Michael, thanks for reading and commenting. Congrats on the $100k!

Of course I don’t know your numbers, so I can’t calculate a rate of return for your case. Don’t forget that on a house you live in, you have to include all of the expenses of ownership (principle, interest, taxes, insurance, maintenance, utlilities, etc). If that equates to $2,000/month, then in three years, you would have spent $72,000. Plus the down payment, you could certainly still have a negative rate of return on a $100k equity increase. Very high rates of appreciation can result in a slightly positive rate of return on a personal house. But slightly positive isn’t a good way to build wealth.

In terms of getting a better rate of return, the simple answer is if your house were a rental where the tenants were paying the expenses instead of you, then you would have gotten the full equity increase for only the down payment (assuming positive cash flow throughout). That can easily take your return from negative (or slightly positive) to upwards of 20% per year.

The difference between the two cases (house where you pay the bills and house where someone else pays the bills) is night and day and thinking through the differences can help you understand how to build wealth.

Self-taught investor helping busy professionals learn how to ignore mainstream advice and build real wealth. Build your ark today!

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