Not all advice pertains to everyone, and when it comes to finances, especially buying a home, the opinions differ WILDLY. In this episode, David Sidoni discusses money left on the table and money lost due to the ultra-conservative and uber-safe wealth-building techniques from Dave Ramsey. This is NOT a super risky leverage advice podcast. This is an exploration of the new era of “safe” home buying in a world of super-low interest rates, rising prices, and bolting inflation. Debate is good. Conversation creates options and opens doors you never knew were there. Be curious…not judgmental.
Dave Ramsey Is Dead Wrong When It Comes To Buying Your First Home In 2022 And Beyond
For First Time Home Buyers, Dave Ramsey And Other Financial Advisors Are Missing The Boat On Alternative SAFE Home Buying
I can’t express how much I love any crusader out there fighting for the little guy, little gal, little they or them. Dave Ramsey is and has always been a champion for the people who need a leg up. I love him for that. That’s rare in the world of business. During my many years of watching young people and would-be first-time homebuyers play a seemingly unwinnable game, I learned a few things. They’re working on debt, credit, and saving to eventually get into a position to buy their first home. There are lots of ways to skin the cat to buy your first home, but Dave’s old way is not working in this new world.
Welcome to the show. If you’re new to the show and you clicked on this because you love Dave Ramsey, and you wanted to know what this idiot with a small niche following would dare blaspheme. You might think that I’m going to be spewing hate and talking to people, trying to get them to buy a home so I can get rich. I’m glad that you’re here and I love that you have an opinion. I’ve got one too. I enjoy discord and debate.
If you’ve read to at least a decent portion of my show catalog, you’ll find that I’ve been disagreeing with Dave’s old-school philosophy for years. Not in a hateful “make me money” kind of way, but in a mathematical way that’s best for my clients. I had to bring it up now because I’ve seen a lot of people online at the beginning of 2022 chirping about how dumb his philosophies are. I’ve seen some harsh stuff.
I could spit condescending stuff too. The financial advisors out there are all trying to get ahead, trying to do their thing and push the argument further down the road. The more they move the needle, the more people pay attention to them, and the bigger chance that they can get more clients. On the internet especially, angry and loud opinions sell. If you don’t believe me, look at sports talk radio, the news networks, BuzzLine, and my very least favorite of them all is Stephen A. Smith. Stephen, if you’re reading this, louder does not mean more correct.
I don’t know if you’ve seen people dissing Dave Ramsey on TikTok or Instagram like I have. Maybe my algorithms are a little different than yours and you don’t have a bunch of real estate stuff on your For You page. There is a lot of hate at Dave now because he tells people to save 20% for their homes. For all the haters out there that are using all the current 2021 stats, that’s how they’re getting this great big buzz and getting you to listen to them. They create a new philosophy on how much you should put down for a house.
The headlines are sexy right now and that’s because they had these gigantic stats from 2021 showing them if you bought a home with 3.5% or 5% down at the beginning of the year, the average first-time buyer only uses 6% down, and these people know that. The average equity that you would have gained by the third quarter of 2021 is $56,700. Young people who are starting to figure out what’s going on in the world, by the time you get to Dave Ramsey, you’re like, “I’m ready to be an adult.”
Now, you started adulting and Dave’s advice is to save 20% down. While you’re being an adult working on your debt, you’re also looking at Zillow and the math is not adding up. A lot of people are barking back. They’re going, “I could’ve got in with a low downpayment and I would have made $56,700 in my house this year.” That’s what I’ve seen out there.
Let’s get into the debate. I could scream and yell about how old-school Dave is. I could tell you how mathematically it makes no sense with rent so high and still going up. It’s predicted to be up 7.1% in 2022 and home mortgage rates are still being insanely low at 3%. With these numbers, I have no doubt how right I would be if I spit that at you. Real estate is fluid and numbers change annually.
In 2021, that was an anomaly. The numbers look huge for the people screaming on the internet but let’s get a little settled down here. I’ve been disagreeing with Dave Ramsey’s philosophy of 20% down when it wasn’t so jarringly mathematically obvious. I’ve been preaching this for many years when interest rates were at 7% and when the market was tanking.
I’ve been saying that although I love the care and concern that Dave Ramsey has for all his clientele. He’s helped millions of people get out of debt. For most people following these old-school financial tips, it can cost you a ton in this new real-world economy of low-interest rates and out-of-control skyrocketing rents. I’ve even mentioned that in previous episodes. Let’s get into it.
Dave’s formula is to get out of debt, save some money, have a reserve, save up 20% to buy a house, buy the house, and then pay it off in fifteen years. When I first heard that back in 2006 when I first started in real estate, I got curious about that order of what you need to do to make yourself financially secure. What that meant was paying skyrocketing rents for at least 2 or 3 years while you’re getting out of debt, and then eventually building up your reserve account.
When you finally get to that last step, you have this seemingly insurmountable task of saving 20% downpayment for your first house. You add it all up and you could be looking at 5 to 10 years of renting while you’re trying to work the safe and stable formula. While you’re doing that, that rent is your largest monthly payout. I got curious back in 2006. I did the math and I realized that I completely fundamentally disagreed with this financial guru who has helped a million times more people than I have, and who is known not only for his financial acumen but also his character and purpose.
My curiosity and experience grew and continued. I kept doing the math for many years and I’ve decided that for many of you, after many years of learning all this, in terms of how and when to buy your first home, Dave Ramsey is dead wrong. In a new world of low-interest rates, rising inflation and skyrocketing rents, it’s outpacing anything you could do while you’re trying to save. The math shows that when it comes to paying rent versus trying to save up 20% down, the advice that you get to try to save that 20%, not only will it not be able to build you as much wealth as you can get, but it might even cost you money in this market.
You can agree with me or disagree. It’s all good. Aren’t you a little bit curious and want to hear the math? We’ll leave the judgment to all the internet trolls. I’m going to give you some math and you guys decide for yourself. You can’t disagree with a giant like Dave Ramsey who has decades of unselfish work changing hundreds of thousands of lives. You can’t do that with a quick short tweet. There are a bunch of people doing that because the 2021 math looks so good and it gets people so psyched up.
