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When to buy a home?

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  • When to buy a home?

    Hi WCI!

    the last time I made a post I asked if I should get a Tesla during my first year as an attending. I got great advice and followed them (no Tesla and currently driving a paid off car).

    My question is when would be a good time to buy a house?

    Background:
    -first year attending surgery sub specialists making 300k in a rural area.
    - Family of 4.
    - most debt/loans paid off except for a small medical debt (10k)
    - investing 50% of income into market
    - plan to live “like a resident” for the next 4-5 years.
    - total investments: 50k in Roth IRA/taxable

    I currently like the practice I am at and plan on buying it in as a partner. Assuming that happens, what would a ideal time to buy home? My wife definitely would like us to move out of our apartment. Living like a resident for 5 years essentially means staying in an apartment .

    Price range for a house would likely be 400-600k.

    Any advice like last time would be great. Let me know if there’s any other detail required.

  • #2
    I'm also a surgical subspecialist, but 25 years further along in my career. From your description, you've got most of your ducks in a row (minimal debt, investing aggressively, not living extravagantly). The price range for your house is very reasonable for the income. The most important question is this: Is this a place where your wife wants to live long term? If so, then go for it. My first job was in the Midwest, far away from any family. We had great jobs, and the house we purchased was amazing. After 3-4 years, she got the itch to move closer to her family (higher COL coast). In a down real estate cycle, we couldn't sell the home for over a year and took a loss.

    "If you don't live where your wife wants to the first time, you will the second."

    That saying doesn't describe us. We're about to celebrate our 30th. Also, I still drive a 10-year-old Subaru.

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    • #3
      if you are reasonably sure you want to stay for 5 years and have a decent emergency fund (6 months or so) you could do it now.

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      • #4
        I would wait until you settle into the partnership. It is the big unknown and uncertainty.
        Rent for 2 years. The house and partnership are the issues that need to align. If not, a move is high probability.

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        • #5
          Is this your forever location? Family nearby?

          Once you feel like the job is stable and your family knows this is where you want to be, I’d say go for it.

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          • #6
            Ok, so you’re in your first year as an attending. I would pump the breaks on buying a house. Since you live in a rural area, land must be cheap. Have you considered renting a house instead of living in an apartment?
            I would suggest living like a resident for at least 3 years (ideally 5). There is no rush with a house. It will always be there. plus there are unexpected house expenses that come up and you shouldn’t want to deal with when you’re a 1-2 years into practice.
            my advice is to rent a house to get more space, continue to invest regularly, save for a large down payment (if home price is 600k, and you make 300k, you may be able to save 30-50% down payment in 2 years), work your tail off to build your name and practice, once you are certain you make partner, then move forward with the house purchase. Ideally, wait until year 3.

            could you afford it now? Yes. Would I do it now given what you’ve shared? No.

            good luck. And glad to hear you didn’t buy the Tesla.

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            • #7
              When you've committed to the partnership and paid into it. Then after that, look forwsrd to the house down payment.

              If you buy a house, your biggest negotiating chip, leaving the practice, is lost when in rural setting.

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              • #8
                Wait until you're married and first kid is almost 2. lol, seriously, home ownership is overrated

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                • #9
                  Agree with above more or less.
                  Are there rent houses in your area that would be decent? We live in LCOL and it's a challenge. The apartments are similar. We lucked out and rented a pretty good house for a while before buying.
                  Ideally wait until partnership. Have seen many potential partners break up for various reasons. Forum is full of anecdotes also.
                  You're doing great, saving 50% year one. Realistically though your wife will win.

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                  • #10
                    A customized home in a rural area can be very hard to sell.

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