When Not to Buy a House

For decades, the common wisdom has been that it’s good to own a home. Tax laws have been structured to encourage home buying. (Owners get tax deductions on their mortgage interest.) The net result was that by 2004 about 70 percent of Americans owned their own homes. But, there is such a thing as turning virtue into vice.

This strategy worked as long as sane people realized that while home ownership is good—it does not follow that home ownership is good for everybody. I’ve been screaming about lousy loans for five years. But, by the time we awoke from the orgy of rotten loans it was too late. At first, it was the adjustable rate mortgages (ARM’s) that were in my crosshairs. These loans teased buyers with introductory rates that tempted prospects to buy more home than they could afford.

But, based on the theory that there’s no such thing as to much of a good thing, lenders continued developing dumber and dumber products. Next came the “interest only” mortgage. By allowing people to pay only the interest for the first few years, American’s bought bigger houses and hoped for the best—while never paying a dime of principle. Then came the cherry on the sundae of lousy mortgages: the “liar’s loan.” With these all caution was thrown to the wind, and lenders made loans to people without even verifying their incomes.

Finally mid-2008 rolls around and everyone is standing around looking dumb and stupid asking, “What happened?” Well, duh! The house of cards fell in on itself. The success of all of these dubious loan products was premised on one belief: housing prices would always go up. Econ 101 tells us that all investments (including real estate) are cyclical. The faster an investment goes up, the greater chance it has of going south in a New York minute!

So where does this leave us? As Christians we need to take our cues from the sobriety of Scripture, rather than the latest Wall Street fad or infomercial guru. Let me share three take-aways.

The primary reason for buying a home is to have somewhere to live. The investment potential should run a distant second.If you are a first time home buyer with no debt and cash on hand, this might prove to be one of the best long-term buying opportunities in history. Both home prices and mortgage rates are down.If you can’t afford a home—don’t buy one! The case against home ownership is strong. When maintenance and other costs are factored in, owning frequently costs more than renting. It prevents people from easily moving when they lose their jobs. And according to Grace Wong Bucchianeri at Wharton School of Business, home owners are no happier than renters, and they experience more stress.

The problem is that many of us have misunderstood what a home is. We have been conditioned to believe that a home is a house that we hold the title to. That’s simply not true. A home is wherever you live and love. It’s where you hang the pictures of the kids. It’s where you collapse at the end of the day into the arms of your spouse. A house doesn’t equal happiness. A home equals happiness.

It’s hard to see the eternal through the temporal. In the words of the old hymn, “This world is not my home, I’m simply passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I won’t be at home in this world anymore.”


No Debt No Sweat Christian Financial Management


No Debt, No Sweat! shows Christians how to free themselves from the bondage of financial pain. It is written for people who are financially sound and looking for investment strategies as well as people who are in financial turmoil and need a successful plan for getting out of debt.

Price: $19.00 (353 pages)

No Debt No Sweat Shop Online



Debt Problems?

You are not alone! Debt problems don’t just happen to uneducated folks. Bright, suave, business tycoons and financiers fall into the debt trap. Borrowing, and the associated problems it can bring, affects people in all walks of life. Today, if you’re struggling with debt, I want you to know that you’re not alone—not by a long shot. The average family carrying credit card debt probably owes a little over $11,000. The good news is, there is hope!


About the Seminar

Steve’s No Debt No Sweat! teachings on Christian money management have had a profound effect on people around the world. People are learning to live within their means. Some are able to give more. Marriages are closer. Others have learned how to avoid bankruptcy. Instead of pandering to the “wealth and prosperity” teachings that are so popular today, Steve gives clear, simple, practical solutions with a Biblical base. This stuff really works!

About the Seminar




The Goodbye Kiss: Providing for Loved Ones

Recently I witnessed a different type of goodbye kiss. It occurred between a mother and her daughter, and was one of the most touching goodbye kisses ever. Actually, it wasn’t a physical kiss at all. Instead it was the way Sandra (not her real name) said goodbye to her 14-year old daughter, Bonnie.


Scholarships: How to Avoid the “Gotcha’s”

College and University Scholarships and Student Loans, Student Debt – Scholarships: How to Avoid the “Gotcha’s”


Eat Your Problems for Breakfast

Learn to Eat Your Problems for Breakfast with these Christian Life Skills. – Although the name of this article is inspired by a book title from twenty years ago, I still love that little phrase. One of the most human of all the things we do is try to avoid pain…





Social Media Icons