I’m very aware that Dave Ramsey has a longer track record than me. Before I get into my deeper philosophies, principles, and some of the main overarching ideas about how to financially prepare yourself for the future and build wealth, or before I share with you some of my clients’ stories for people who’ve succeeded not just in 2021, but all the way back in 2006, 2007, 2009 putting 3.5% or 5% down, I’m going to start with cold hard facts, data and math. Those people did not go bankrupt even though they went through the biggest crash in real estate history from 2008 to 2011.
I realized that a lot of people out there have passionate and intense thoughts about the philosophies of Dave Ramsey and his teachings, but passion alone without factual data can be wildly unsafe and extremely dangerous. I’m asking you to stay curious. I’m not here to burn him with hot takes with using the 2021 numbers because they’re so outrageous and they look so great. I’m not trying to make myself look smart.
I do agree with some of Dave’s common-sense principles, but I do not agree with his philosophy on how to buy a home, not even close. Let me start with some of the facts and the math. I’ll save the deeper philosophical debate until after I’ve laid out all of the basic indisputable numbers that led me to flip it on the microphone.
I’m going to get into the advanced philosophical and financial concepts in detail but first, let me start with some facts. First, you can’t fight math. Numbers always win unless you use 0s and 1s to make matrix equals and then sometimes they suck. It might not be clear on the first pass but that’s what these shows are for. You can always go to DavidSidoni.com or HowToBuyAHome.com and read it, especially if you can’t sleep.
Math Time: Let’s Start With Numbers
Fact, Dave said, “Never buy a home unless you’re debt-free, have reserves and can put 20% down.” I have hours of thoughts on this but let’s start with the numbers. The median price in this crazy 2021 market at the end of the third quarter, which is almost towards the end of the year in the United States, was $374,900. We will average that up and call the whole year average price to $375,000 at the end of the year, and we’ll use this number for clarity. This is the purchase price number that I’m going to use for this example. This is the number that came after the crazy 19% growth of 2021.
As I move forward and I give you examples of what would happen, I’m talking about if you buy in 2022. This means you already missed the fun part, the big sexy super 19%. These are much more realistic numbers. These are the numbers that I’ve been giving on the show since 2019 and everyone else before that. Also, the odds are pretty good that $375,000 is not exactly what homes cost in your neighborhood but since it’s the median, we’re going to use that.
If you live someplace else where it’s cheaper, let’s say it’s half as much, that’s $187,500, then you can use the numbers and examples I’m about to give and cut them in half. If you live in areas like where I live where it’s $750,000 to buy a first-time buyer house, first of all, breathe. It’s going to be okay. Second of all, in the examples that I’ll give right now, you get to double the numbers.
According to the rent guide, the average two-bedroom rental is $1,896. A three-bedroom rental is $2,147. Here’s the math. If you’re looking at a median home that’s $375,000, these are the post-2021 insane bananas growth number and don’t look back with regrets. It can still look good for you moving forward. The reason I’m not going to use the numbers for 2021 is because that’s what people are using right now to debate Dave, and any idiot yelling can make that look good. These are going to be the real numbers moving forward.
I did these numbers down to the penny but when I read it out loud, I sounded like a freaking math professor and even I fell asleep. What I did was I rounded it up to make it clearer, but these are very specific numbers. You’re looking to buy the home at $375,000. At 20% down, that’s $75,000. I’m also going to add an overinflated and conservative number because it’s bigger than what you’re probably going to pay. Let’s call it 2% closing costs, 2% of $375,000 is $7,500.
I wanted it to be an overestimate rather than under, so no one could yell at me. Your total cost to close, that’s your 20% plus your closing costs, is $82,500. With a 3% mortgage interest rate, you’re going to pay $1,265 for your principal and your interest. That’s the PI in PITI. The taxes are going to be different everywhere. We’re going to be using the average tax amount of 1.25%. That’s going to cost you $390.
You’ve got $1,265 principal interest, and then in PITI, the T is the taxes, $390 and the last I is your homeowners’ insurance, that’s $50. That’s a total of $1,705. $375,000 house, 20% down, approximately $82,000 all-in and your total monthly payment is $1,705. That is not bad. That’s awesome. You’re $400 less than the average rent for a three-bedroom at $2,147. All you need is $82,000.
What if you want the same $375,000 house with 5% down? That’s $18,750 plus the 2% for closing costs, that’s $7,500. That total cost to close for you is $26,250, not $82,500. That means you could buy the house for $56,250 less than if you put 20% down. Think about it. How long would it take you to save $56,250? With a 3% mortgage rate, you’re going to be paying $1,552 a month. You got a bigger loan, so that means you’re going to be paying $287 more than if you put the full 20% down. Tax is the same at 1.25%. That’s $390. Home insurance is the same at $50.
Here you have a new line item or an additional payment. This is not in the 20% scenario. This is the big thing that scares everyone away. You have mortgage insurance sometimes called private mortgage insurance. It’s PMI or MI. If you want to understand what all this is, go back to episode 54 if you don’t know what that means. For now, just add it in. If you’ve got a good credit score, if you’ve got 760, it only is costing you $50.47 a month. Now I’ve got to add an extra $50 to it.
In this example, you’ve got good credit. We add the $50. The total for this house with 5% down instead of 20% down is $2,042. In the summary, the 20% downpayment is going to cost you $1,705 a month. The 5% downpayment option costs you $337 more every single month. That means it’s more expensive, but let me do give you a little tangent side note to help you wrap your head around the philosophies that get me to where I’m going with all my math.
Even if you had the 20% down, you came to me and said, “David, I want to buy a house,” I would at least present this scenario to you using a low downpayment in the current market, not using philosophies that were built many years ago. In this day’s low-interest-rate market, it might be the better option for you. You could buy with 5% down and you’d have $56,250 in the bank. That is the 15% that you didn’t have to put down for the $375,000 home.
