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Thread: To travel or to buy a house? What would you do?

  1. #11
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I don't live in the UK—USA here—so take whatever I offer here with however many grains of salt are needed. Don't know the market there, don't know a thing.

    Anyhow, I come from a modest background, always dreamed of a life where I could travel, and from about 18 on started building that life with a lot of intention. Thing is, I also dreamed of a life where I owned a home, had those conventional roots and stability. So, a bind! How to have the cake and eat it too?!

    What I ended up doing is buying a home first—specifically a multi-unit home in what turned out to be a very sweet time in the real estate market. The home pays for itself while kicking off some income—and, well, when I want to travel it pays for my trips. I just rent out my unit short term, and use that money to travel. The home appreciated, so I refinanced to buy another, in another city, which works the same way. A tiny little real estate hustle that I could never have imagined but that has changed my life. I now live all over the place—sometimes in one of those homes, sometimes renting them out and picking a spot on the map to explore for a bit.

    I don't know if anything like that is possible for you—if there are multi-unit possibilities in your budget, if Airbnb is popular where you are, whatever. But I can say it's been a huge game-changer for me. This thing (home buying) that I always thought of as some massive financial commitment that anchored me in one spot also turned out to be the thing that allows me to be free to roam. Yeah, it took 15 years of working and saving in one city to get there—I was 34 when I bought my house—but the life its provided (deep roots, strong wings) is a fun one.

    All that said, I'm a big proponent of not putting off pleasure, that the sweetness of life is not to be missed out on. You guys are young and sound so totally awesome. If traveling Asia—which is fantastic, and super cheap!—is the thing that sounds super exciting right now, make it happen. You're both responsible, frugal. You can—and will—make and save money again. Buy a house because it is thrilling, not because it's "what you're supposed to do." If Asia is the more thrilling choice right now—and you can't find a hustle that allows for both—then I'd opt for that.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    Housing prices have been nearly doubling inflation in the US as well. And, like us, the UK just bumped its interest rates to the highest they've been since the recession. Particularly if you've only got 10% to put down, I don't think whether you buy a home right now should be contingent on whether you go on this vacation or not. It truly should be its very own consideration.

    Buying property is often a lazy investment. Not for the money and effort, but for the lack of thought often put into it. That's not to say anyone here or elsewhere hasn't done their due diligence and made a very great financial decision of it, but that it's important not to have a substantial, non-liquid "asset" (as much as something you're actively responsible for insuring, maintaining, and paying applicable taxes for without renting it out can be called one) serve as your default.

    With any intent to regard it as a part of your life, don't buy a house because you want to make an investment. If you're not looking for your house to actually serve as an asset straight away (flipping, renting, etc.), you buy a house because you want to buy a home, which, despite how anyone might read into the tone, really is a fine enough reason on its own. It could well be in 10 years you get the opportunity to sell it for a nice 20% on your $250,000, but I wouldn't buy a home unless I were fine with it being worth nothing by the time I died and crossing my fingers dying comes before losing it. Point being that on a spreadsheet, whether buying vs. renting would make or save you more money fluctuates depending on the locality and economy, and in reality, we have zero idea what substantial repairs may need to be done (never mind the time, effort, and headache you also put in for them), whether you'll need to relocate after a year or two and have to choose between becoming a landlord or losing any appreciation to closing costs, what catastrophic events could occur which leave you with an unaffordable 6-figure leverage, etc.

    Just as reliable as whether you'll have a nicely appreciated property in however many years is that, so long as developers and banks can cash in, there will be properties to buy at a price you two, being committed dual-earners, could afford. If you need a a very specific property in a very specific location to call home, obviously that's its own consideration. But I can near guarantee you won't be losing out on the opportunity if you give it a bit more time.

  3. #13
    Silver Member thisisrichey's Avatar
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    oh gawd this is the question of life isn't it?
    I always approach these decisions by using the "Death Bed" formula.

    "When I am on my deathbed, what would i tell me to do looking back on this decision?"

    whatever that answer is - that's what you do.

