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Where Do I Go From Here?


Written by
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Where Do I Go From Here“

Where do you go from here“

Interest rates are at all-time lows.

Pivoting into a new life and lifestyle makes sense to everyone.

Working from anywhere, including home, is a viable and valued career option.

Home is the new headquarters, representing security and freedom.

Life used to be super busy, hyper accelerated. We navigated a continuous stream of “must dos,” deadlines, and responsibilities. Eating out was where the money went.

Now we’ve adjusted to a less frantic pace of life with time to think and to sleep. Cooking-in has saved us a lot of money. What really matters has become clearer to many people.

Marketing pitches will rev up again and lead us back into that spending-buying frenzy unless we take this rare opportunity to consider where we’d like to end up and how we can reach a new, valued destination.

In the midst of this awakening of new possibilities, success may be linked to the way you think about home. Which of the following perspectives on home are relevant to you and your proposed lifestyle“

Not a Burden but a Partner

The pandemic proved home can be a partner: A safe haven, a workplace, a school, an entertainment center, a technology hub, shelter from a virus…. Stop thinking of your home as a nest egg to look after passively until you cash it in to retire to a rocking chair. That type of retirement is long gone. Hurrah!

Home has many different roles to play. Treat home as a partner and look for ways to put it to work for you and your family.

Not an Expense but an Enterprise

When it comes to home and money, most people are their own worst enemy. The fact that home buyers automatically expect to be “poor” when they buy a home is the root of the problem. Buyers often buy more “house” than they need or can comfortably afford. They overlook the importance of location to value, buy in peak markets and sell in slumps, and overlook real estate’s tax and investment advantages.

Having home and money too involves adopting a money-management attitude, not a get-rich-quick philosophy or a passive caretaker role. This may include managing built-in apartments, rental out-buildings, or short-term holiday rentals to generate income seasonally or annually. Operating a business from home has many financial and lifestyle advantages. In hard economic times, not having to pay commercial rent may be what keeps a small business viable.

Not a Fixed Asset but a Flexible Environment

The life cycle of home ownership for a newly-married couple traditionally started with a small bungalow. They later moved into a larger home when children arrived and then eventually into an even larger home, with amenities like a pool, where each teenager had their own room. The ownership cycle ended for the original owners when they retired and moved into a small rental. Their house was often taken over by one of their adult children and their family as the ownership cycle began for them.

Variations on this cycle included a divorce at some stage when the home was sold to buy two or a renovation to accommodate adult children moving back home, perhaps with their young children.

Now, the traditional family has changed dramatically and, along with it, the cycle of home ownership. Now, a rental unit may be added to help pay off the mortgage and removed when children arrive.

Homes are often dramatically renovated to accommodate a growing family rather than up-rooting school-age children in a move. A preferred lifestyle involves modifying the home to stay there as the owner ages.

Home is seen as a flexible environment which can be renovated to fit the current and every-changing needs of owners.     

Not a Monster Home but All That’s Needed

Growing concern for the environment increasingly sees many buyers searching for more compact, environmentally-friendly housing instead of massive energy-hog houses that reflect keeping-up-with-the-Jones lifestyles.

At the other extreme, moveable, compact tiny homes have become popular with home buyers who want adventure and a cost-effective lifestyle instead of a lawn and a large mortgage.

Condominium units exist in a range of sizes from a few hundred square feet to multiple floors, enabling buyers to purchase as many square feet as they need or can easily afford.

Not Safe but Climate-Change Impacted

Rising sea levels and raging wildfires are two common natural disasters attributed to climate change. Are climate change and environmental degradation, like contaminated drinking water or poor air quality, factors to take into account when buying“

Not a Short-term but a Long-term Home

The search for “my forever home” is now a common one. A building and land that are so beloved and sustainable that the owners will not want or need to move again is a high priority for many buyers. Unique properties like farms and waterfront homes and amazing urban or rural locations often lead buyers into long-term attachments.

Not a Solo Venture but a Group Investment

Real estate prices have risen dramatically in many areas. Pooling resources with friends, relatives, or other families expands purchasing power to enable buyers to acquire a preferred location, generous size, or special amenities that they could not afford alone. Blended families are common and their demand for a multi-bedroom home can often be afforded by combining incomes and financial resources.

Not a Single Place but a Variety of Lifestyles

Wealthy families are not the only ones who can own multiple properties. Those with more modest incomes can become savvy real estate buyers and build a portfolio of income-earning residential or commercial properties:

• Individuals can partner with friends, family, or colleagues to share two or three properties around the world.
• When businesses are involved, owning properties in several locations may be financially feasible and even necessary.
• Buy multiples in one location for lifestyle expansion or development: Purchase two adjacent properties or two joined across their rear property lines and the result may be a two-house family compound to enjoy or a large building lot to develop. The range of possibilities is amazing.

Not Isolated but Connected

Where do you want to live“ What do you want to have access to“ What climate do you relish“ Take a state by state look at the wide range of lifestyle, career, and housing choices available and emerging. Expect to be very surprised.

Let go of the past and reach out to explore the variety of housing options and lifestyles that individuals have created around the world. There are a lot of ideas out there to feed your imagination.

With all this flexibility, there’s no end to what you can achieve, even on a modest income. Technology is going to open up more and more options. What variations on home ownership can you add to the list above“

During research for one of my books, “Have Your Home and Money Too” (no longer in print so skip Google), I was dazzled by the amazing ingenuity of home owners from all walks of life and income levels. Now, we’ve settled into a follow-the-leader pattern of home buying and ownership which may not provide all the lifestyle flexibility and financial stability that our homes can generate for us if we apply imagination and creative thinking.

Are you ready to think way outside the box of home ownership in a year that already has us thinking way out there about so many things“

Let’s make 2021 a year celebrated for the return of safe hugs!





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