If you let that $56,250 sit there in the bank and every month you pulled out the difference, that $337 that it costs you more, you could do that for 166 months, just under fourteen years. That’s not going to be counting any of the interest that you might be gaining on your savings which now, it’s not that much. You could move in and have nothing left in your bank account or you could move in and have $56,250 in your bank account, and pay that extra from the bank account for fourteen years.
What if you don’t have the 20% down? We have more math for you. Remember, cut these numbers in half if you live in a $185,000 neighborhood, and double them if you live in Southern California, New York or San Francisco. How long is it going to take you to save $56,250? You’ve got to save that amount while you’re still paying rent. Let’s weigh that time and money lost and the equity gained. All of that you get for $337 extra a month.
First, let’s assume that you’re renting now. If you don’t, good for you. Your numbers could be totally different. The biggest variable in the whole savings equation trying to save the 20% is that you’re going to pay that three-bedroom average we talked about which is $2,147. That money is gone every month. It’s what we call a necessity. I’m the old-school dude preaching new-school thoughts. Wisdom, energy and passion is a freaky combo. That’s what you get from this old guy.
That’s the key that Big Dave seems to be missing. He’s using old wisdom and not adapting to the new norm of crazy high rents and the annual raises of your rent. It’s affected how long it’s going to take you to save $56,250. Your numbers could be different so figure it out based on your 15% difference in your area. If you’re lucky and you’re living at home with mom, plug-in zero while you chill in the basement.
Maybe you only pay $1,000 a month because you have a roommate. Maybe you have incredibly low standards and you pay $1,000 a month because you live in a dump, and you have to have a gun for protection. Maybe you pay more than that and your numbers might be different because you’re super bougie and you want to leave in a fancy apartment. Wherever you are, I’m going to give you the math using the constant variable, then you adjust that way. This equation is if you were renting for $2,147 a month. The payment with 5% down is $2,042 a month. The payment with 20% down is $1,705 a month.
While you begin to decipher how long it’s going to take you to save up your 15%, and again, the national average is $56,250, but you do your own. Let’s be sure that you remember, whatever your current rent number is, that variable in the equation for the year that is going to take you to save that up is going to change. What they say is the old-school equation is rents are going to go up 3% a year. That will be awesome. In the last several years, rents have gone up closer to 7%. In many places in the United States and Canada, the last several years have seen double-digit percentage increases in rent.
Keep that variant variable in mind. You’re saving up $56,250 because you’re going to rent and save up 20%, but your budget is going to change annually because your rent is going to be higher. Put that in your spreadsheets. Whatever you could save this year, next year, your largest monthly bill is going to be getting larger. The year after that is going to be the same thing. That’s going to cut into the savings that you’re trying to do. The year after or after three years, it is still going to go up.
Future Prognostication: The Math Is Unknown
If you’re there making your spreadsheet, God bless you in figuring out how long it’s going to take to save $56,250. Let’s go over the two main reasons that Uncle Dave and everyone else tell you that you want to do the 20%. The 20% guideline is a rule that somebody made up. Here are the main reasons why. Number one, it’s to be safe. I get it but you’re going to see my retort when I come to discuss the fiscal philosophies. You’re going to see how in my opinion, many of these philosophies are based on the dinosaur, old-school thinking, bad and incorrect old wives tales.
It’s based on these old ways of thinking, the fear-based stuff and the fear-mongering headlines. That debate that’s out there happens because the fear was there, but they’re not using nowadays’ facts and figures. I understand. That’s reason number one. Reason number two is you want to avoid the PMI because PMI used to be a lot more expensive. That’s a great philosophy but it’s bad math with old numbers. We’ve already established that in the current economic landscape with good credit, your PMI “savings” is $50 a month. In most cases, it’s going to go away when the home hits a certain equity point. That’s 78% to 80% equity point.
If you don’t know what that means, that’s in the PMI episode and there’s a whole bunch of information on that. For now, understand that PMI doesn’t stay with you forever. Even if it did stay with you for ten years which it likely won’t, it’s still only costing you $50 a month. You can keep paying astronomical rates while you try to save $56,000 in a unique market when home prices are going up and mortgage rates are going up at the same time.
All of that is to “save” $50 a month. That’s $600 a year. Even if your PMI stays on the loan for ten years, then fantastic. You just saved $6,000, but since you started reading this, the home that you looked at on Zillow just went up to $6,000. Let’s keep breaking it down. Let’s do the simple math on saving 20%. We understand the differences between the two. How would you do that? What if you decided, “I’m super conservative, David. You don’t know me. I wear a raincoat if it even drizzling.” Assume that you have $26,250 to put the 5% down. If you want to stick to the 20% rule, you have to save that other $56,250.
First of all, I just want you to know that I’m totally on your side. If you bought that home with 5% down instead of doing the savings plan we’re about to talk about, your payment is $2,042. That’s already $105 cheaper than the average rent. In that home you own, you’re saving an extra $105 a month. I’m not even going to mention that in these numbers. I know as a homeowner, you’re going to be saving money and maybe you’ll have some extra expenses for maintenance.
I get it. The landlord doesn’t pay for everything. A little side note, for most major repairs when you purchase a new home, the seller will buy a home warranty for you. A lot of that stuff you get gets paid for, but I’m not going to be persnickety. I’m not even going to mention that either or the $105 that it costs you less.
If you’ve got the $26,250, you put the 5% down, and you want to avoid that terrible PMI because you believe in the guidelines and the higher mortgage payment. By the way, the grand total of the higher mortgage payment is $337 a month. You want to save that $337 a month because it doesn’t make sense to buy a house right now, so you need to save $56,000. That would mean if you saved $1,000 a month, it would take 56 months for you to save that. That’s a little over 4.5 years to save $337 a month.
All the while that you’re trying to save that $1,000 a month, you are still paying rent. If that average is $2,147 a month, 4.5 years, 56 months, it’s only $120,232. That’s the rent you paid. While you’re paying that, you’re also still trying to save $1,000 a month. $120,232 goes to nothing. It’s not improving your financial position in any way. It is the epitome of a catch-22. You got to try to save while you’re spending on this necessity need that’s your housing.
