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Former renter ahead by buying
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She’s a single woman in Manteca in her 50s.

Six years ago she was paying $820 a month rent. She decided to buy a house but friends were hell-bent in trying to talk her out of it.

Their arguments:

 Housing values are never going back up.

 It’s cheaper to rent.

 Home prices are still dropping.

 Wait for a couple more years and prices will be even lower.

 It’s too big of a drain financially.

 You might lose your job.

She didn’t listen to them. That was in 2008. The naysayers were right about one thing: Home prices did drop more before rebounding. But the woman in question found a 1,100-square-foot home that out of the gate cost her less per month than she was the rent she was paying

Today she has a monthly mortgage payment including property taxes and insurance of $810 a month, up from $790 a month when she signed her mortgage. The $20 per month increases represents property tax jumps based on her home gaining value. Meanwhile the 800-square-foot home she rented until mid-2008 for $820 a month now rents for $900 a month.

It proves that hardworking folks who aren’t awash in cash can be smarter than Wall Street folks decked out in $2,000 tailored suits. Back in 2008 while Wall Street types interested in investment returns were pooh-poohing home ownership,  she saw buying a home from an entirely different angle.

“I’d rather pay myself and not somebody else,” she noted, adding she doesn’t have to worry about rent going up.

In 2008 she calculated in five years time her housing costs if she kept renting would have been $49,200 assuming her rent never increased. After five years of buying her home, she expected to spent $47,400.

It was a projected savings of $1,800. In reality after property tax increases were factored in as well as rent hikes, her actually savings were just over $5,000. And that doesn’t count any reductions in her income tax liability.

It may sound like peanuts to some until she rattles off the reasons why it is more than that: She has housing set for her retirement without worrying about rent increases. She has a place she can call her own that she can make improvements to as she pleases.

She views homeownership as one should: It is a shelter and not an investment like the stock market. It also is the foundation of long range financial planning not as a Wall Street type would think but as someone who understands controlling housing costs is a key to controlling retirement costs.

Even with prices higher today, home ownership still pencils out as a financial advantage over the long haul as well as a quality of life advantage for many.