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Don’t Buy a House (+ how to ignore dumb propaganda)

Don’t let society pressure you into buying a house if you don’t want it. I’ll show you how to see through the propaganda so you can make an informed choice.

Ramit Sethi


One of the biggest, most breathtaking pieces of propaganda ever written — powered by the multi-billion-dollar lobby of the National Association of Shitty Realtors Who Lie To Take Your Money — is the belief that you must own a house.

And in this New York Times article, you see exactly how the propaganda war is waged.

I’m going to take you line-by-line through this article and show you what’s really happening here.

By the way, I’m writing this because a lot of you keep getting pressure to buy a house from parents, friends, and other people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

Bonus: Want to turn your dream of working from home into a reality? Download my Ultimate Guide to Working from Home to learn how to make working from home work for YOU.

Allow me to tell you how buying a house really works:

  • It’s not the “best investment” you can make
  • People who say “I’m doing it for the tax benefit” don’t know what they’re talking about
  • People love to trumpet how low their mortgage is. Want to know the actual amount they pay when they factor in taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc? Take the monthly mortgage and add 50% — not a typo — as a general rule of thumb for how much you’ll actually pay.

Buying a house can make sense, but don’t think of it as an investment — and don’t let people pressure you into the biggest purchase of your life.

OK, let’s start. Look at this embarrassing article in the New York Times. Let’s see if we can count the number of pieces of propaganda to buy a house.

What they say: “…the house on Livingston Street seems to taunt him every time he walks by”
What they mean: You’re an embarrassment if you don’t own

What they say: “He cannot stop dreaming of a better life for his family as he imagines the extra space inside and his children and dog playing outdoors once he weeds the yard”
What they mean: You are a bad parent if you don’t own a house

What they say: They are “squeezed…stuck…trapped”
What they mean: Who the hell would want to rent? Only losers.

What they say: “But even as the market continues to improve…it is leaving millions of Americans unwillingly stuck in rental housing.”
What they mean: When housing prices increase, it is always good. (Um, sir, would you say that prices “improved” if the price of eggs went up? Or gas? Or toothbrushes? Shh…don’t distract me with your fancy-schmancy “economics.” This is the American Dream! ‘Murica!)

What they say: “The nation’s homeownership rate has been falling for eight years, down to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of this year from a peak of over 69 percent in 2004”
What they mean: More Americans should own houses. False.

Guys, this is all horse shit. If you want to buy a house, buy a house — but you damn well better run the numbers on the biggest purchase of your life.

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You’re not a bad person for wanting to rent. I could buy a house today, and I choose to rent.

The larger issue is this: Don’t let random people make life’s biggest decisions for you. They want to! They want to tell you that you should just be “happy” to get a job — any job! — so stop trying this weird entrepreneurial stuff.

They want to tell you to cut back on everything, because they don’t know how to earn more.

And the press controls the conversation. Don’t believe everything you hear. Be smart enough to do your research and decide for yourself.

I’ll always tell you the truth. I have no boss exerting pressure to be politically correct. I have no relationship with the National Association of Realtors. No banks own me. I’ll give it to you straight so you can do your research and decide for yourself.

I’ve collected a few tips on real estate that will make you smarter than 99% of people, and save you thousands of dollars. Do me a favor — check out these resources before jumping blindly into the biggest decision of your life.

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