If you save only $500 a month because who’s got an extra $1,000 a month, that’s going to take nine years and you’re going to spend $242,464 in rent. That’s almost a quarter bill down the toilet. If you want to save 20% down, $1,000 a month for 56 months for 4.5 years, or $500 a month for 112 months for 9 years, and you want to do a true comparison on the numbers of buying at 5% down versus doing the saving for 4.5 years or 9 years.
There’s one big thing we don’t think about when we’re doing this future prognostication. I guarantee you, in 4.5 years or 9 years, home prices and mortgage interest rates will be different. They’re not going to be the same. How can you write this equation if the future variable has no way to determine what it’s going to be? What do you do? How do you figure this out and say, “I’m doing the right thing?” This is not black and white. This is not a simple rule that works for everyone.
There are no basic guidelines that work for everybody when it comes to buying a house. It doesn’t work that way. The main reason it doesn’t work that way is that we all buy at different times in the housing market cycles. It’s that simple. You can’t throw a blanket on top of this and say, “This is the rule,” without looking at where you are in the market cycle. I’m talking big pictures.
The entire idea of saving and waiting to save you money in the future depends on the math, but the math is unknown because we’re talking about two things in the future. The question is if you’re sitting here in 2022, where do you think interest rates and housing prices are going to go? You have to ask that question no matter what time you do it, but it’s never been more important than now.
The math depends on how you predict the market. If you can do that, quit your job and go become a forecaster. You won’t have to worry about how much money you need to buy a house or downpayment because you’re going to be a bazillionaire because nobody can do that. However, if you want to listen to a panel of industry economists and hear their forecast for 2022, 2023 and beyond, it’s all in episodes 47, 48, 62 and 68 of the show. I regurgitated all these smart guys and gave you all their stuff.
The average estimate or forecast from both the people who are negative and the people who are positive, no one’s calling for a bubble, but they are expecting modest growth from 2022 to 2025 at about an average of 3.9%. The home that costs you $375,000 now, you multiply that by 3.9% annually to see where you could end up in a few years. The reason I’m using that is because if you needed to save at $1,000 a month, you would need 4.5 years. Let’s see what would have happened to the house in the middle of 2025, the one you could’ve bought now for 5% down.
In 2022, $375,000 house increasing at 3.9%, that’s going to be $389,625. In 2023, another 3.9% on top of that is $404,820. In 2024, your price goes up to $420,607 and then we’ll give you another half a year. At 3.9%, I’m going to give you 1.8%. I divided 3.9 by 2. You’re going to finish at $428,598. The house that you didn’t buy that costs $375,000 with 5% down is now worth $428,598 and you spend $120,232 on rent. You missed $53,598 in appreciation while you were already paying the same amount every single month in your housing payment. Your rent gains you nothing for $120,000 and you missed $53,590 in equity.
That is the non-sexy long-term understanding and comprehending the housing market numbers. That’s not me saying, “You missed out on 19% this year.” Anyone could say that. That’s easy. These are numbers for the regular market, but you’re hearing people go savage on Dave Ramsey now because of how much they lost in 2021. Ironically, it was about $56,700. It’s funny because that’s the difference between 5% and 20%.
These numbers that I’m giving right now are post the cycle of 19% in 2021. I’m sorry you missed it. Some of my readers didn’t and they’re super stoked. I’m super stoked for them. Some people out there who don’t read this turn me off and they listen to Uncle Dave to be safe. I saw one of the guys on TikTok in a shower with the water hitting him in one of the TikTok trend songs. It was like, “Listening to Dave Ramsey and saving 20%.” The font changed and said, “Realizing I missed $58,000 in equity.” It was awesome.
Personal And Financial Goals
Those 2021 numbers are just candy. The real numbers that I gave you are going forward. Are those numbers going to last forever? No, but I’ve been doing this since 2006 helping first-time buyers. I tell them exactly the same thing I’m telling you now. If you’re running the long-term numbers, as long as you’re going to stay in place for seven years, approximately or around that, the numbers work. It’s a fact that the housing market will go up and down. My belief is that you can’t drop a blanket statement on anything, especially when it comes to housing, without taking into account one giant factor.
When it comes to housing, all guidelines should adhere to this one thing. The individual client’s long-term personal and financial goals related to homeownership, and how those goals line up with the current market conditions. Blanket statements are for the undisciplined people who need uber structure or they’re going to run up their credit cards or spend money in a stupid way. For a lot of you out there, if you’re ready to adult even a little bit and ready to make a plan for yourself, you can plan an extravagant lifestyle and be as bougie as you want or you can be one of those crazy frugal people.
The time to get the research so you can take advantage of what’s happening is right now. I don’t know a squat about your individual position, but I do study my butt off and I have provided hours of shows on the cost of waiting, as well as regurgitating predictions and forecasts from the best economists in the world. They say that in this equation, if you want to save to 20%, you can save $337 a month because you want to play it safe and you don’t want PMI. You’re going to have to save $1,000 a month for 4.5 years in a house that you could have bought at $375,000. It’s now worth $428,598 while you spent $120,232 in rent while also needing to save $1,000 a month. How is that $337 a month savings feel now?
I didn’t even mention the rent increases that will incur over this time period, or the fact when interest rates go up, your payment is going to be hundreds of dollars higher. Waiting in this market will cost you. The math says so. If you disagree with the forecasts, I get it. I understand why you could feel that way, so let me do the math for the “it’s safer” argument. I’ll go totally negative. What if home prices go down in the next 4.5 years? First of all, it’s not going to start immediately because it’s still bananas out there and there are 20 and 25 people writing offers on every single home. Prices have to go up for at least a little while longer, but I’ll do it. I’ll go totally negative with you.
If Valentine’s Day Massacre happens and everything drops 10%, there are probably going to be all kinds of upheaval in the economy. That means we’re going to have to worry about interest rates and how that could affect things for you. In January 2021, we had the lowest interest rates in history at 2.66%. I don’t have a magic wand or a crystal ball. If the interest rate changes a little bit, then it could be something that they need to do if we do hit some weird recession.
