Radical Strategies to Ensure the House You Buy Becomes a Financial Blessing and Not a Curse


There’s no way around it; being a homebuyer is tough in today’s market. Inventory is tight – there simply aren’t as many homes available as in years past. Interest rates are high – higher than they’ve been in about two decades. And the ratio of average home price to average household income is steeper than it’s ever been.

This combination has caused some understandable frustration for folks looking to buy a home. It feels like something must give.

It can be tempting to compromise commonsense to get into a house that meets your desires. It can also feel like buying the house you really want will require you to forgo building wealth in the future.

Unfortunately, I know plenty of people who have caved to this pressure and purchased homes that have become sources of financial regret.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can still buy a house that becomes a financial blessing. Doing so, however, will require you to employ some strategies that are dramatically different from the crowd.

Here are a couple that are tough to follow but will produce profitable results if implemented:  

1. Buy like a millionaire.

If you want to buy a house that helps you build wealth, one thing matters more than anything: the purchase price relative to your income. This is also where most people make the biggest mistakes.

In his decades of researching America’s wealthy, Dr. Thomas Stanley made an insightful discovery about how millionaires buy houses. His research indicated that when the average millionaire purchased their first home, the purchase price was only 1.49 times their household income. That figure may shock you. By this standard, a household making $100,000 per year would purchase a home for only $149,000. I can hear the refrain already. “Impossible!” you say.

Do you have to go to this extreme if you want to build wealth? No. But it’s critical to understand that if you want to buy a house that helps you build wealth, you must keep the purchase price as low as possible relative to your income. The millionaires in Dr. Stanley’s study understood that minimizing the purchase price allowed them to handle the myriad of ancillary expenses related to home ownership and preserved more of their income to devote toward building wealth long-term.

Doing this will also help your personal financial situation in another important way.

2. Minimize financial peer pressure on the home front.

The house you buy impacts your financial picture far beyond the purchase price and monthly payment. The neighborhood you choose to live in and the neighbors you surround yourself with will influence every aspect of your financial picture: from the car you drive to the clothes you wear to the school you choose to send your kids to. Each of these decisions impacts your personal finances.

Recent research from multiple sources has uncovered another interesting fact about millionaires: they tend to live in neighborhoods in which the average household income is well below their own. Is this because they have some egotistical need to surround themselves with folks who are less well off than they are? No. It’s because they recognize that their peer group heavily influences the rest of their financial life. It’s much easier to avoid overspending if you’re surrounded by neighbors driving Hondas and Toyotas rather than Mercedes and BMWs.

Most homebuyers try to stretch into a neighborhood where they can rub elbows with people from higher income brackets. But these tony neighborhoods induce pressure to spend more on virtually everything else. Wealth builders understand that minimizing financial peer pressure is a key to building wealth, and they select their neighborhood accordingly.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. 

I understand that I’ve laid out some strenuous standards here. Many will call them unrealistic. I’d love to sugarcoat things and tell you that buying a house that becomes a financial blessing is quick and easy, but it’s not. All I can tell you is that it’s worth it.

Executing these strategies will take some time and toughness. The magic ingredients are patience and discipline. The results will be a life of margin, financial prosperity, and greater generosity.

About the author: Jordan Hall is a (reformed) attorney, real estate broker, and entrepreneur. He wrote the book, Every Degree Debt Free, about his experiences paying for law school without loans. Today, he no longer practices law but helps folks build wealth so that they can live their purpose and leave a legacy. He is also a French fry connoisseur.