here is that you have a practical constraint on supply, historically demand for these places has always been high many of them feature lakes that never had a listing for sometimes 10 years, and you all of sudden for the first time saw slack in those markets(because they're secondary homes) and prices collapsed. Many of those places have already started recover pretty strongly.

And essentially what you're betting on these places is future luxury spending which is very different than high end primary housing. The first is dependent upon relative demand of limited highly sought after places and the other is dependent upon volume of people interested in high end housing relative to supply of it. Those are 2 very different things.

I really don't understand FWF right now...

Situation: a young professional earns $250k annually and claims to have decent job security. Has $100k saved and wants to spend all of it on a house. Nobody (that I saw) tells him that maybe it's not a good idea to spend ALL of his money on a house?

JTausTX said:   I really don't understand FWF right now...

Situation: a young professional earns $250k annually and claims to have decent job security. Has $100k saved and wants to spend all of it on a house. Nobody (that I saw) tells him that maybe it's not a good idea to spend ALL of his money on a house?


Wait I thought I was, wasn't I?

He didn't say the 100k was his only asset.

TravelerMSY said:   He didn't say the 100k was his only asset.

+1

(But still a good general point.)

How about a 100k house and the 4.5k goes into a lazy portfolio http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_Portfolios

If I am single, I, most likely, don't want to own a home. Maybe for investment only.

psychoslowmatic said:   How about a 100k house and the 4.5k goes into a lazy portfolio http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_Portfolios

Why wouldn't you finance the $100k house and take the other $94.5k or whatever and drop that into a 'lazy portfolio'. You're trying to tell me that a person can't make a return over 3% in 30 years?

It would be the first 30 years that a 'lazy portfolio' didn't earn at least 3% in US history!

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   You said this is an investment - do you mean it will be a rental property or something you'll live in?

If its a rental property just try to make sure it can RE t for about 1% of the purchase price

If its a home to live in, tell us what your current rent is and don't get something that's far more expensive than what you currently pay to rent


I agree, just go to what your budget can afford Or you can still save for a year before buying a home.

At 30 years of age, the stock market is your friend no matter what the current level is.

Strategically chosen for appreciation land? Maybe yes, and you can use as a vacation property if you so desire.

House you don't need? -No. Don't forget if you buy a $1MM home you will not only have to service the debt, but also the rather substantial tax bills, and also a minimum of $10K (heat, water, AC and lights) ~ $30K (heat, water, AC, Lights, plus any routine or non-routine repairs) per year in operating and maintenance expenses.

Also recall that both options will eat your time or money administrering the above.

And what depalma said, -If you think the market is over(bought, not sold), then make a series of investments rather than simply going all-in. (dollar cost averaging).

Doesn't a vacation home get higher mortgage AND higher insurance rates?

EradicateSpam said:   Doesn't a vacation home get higher mortgage AND higher insurance rates?

Not saying it's perfect by any means(I mean I'm not doing it), but if you're going to make a bet on housing appreciation than the best place to do it is somewhere where there is a very limited supply and historically a lot of demand. It still might not work out, but I'd say that it stands a hell of a lot better chance of working out than thinking you're going to get a lot of housing appreciation from high end primary housing which has a substantially larger supply and little demand and few prospects for that returning in any meaningful way for a very long time.

If it's vacation property in a particularly prime location you can also often fetch quite the rental premium on it, but that's assuming you want to.

Has anyone considered that the OP may have plans to settle down in the next few years and have kids. In which case this house will come in handy and will build equity in the meantime, instead of him getting a smaller house now and then having to upgrade in 4-5 years. Just a thought (without exactly knowing the OP's situation).

Golden Rule - Minimum 20% down to avoid PMI

Buy the space you need, not necessarily the space you want. Most people want a 4000 sq ft home, but only need 1500-2000.

Buy that, and keep the cost of upkeep/cleaning, maintance and utilities down. Just because you can afford it, doesn't mean you should.

Would you be buying this in your own name alone or is this partner involved?

I put 100K down on my 320K house (sold for around 500K in 2007)knowing I still have enough cash left for other things and rainy days. Maybe I am too conservative, but the last thing I want is to see "foreclosure" "short-sale" sign ever posted in my front yard.

Skipping 18 Messages...
You can go back and forth on this, and there's good reasons to take either course. I always look at it this way tho:
1) If I have a financial emergency, what I need is $ in the bank, not equity in a house
and
2) It's the market that will build you wealth in real estate, not you paying off any loans

So my advice is to make the smallest down payment possible that will enable you to avoid stupidities like a VA funding fee or PMI



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