Let’s say that on Valentine’s Day, everything drops 10%. In an incredible twist of fate, suddenly, on Valentine’s Day, one million new homes appeared and they went on the market. That started to change things a little bit. That $375,000 home didn’t go up anymore because there are so many homes on the market and the market starts that 10% drop.
By the end of the year, these magical, mystical, enchanted, impossible inventory homes have reduced their price. Let’s say mortgage rates go up. The homes have drop from $375,000, 10% to $337,000. If the mortgage rate goes from 3% to 4%, then your payment is only $10 less. You’re getting the same house at this huge discounted price, but if the mortgage rates move even 1 point, you’re still paying almost exactly the same as if you bought it at 3%. That’s just one variable in the whole crazy, “The market is going to drop.”
Check out episodes 47, 48, 62 and 68, because there’s no way that a $375,000 home is going to be worth $337,000 at the end of 2022, unless there’s a global meltdown. Even if that happens, I still told you that when they try to correct it and they adjust the interest rates, your payment is still going to be the same. For all the people who think that waiting for prices to go down is mathematically going to save you money, I encourage you to read again on how much you’re going to pay in rent in that time.
I hear this question all the time. I’m going to be harsh because you know that I come from a place of love. For almost all first-time home buyers, if you’re waiting for discount prices, it simply doesn’t work. It will cost you more. This is not a TV that you saw on Best Buy or online, and suddenly you see it for $500 less. A bunch of other things happen and change, and the money that you put out of your pocket happens before then.
You pay big in rent every single month, and that’s one of the dozens of the other math factors. Everybody thinks, “I’m going to wait for it.” How long have you been watching this, a year or two? There are so many other pieces of this equation. Waiting for a price drop is a once-in-a-generation timing. Few people take advantage of it or are in the right place in their life for this to happen. It doesn’t happen.
If you want to fight me on this, don’t. Go to another real estate show that’s trying to tell you how you can get rich quick and you leave me alone. The other option is you check out episode 40, where I went into detail on buying now or waiting. You can check out episode 44 where I said how much you should put down and why. You can also check out episodes 47 and 48 that talk about the bubble or no bubble. Also, check out episode 53 with Madison who bought a house before her lease was up even though she didn’t want to.
You can read episode 55 with John and Adrienne trying to beat their skyrocketing rents, moving from another state. You can check out episode 62 and 68, which gives you all the market forecast from all the people way smarter than me, and I’m a dork who eats real estate history for brunch. If you read every single one of those episodes and you still have what you think is a well-thought-out question, then send me an email. I’ll see if you’re a part of the crazy exceptional 1% of the people who with your personal situation, it’s better for you to wait. Spoiler alert, it’s not.
I’ve been getting this question for many years and I finally decided to answer the question in this newfangled technology called a podcast. I may have mentioned the episodes where I talked about it. I even recorded real people who went through this with me. They bought a home and they shared their thoughts about it on the show. Still, I consistently get DMs that say, “This is crazy. I’ve been paying attention to housing forever. It’s been eighteen months nonstop. This market is bananas. It has to crash. That means I have to wait it out. It doesn’t make any sense.” Please listen to episode 40, 44, 47, 48, 53, 55, 62 and 68.
The big 20% guideline and the must not break mathematical rule has to take into account these predictions on pricing and mortgage interest rates. If it’s just a big simple rule, it doesn’t take that stuff into account. Remember the larger and the better thought that I gave to you, that decisions should be based on the individual client’s long-term, personal and financial goals related to homeownership, and how these goals line up with the current market conditions.
Why isn’t that on TikTok? Why isn’t that the big popular thing that people are screaming to get you to come to buy houses with them? Because it’s boring as crap but it makes sense. It’s not as simple for everyone to digest but with the right direction, I believe that you can benefit so much more and the math is going to back it up.
This is still the math section. The money you put towards a home downpayment, a percentage of that would be going towards your principal paydown of the home instead of being thrown away. What does that mean? There are mountains of data on how the longer you own something and pay it down, the more appreciating asset that you’re going to be creating, which will then increase your wealth.
We did the 4.5-year model with you saving $1,000 a month to get 20% down. You would have paid $120,232 in rent, which goes towards nothing, or you could have purchased a home, paid that same monthly payment, and a percentage of that goes towards the home. That’s an asset that you own. Will the entire monthly payment that you pay go towards reducing the principal of your home? No. Is it a debt? Yes. Does Dave Ramsey hate debt? Yes.
A portion of the money that you would already be throwing away monthly on your rent can go towards decreasing the principal on that new house that you own. It’s something that you own. It’s called managed debt. This is not a credit card payment for something that you bought a long time ago when you shouldn’t have bought anyway because you couldn’t afford to buy cash at the time. This is managed debt for a necessity item. Meaning it’s something that you’re going to have to pay for anyway. If managed correctly, it can be a large portion of your future financial portfolio.
For a lot of you, it might be the biggest part of what you’re doing forward. You’re taking the same monthly payment, the largest monthly bill that you pay and you’re putting it towards something that you own. If you stick with it for years, it’s going to go up and it will go down. Historically, in every housing market, except one, the giant crash of 2008, if you own a home for ten years and they did this all the way back to the revolutionary war. I have no idea how they figured out housing stats back then, but if you own it for ten years, you always come out ahead.
If you’re saving for 20%, you don’t even start that process. That’s where your rent money goes. If you decide to transfer it with 5% down, your rent money goes into a conservative appreciating asset, which costs you about the same rent that you already pay, and you’re getting zero return. You can buy that asset for 5% down, but many of my buyers buy for 3.5% down. If you’re still out there and you’re still seeding because you love Dave Ramsey and these numbers didn’t go with you, just a little moment of pause. I’m not going to judge you yet because that’s not what we do. I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me. Let’s keep talking and stay curious.
