I’M SAYING GOODBYE to an old friend I’ve known for 35 years. We had a special relationship that enriched my life in many ways. Although I’ll be moving to a new city and will never see my old friend again, I’ll always be grateful for our relationship, and how it helped me financially and emotionally.
You see, as I put my dear little friend—a one-bedroom, 789-square-foot condominium—up for sale, I’ve come to realize how important it was to have a home that helped me live below my means.
Our relationship over the years had its ups and downs. It would have been nice to have a larger home, so I could have offered out-of-town friends and family a place to stay. It would also had been more convenient to have a washer and dryer in my home, so I didn’t have to lug my laundry down to the appliances in the garage.
I have to admit that moving to a larger home crossed my mind occasionally. A few years after I bought my condo, I considered purchasing a nearby 2,258-square-foot house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
At the time, this single-family home was selling for $275,000, roughly three times more expensive than my condo. That single-family home has appreciated nicely over the years and is now listed at $1.2 million. Instead, I stuck with my condo, for which I paid $90,000 and which was recently appraised at $377,000.
I ask myself, “Would I have been further ahead financially if I’d bought the larger, more expensive home?” It’s difficult to make an accurate assessment without knowing the total cost of owning each property. A bigger house comes with bigger expenses. That’s one reason I didn’t buy the house. When I looked at it, it already needed a new roof. I also didn’t need a house that size.
Indeed, I have no regrets about my small, less expensive condominium. It’s benefited me in at least nine different ways:
The important thing to remember when purchasing a home: Buy one that you can afford, so you won’t have to mortgage your financial future. That’s exactly what I did—and I’m thankful for it.
Dennis Friedman retired from Boeing Satellite Systems after a 30-year career in manufacturing. Born in Ohio, Dennis is a California transplant with a bachelor’s degree in history and an MBA. A self-described “humble investor,” he likes reading historical novels and about personal finance. His previous articles include On My Mind, Turning the Page and Journey’s End. Follow Dennis on Twitter @DMFrie.