    From a more immediate analysis sense. 1) money can always be made. 2) tomorrow is never guaranteed. i would travel because who knows when you might have such an opportunity that fits your job career timelines like this one? It doesn't mean you can't buy a house, it juust means you have to push back the timeline and add a few months or maybe a year to replenish the 5k, 10k, 15k, or 20k you spent on traveling this year.

    Another way i see it is: okay so you can't get a house. doesn't mean you can't have a home (aka rent). Where as buying the house means you can't travel. So in one scenario you have your own new place and travel - you just dont' own the new place. Or Scenario 2 is you live in a place you own but didn't travel and aren't sure when the next opportunity would be.

    to me.. there are too many angles i see that say "go travel..... make up the money later to buy the home". And i would guess that would align with most peopel's "Death Bed" analysis of this situation.

    Good luck and congratulations on either situation you choose!

  4. #14
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    Buying a house doesn't mean you can't travel. In fact, if you want to go travelling for a significant length of time, rent the house out and use it to finance your travels.

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  6. #15
    Silver Member thisisrichey's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nutbrownhare
    Buying a house doesn't mean you can't travel. In fact, if you want to go travelling for a significant length of time, rent the house out and use it to finance your travels.
    This is an excellent suggestion! AirBNB is very good income stream from what I've gathered (asking people who are AirBNB hosts).

    So yeah.. best of both worlds. :)

  7. #16
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    I would plan to go on a vacation - but not one long enough where you lose your job. Why not go away together for 2 weeks? And then in 6 months or a year, go away again for another few weeks? Go somewhere that is on the top of your lists to go - vs going on a sort of walkabout. i have traveled but *never* just up and left for six months. Wait until you have earned it as far as time in at your job to get that much time off, etc, and when you have a financial cushion to do so. If you come from a disadvantaged background, were your families hard workers - they just did not have the skills for gainful employment or did they tend to be impulsive with their money and therefore chose their lot in life because of it? that might also influence your decision because if you have learned implusiveness, maybe you should take a step back and decide if this decision is a bit impulsive.

    I think that i would travel for a week or two, then buy a starter house -- they say buy the worst house in a nice neighborhood - the one that has a dated kitchen, etc, and then by the time you move because you want a bigger house or live in another area, the house is worth more not just because of the market, but because you have did some fixing or worked on its curb appeal as well. going a way for a week here and there vs half the year will satisfy your need to travel while still having feet in reality

  8. #17
    Silver Member thisisrichey's Avatar
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    i recommend renting before buying (unless you can just absolutely afford it without problem).
    1) you want to get to know the area first before becoming committed financially.
    2) it allows you to move about and see which neighborhoods and situations really do match for you
    3) its nearly impossible to know what's overpriced and not when you are new to the area, or what a good vs bad neighborhood is according to your needs until you spend time.
    4) it takes time to gather in all the "local secrets" that you'll want before nailing down and committing to a home and neighborhood (like for the Bay Area... you WANT to live near mass transit for your commute. this may not be your natural instinct coming from somewhere else and coming to the Bay Area).

  9. #18
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Regardless of whether you travel or not, I wouldn't consider taking on a mortgage amidst pending job insecurity without large enough funds to weather a potential recession. After years of stable or upward markets turning volatile and due for a correction, you may find yourselves either postponing job changes or unable to swing to the next branch as easily as you might anticipate.

    If you have enough funds to which you can return comfortably, you may want to travel if you're okay with postponing a property investment for a while.

  10. #19
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    Originally Posted by thisisrichey
    i recommend renting before buying (unless you can just absolutely afford it without problem).
    1) you want to get to know the area first before becoming committed financially.
    2) it allows you to move about and see which neighborhoods and situations really do match for you
    3) its nearly impossible to know what's overpriced and not when you are new to the area, or what a good vs bad neighborhood is according to your needs until you spend time.
    4) it takes time to gather in all the "local secrets" that you'll want before nailing down and committing to a home and neighborhood (like for the Bay Area... you WANT to live near mass transit for your commute. this may not be your natural instinct coming from somewhere else and coming to the Bay Area).
    renting is a good idea until you know where you want to be - but i still think traveling for months at a time right now is not a great career move .

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