I believe Dave is a man with his heart in the right place, but his advice is old-school and conservative that if you have even an ounce of self-discipline, you can set yourself and your family up in better ways. Beyond the numbers, I threw a ton of numbers out at you. Feel free to print them out and review them at HowToBuyAHome.com.
Returns On Investments
I will now get to the philosophy side of things. When you work a budget, lots of financial gurus have a lot of different philosophies. One thing they always talk about is the have-to monthly payments like food, shelter, utilities and transportation. If you wanted, you can go nuts and you can spend a ton of money on that and live your bougie life. You spend way too much and live over your means, but let’s assume that you are hardcore budgeting frugal McGee and you live way below your means. You never go out. You binge in your house like a hermit and you’re sucking down ramen like crack cocaine.
Let’s assume you are a saver. Good for you. Good job and you’re on a budget. Can you gain wealth with one of those have-to payments? Only a small return on your savings that you’re going to get, albeit long-term returns on investments and retirement. Don’t forget those savings and investments are not part of your have-to. Your have-to are food, shelter, utilities and transportation. Can you somehow gain with that?
There are schools of thought that believe it’s time to change the old-school dinosaur narrative. For those of you that live in the real world of the 2020s, your rent is a have-to payment every month. It’s a shelter and you can turn it into a long-term wealth builder. Imagine your car payment went to an appreciating asset instead of a depreciating one. For those of you who don’t drive, imagine that you had a $50 a month bill for electricity.
Let’s say that you’re $50 a month electricity bill was $2,000 instead of $50. What if you could buy a generator that costs you $2,000 a month of payments, but the $2,000 a month payment that you pay for goes towards owning the generator that at some point, you wouldn’t have a bill anymore. The generator costs $375,000. It’s a debt but it’s a have-to necessity that you are already going to pay anyway. You need electricity. You need a roof.
In the 2020s where we’re here now in this market, when you can borrow money for such a low-interest rate for that have-to payment, why would you try to work to save the larger amount? We know your rents are going to go up. The one thing about buying a house is that it’s fixed and it stays. For many of you, including me in the 1990s, this is a have-to that for some reason seems scary to you like it did to me back in the 1990s. I couldn’t figure out a way in the simplest terms to make it work for me.
The day that you start renting, this becomes a have-to payment. That fear that you have was derived from the old thinking. It’s outdated philosophies and now, they aren’t giving you any credit. You’re never going to earn any more money or you’re not going to have any success in life, or it’s financial advice geared at people that may have a lifelong salary like a factory worker from the 1950s who knows exactly what they’re going to be making, and what their earning potential is for life. This keeps you safe because God forbid, you could ever use your brain and figure out some information and see how to build wealth a different way.
Do you remember the story that I told you in one of my old episodes about the postman who made $17,000 a year, but once he realized that if he put an extra 20% away, he could make a ton of money? He never made more than $20,000 a year. He retired with $70 million something. Philosophies changed. Things changed. Dave says, “You shouldn’t buy a house unless you have 20% down.” I totally disagree.
I debated this fact with one of my fellow podcasters, a very successful podcast called How To Money, Joel. He came on my podcast. It was episode 15. I respect Joel immensely. I discussed it with Joel. I thought about trying to talk to Dave but he’s busy. He doesn’t like people disagreeing with him. What did I do instead of having a discussion with Dave because I knew he wouldn’t talk to me? I researched. I went back and I listened to all of his published stuff. I also listened to him being interviewed about him and his company. That was great because I got to hear why he does what he does.
It was great because I got curious. To a lot of people, he’s a hero. He’s changed a lot of lives. He saved a lot of lives. Do I agree with everything that he says? No. Do I agree that his intentions are earnest and come from a good place and wholesome? Yes. From what I’ve heard and when I hear him speak, he’s a man who personally struggled with crippling debt and bankruptcy himself. He came out on the other side so he decided to dedicate himself to helping others so that they never have the awful feeling that he lived with for years.
Out With The Old Philosophies
In my book, that’s plain noble. He helps people feel better, but one of the ways he does it is by you adopting a safe and foolproof system. You never have to worry if you follow his plan, but like all financial philosophies, there are principles that are so safe that it still has room to adapt and still be very fiscally prudent. I was going to stay still stay safe, but it’s not as safe as the ultimate conservative, but it’s still very safe. Especially when we’re talking about the have-to that you already paid for that you can manage this debt. It’s a managed debt, even though Dave’s whole thing is all debt is awful.
If you’re already spending $2,000 a month for nothing, there has to be a way for you to leverage that. Smart managed debt with income that is earmarked to be spent on shelter. Sometimes because America is such a debt-ridden society, we swing the pendulum way too far and try to get people to save. I know some of you are going to use this information and abuse it. I can’t help it. People do that.
I’ve said it over and over again. I’m going to sleep fine knowing that I already told my audience, there is no one blanket answer for everyone, yet people are going to do it. I do believe that most of you have a lot of room to work here. You can handle it. I’m simply pointing out the math of waiting and letting you make the decision.
When I took the time and I researched it, I looked at it and I realized that in many ways, Dave’s philosophy of doing this thing so safe is not a wealth builder. It’s a salary protector. His philosophy is trying to save people. I want to uplift people. I said that we have a huge debt problem in the United States and Canada too, but if you have all your stuff together and you know your numbers, you’re going to see that it’s a waste to be renting in this new era.
I say new because these philosophies are 20 and 30 years old. Dave hasn’t shifted these super conservative and safe philosophies, even with all the hate that he’s getting now. He’s ignoring the important changing factors that we have. We’ve got rent hikes, low-interest rates, rising inflation, and not to mention any theory on having no credit cards because he’s trying to make sure that people absolutely can’t get themselves in trouble again.
Good luck trying to buy a house when you don’t have any credit. Buying a home is the easiest way you can accumulate any stability since you have already made your largest monthly payment to rent. The math is there. If you’re one of those people who has a nice, slow and steady life that you’re very happy with, maybe you’re getting a 3% salary increase. Are you telling me that’s going to cover rent? If the rents are raised even as little as 4%, you can’t ever save anything. That’s just one part of the equation.
