Avoid Being “House Rich, Cash Poor”

Starkey Howes & Javer Home Loans

Recently, a client was trying to understand how much home he could afford in the current Denver real estate market. Over the course of his home search, his maximum price point grew from $500,000 to $700,000 as he discovered how much it would take to purchase a home that fit within his criteria. The lender had approved him for the higher amount, so he assumed it was something he could comfortably afford. In addition, he had used several online “Home Affordability Calculators” that justified his inflated price point.

Thankfully he came to us before any of his offers were accepted. We calculated his new expected housing costs relative to his gross annual income, taxes, savings goals, and monthly obligations. In the end, he opted for the lower mortgage price point we proposed and was relieved that it would allow him to continue supporting his family and saving for long-term goals, many of which he would have had to forego had he chosen the higher priced home.

After our meeting, we reviewed several of the online “Home Affordability Calculators” by plugging in our own information and the results were breathtaking. The suggested home price points we received were also dramatically inflated.

Therefore, when you are shopping for your next home, we suggest taking a look at the difference between the approved home loan amount and the home loan amount that is appropriate for your own personal financial situation. Oftentimes, the two numbers are vastly different.

Why might this be the case? Although monthly obligations (debt, child support, etc.) and long-term savings are often considered in the mortgage lender’s calculation, the assumed savings (for retirement, education, etc.) are typically insufficient to reach your goals.

The term “house rich, cash poor” is a common term for being in the predicament where you’ve got lots of home, but not a lot of cash to meet your other needs. In order to avoid this destiny, we suggest working with a Certified Financial Planner™ to find the appropriate price point when purchasing a new home. If you are interested in a complimentary consultation or meeting with your current advisor, please do not hesitate to call us at 303-639-5100.

One thought on “Avoid Being “House Rich, Cash Poor”

  1. Stephen,

    If you customer in this instance is over 62, a reverse mortgage for purchase may make a lot of sense. If for the sake of the exercise, your customers were a 75 year old couple. With a FHA reverse mortgage for purchase they could buy the 500k home with approx 150k down payment and never make mortgage payments in retirement.

    If your couple had just sold their home and netted 300k, they could buy a 500k home and keep 150k of the proceeds from the sale. Great HECM product on the rise.


    Richard Stewart
    HomeBridge financial services


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