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Ask McEnearney: How long should I plan on owning a home to make it a good investment?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Hope Peele of The Peele Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact The Peele Group at 703-244-6115 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How long should I plan on owning a home to make it a good investment?

Answer: Purchasing a home is one of the most significant financial decisions that one can make, and many wonder how long they should plan on owning a home to make it a good investment. If you plan to live in the home for many years, this may be less of a concern.

However, if there is a possibility that you might need to move within a few years, you are likely wondering how long you need to own it to recoup your investment. While there isn’t a definitive answer that applies universally, you will want to consider market conditions, potential for building equity, and your own financial goals when evaluating the ideal length of homeownership in the bustling D.C. metro area.

Understanding the ups and downs of the local housing market is essential for making an informed decision. While none of us have a crystal ball that will show us the future, looking at the market trends can give us a fairly good idea of what could happen. Researching trends, and consulting with a local real estate professional, can provide valuable insights into homes in the D.C. metro area. If you’ve lived in this area for any length of time, you probably already know how neighborhood-specific market trends can be, so it’s important to choose an agent who knows how to do their research.

Of course, a good rule of thumb is the longer you own a home, the more equity you gain. However, this isn’t always true, and it is important to get advice from a professional. A real estate professional can look at past sales in the neighborhood you are considering, as well as evaluate the condition of the home, as it compares to those sales.

Upcoming developments are another thing to consider. If there are projected growth projects close-by, it is more likely that your investment will grow more quickly.

Another thing to consider is the potential for renting the home. Some homeowners choose to leave the area, or upsize into a larger home, but want to keep the home for investment purposes. While being a landlord can come with its own challenges, it can also be rewarding in the long term, as your property builds equity. Your Realtor can advise you on projected rental income, even before you purchase the home.

Beyond market conditions and equity, your personal financial goals should shape your decision-making process. If you envision staying in your home for an extended period, the focus might shift from immediate profits to long-term stability and a comfortable living environment for many years. In such cases, the investment value lies in the overall lifestyle benefits, along with the potential for future appreciation.

Ultimately, there is no fixed timeframe that guarantees a successful investment in real estate. Various factors influence the profitability of homeownership, and the optimal length of ownership differs from one individual to another.

We are fortunate that the D.C. Metro area is a highly sought-after region and that we have a robust real estate market. Determining the ideal length of homeownership in the D.C. metro area is a nuanced process. By evaluating your own priorities and seeking the professional advice of an experienced Realtor, you can make an informed decision about the length of homeownership that maximizes the investment potential of any home that you are considering.

Hope Peele is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia. She grew up in Old Town and currently lives in Del Ray. As a partner with The Peele Group, Hope is dedicated to guiding her clients successfully through the many-faceted process of buying or selling a home. Contact Hope at 703-244-6115.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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