There are a million different financial consultants that tell you the exact opposite things when it comes to a mortgage. Some say to pay it off as quickly as you can and never have a mortgage. That’s what Dave says. Some say the exact opposite and they say, “You always want to have a mortgage and you want to use the leverage so that you can do different things with your finances.” I’m not a financial consultant but I can advise you that for most people, if you follow a blanket statement that’s ultraconservative, you have no options.
I’m not saying to go all the way to the other side, but I am saying that cash is king. If you’re leveraging this smartly managed debt, you do have the options because you’ll have more cash and you’re working with a low-interest loan. I know that statement freaks a lot of people out. I’m not talking about putting low money down on a house so you can take the rest of your savings and spend it on crypto or NFTs, or anything nuts like that. I’m not telling you to put it into your startup company or to invest in some crazy stock.
I’m talking about leveraging the loan for your have-to payment that you have to make every month, so you can have some extra cash for yourself to handle the ups and downs of life. This doesn’t come from a risky get-rich-quick scheme. I’m not trying to sell you a seminar and tell you to come and buy my investment properties. This is not coming from a capitalistic view trying to tell you to buy cheap homes and use the extra money to come and learn how to be even richer with me.
It certainly doesn’t come from me because I want you to come to me and buy a house from me for my business. That’s not why I started the show. Shows go everywhere. How many of you are going to come to me? I give you the facts, the market history and then I asked you exactly where you are. For some of you out there, you might be where I was when I was 21 years old. Maybe you don’t want to waste $104,000 in rent as I did in the 1990s.
This is not a sales pitch to beef my sales. This is me telling as many people as I can about this. I spit the knowledge and I dropped the truth bombs because I discovered I could help more people by doing it here in this show. At this point in my life as an old guy, this is what I want to do. I want to help you guys out. I don’t care how many people buy houses now and if you read this, you know I don’t care that people buy houses to save the real estate industry.
In fact, I want to start a revolution. I want to burn the whole real estate industry down and start over. I want to see things on a fair and equitable level playing field. One where first-time buyers get real and earnest advice to help them plan, not just to help them purchase when they’re ready. In the meantime, I’m just going to tell you what’s up. If it’s right for you and you have the opportunity to take advantage of it, go for it. Real estate is all about timing. The timing of your have-to housing payment with the timing of the ever-changing and ever-fluid housing market. This is about you and what you can do in nowadays’ market to help yourself.
Be safe but you can be safe in a way to take advantage of what’s happening now. Dave is telling you how to be ultra-safe and ultra-smart. That is going to work for everyone but it’s also going to miss some big opportunities. It’s not risks, just sensible math and opportunities in the modern world with different rents and different interest rates. I believe in you and your ability to be smarter. I don’t think you need to be spoon-fed the simplest way to do things.
Let’s think about a foolproof plan. A foolproof plan means that somebody thinks you’re a fool. You’re smarter than that. You can see the math. You can make your own choices. You can realize what is a risk and what isn’t a risk. You can use that and live your best life. Some ultra-conservative financial systems are fantastic for some people. Setting good foundations where no one gets in trouble and they are safe for everybody, but I’m here for the next step.
That sounds like I’m trying to say, “You’re ready. Let’s go.” No, I’m saying the first step for a lot of you doesn’t have to be so crazy like feet in quicksand. I’m not talking ten steps ahead like some guy trying to sell you something. Even if you believe that the next step is safe for you. I do want to make sure everyone understands that this isn’t for everyone. You should be careful in anything that you do because this is going to be the biggest debt of your life. My goal is to help the folks who can grasp this math, but understand also that the math isn’t that complicated. Go back and read it.
It’s not something that a lot of people in the industry take the time to explain to you. That’s why I started the show. My intention comes from that place. I want to educate as many of you as I can. Why? Just like Dave has got a backstory, I’ve got a backstory too. I didn’t go bankrupt as Dave did. I didn’t have my life destroyed, but someone could have told me back when I was 21 years old that maybe if I thought about buying a house instead of renting and spending $104,000 of rent over those 8, 9 years when I lived in Hollywood, I would have financially set myself up with hundreds of thousands of dollars, instead of getting back my $1,500 security deposit when I was 28 years old.
I agree with Dave on being a person who once missed out on financial opportunities. His was a lot deeper than mine. He went bankrupt. I learned something. I wasn’t destitute in my twenties but I did learn how much I missed. I’m trying to educate you and help you guys be financially free. When I started the show, what was interesting is people used to ask me, “Why are you wasting your time giving this free advice away to people who are our lowest paychecks? How does that make any business sense for you?” I used to say, “Because I want to be the Dave Ramsey to first-time homebuyers.”
Like Dave, my goal is to help as larger an audience as I can and make good decisions for a topic that I feel isn’t discussed enough. It’s the same way that he feels about savings. It’s not being discussed enough in America. With first time home buying, you’re not getting enough good advice. You’re not getting talked to. I’ve seen the math work when mortgage rates were at 7% back in 2006. I’ve seen it work when the mortgage rate is at 2.66%. A lot of times in a lot of places in this country, rent equals mortgage.
As you’ve made this decision that you don’t want to live with your parents forever and that you don’t want to rent forever, what’s next? That means you’re going to buy a home. Part of that decision should be based on the fact of when interest rates go up to 4%, 5%, 6% or 7%, then the math starts making way more sense that you need to get that mortgage as soon as you can and lock it in.
You’re going to lock in a low payment and those low rates are the lowest in history, and they’re going to go up while you save the 20%. That means that you’re going to be buying fewer houses with the exact same monthly payment. Does that make sense to you? If it doesn’t, please don’t blow this theory off until you understand it. Because of where the rates are right now and prices are moving, this is a huge decision that you need to be jumping into right now.
You need to understand all the math, all the market trends, and all the calculations. There is no blanket statement. I wish there was. I’m sorry but there isn’t. Bless your heart, Dave, but I totally disagree with you on this one. I’m sure when this rule was originally made, rates were double than they were now and rents were a lot cheaper and not out of control.
If you’re not good with money and you can’t figure this all out, then maybe going safe is a better call for you. Go for it. That’s fine. Save your 20%, but if you’re feeling stuck and you’re feeling like the system screwed you, and you won’t ever be able to make this work, and you want to understand your options, be curious about this, not judgmental. Let the math be your guide.
This is a message for the twenty-somethings that think the system is rigged. This is a message for the 30-somethings out there who want a lifeline. This is a message for the 40 and 50-somethings out there who are trying to build a legacy now, instead of just surviving. These are some positive options to help you beat the system. That 20% down feels like a lot to have to save. Maybe that’s not your option.
Between Black And White
If you are one of those twenty-somethings now who’s reading this and you’re realizing that you can take advantage of it, not pull Sidoni in his twenties, go for it. Maybe you’re afraid. I understand that. Being super safe and living debt-free is the most basic way to live. It’s the easiest way for you to avoid any failure. You can hide all your money under a rock and you’re going to be safe. You can also go the other way. You can take all your money and you can buy Bitcoin, trading cards, NFTs, and do all kinds of crazy things. The world isn’t black and white. There’s a huge valley in between those two extremes. Somewhere in there, even over more towards the conservative side, you can safely still take advantage of the current marketplace and build your wealth.
Dave is old-school and holding onto an old idea. The old guard of real estate is doing the same thing. Twenty percent is an idea from a simpler time. Don’t get confused. I’m not saying that times have changed and the Millennials all got screwed. The older generation doesn’t understand, and we can’t figure out what to do because the 1% screwed us, “You have no idea what it is because you ruined it for us.” I sympathize with a lot of those thoughts but I’m far more practical. I’m looking at the math.
Dave’s system is trying to make sure that you’re not going to fail. It’s simple. It’s 1, 2, 3. It’s don’t do debt. Debt is bad. Unmanaged debt is bad. America has a problem. Don’t do it. I hear that, but right now for some of you, your best course of action might be to go safe. Maybe you can’t handle this, but many of you who feel like those Millennials I was talking about, that the system is working against you, there’s an opportunity for you. It’s just that not a lot of people out there are telling you.
The math is different now and the old algorithms don’t cut it anymore. All this is predicated only if you’ve done your own personal math. Marketing people tell me all the time that I need to make it simple for everybody and give everybody a 1, 2, 3 on how to buy a home. I wish I could but I won’t because it’s wrong.
I want you to be safe and prosperous at the same time. There’s only one way you can do that. You got to work out your personal math. That’s not 1, 2, 3. It takes work. If you don’t want to do it, don’t say that I told you that you can run out and buy a home without doing the research because that plan is whack and you’re going to get in trouble. I’m telling you, you can do this. I’ve got a lot of friends who are right-brainers. They are creative types and they hate all the numbers.
They call me and they grill me with the math questions. They want me to explain to them how to buy a home and I try to explain it to them. After five minutes because I don’t have pretty charts and all kinds of fancy graphics, they say “Forget it.” I said, “Screw them.” I’m tired of helping all my creative friends and I decided to start a show for anyone who would listen. I’m going to buy myself an artist loft and rent it out to all those yahoos. For you, it doesn’t take that much.
My friends have the attention span of a gnat. You can figure this out. How do you do it? How do you make your own personal plan? Don’t do it on your own. You need a super bad unicorn real estate team. That’s not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning good. You need a unicorn realtor and lender. You need a guide in your area. It’s a team that’s going to take a look at your full financial picture. It’s not going to be a simple 1, 2, 3. It’s going to be more like a 1, 2, 3, 7, 5, 9, right, left, toggle.
If you’re still out there and you’re still reading now, God bless you. You must want to figure this out or you’re Dave Ramsey’s legal team and you’re getting every piece of information to build a case against me. I totally disagree with Dave’s philosophy on when to pull the trigger. If you’d like to do it and you’re curious and you want to go deeper into your own personal numbers, the easy way to do is to reach out. Send me DM. I’m @DavidSidoni on Instagram. It’s also DavidSidoni.com or HowToBuyAHome.com. Fill out the information and I’ll let you know if we know any good unicorns in your area.
I’ve had hundreds of buyers that have followed this show and I’ve hooked them up with someone in their area who helps them with their own personal situation because it’s the right thing to do. I believe in this. If you want to reach out to me and send me your questions, that’s awesome. I’ll take a look at them and I’ll see if I can answer it for you, but not unless you’ve read all those shows and got the information.
If you’re out there researching other people, great. Make sure you check the source. Make sure that they have a track record and they come from a good place. Unfortunately, even with Uncle Dave, sometimes people come from a good place, it’s not necessarily still keeping up with the times. The bottom line is if you want to do this, you should be fully informed on how and when to do it. Find the resources that can help you because if you read this entire episode, you are serious about this. That means I know that you can do this.
- How To Money
- Episode 15 – Past Episode
- Episode 54 – Past Episode
- Episode 47– Past Episode
- Episode 48 – Past Episode
- Episode 62 – Past Episode
- Episode 68 – Past Episode
- Episode 40 – Past Episode
- Episode 44 – Past Episode
- Episode 53 – Past Episode
- Episode 55 – Past Episode
- @DavidSidoni – Instagram
This podcast was started for YOU, to demystify things for first time home buyers, and help crush the confusion. After helping first timers for over 13 years, I knew there wasn’t t a lot of clear, tangible, useable information out there on the internet, so I started this podcast. Help me spread the word to other people just like you, dying for answers. Tell your friends, family, and perhaps that random neighbor you REALLY want to move out about How to Buy a Home! A really easy way is to hit the share button and text it to your friends. Go for it, help someone out. And if you’re not already a regular listener, subscribe and get constant updates on the market. If you are a regular and learned something, help me help others – give the show a quick review in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, or write a review on Spotify. Let’s change the way the real estate industry treats you first time buyers, one buyer at a time, starting with you – and make sure your favorite people don’t get screwed by going into this HUGE step blind and confused. Viva la Unicorn Revolution!