Pros And Cons Of Buying A House With Cash
Molly Grace5-minute read
November 30, 2020
If you can afford to buy a house with cold, hard cash, should you?
Buying a home with cash is an increasingly uncommon occurrence, especially as rising home prices outpace income growth. The median home sale price is currently at $324,900, making it difficult for even the most diligent of savers to pull together enough cash to buy their home outright. Most buyers – 87% of recent home buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – finance their purchase, using a loan to cover the cost.
However, if you have the money in your bank account, buying a house with cash might seem like the smart financial move. If you’re considering jumping into the market as a cash buyer, here are some things to think about.
Can You Buy A House With Cash?
When we talk about buying a house with cash, we don’t mean literally – you won’t be showing up to closing with a suspicious briefcase full of $100 bills.
A cash buyer is someone who is using their own funds to cover the full purchase price of the home, meaning they aren’t taking out a loan. These funds could come from savings, investments or the sale of another property.
Why might you want to purchase a home without a loan?
Buying a house “with cash” can benefit both the buyer and the seller with a faster closing process than with a mortgage loan. Paying in cash also forgoes interest and can mean lower closing costs.
Pros Of Paying Cash For A House
Cash Buyers Are Often More Attractive To Sellers
If you’re in a competitive market, being a cash buyer can give you a leg up against buyers who plan to finance their purchase.
Sellers often prefer to work with cash buyers if they can because they don’t have to worry about a buyer’s financing falling through at the last minute, as can happen with mortgages if the buyer isn’t able to get approval.
Plus, because cash-only transactions typically happen faster, sellers who are eager to close might be more willing to negotiate with a cash buyer than they would a borrower with a mortgage.
No Mortgage Payments, Interest Or Other Fees
Not having a monthly housing payment is a pretty great perk. Paying in cash means you get to skip the mortgage process and all the costs and fees that come with it, including interest rates or mortgage insurance.
Skipping out on interest can save you a lot of money in the long run. Say, for example, you take out a 30-year loan for $300,000 to buy a home. Your interest rate is 3.5%.
Once the 30 years are up and you’ve paid back the $300,000 principal, you’ll have spent an additional $184,968 on interest. If you pay in cash, that’s money you get to keep in your wallet.
Avoiding a monthly mortgage payment can be especially beneficial if you’re using cash to buy a second home or investment property; this means no extra mortgage payment to worry about each month and a larger profit margin on rental income.
Lower Closing Costs
When you get a mortgage, your lender will charge you for certain services that add to the amount you’ll owe at closing. This includes things like lender fees, an application fee, loan origination fees or discount points. You may also have other costs related to the loan or home purchase that are required by the lender, such as a lender’s title insurance policy.
When you pay in cash, you won’t have to deal with lender-related closing costs, which translates to lower closing costs for you.
From start to finish, the closing process when you purchase a home with a mortgage can take over a month. By contrast, when you buy with cash, it’s possible to close on a home in as little as a week or two.
When you aren’t getting a mortgage to buy a home, you don’t have to wait for the lender to approve, underwrite and process your loan, significantly cutting down on the amount of time you’ll spend waiting to close.
Simpler Closing Process
Barring any unforeseen issues, the closing process will also likely be a little easier on you when you pay with cash, since you won’t be responsible for keeping track of all the documentation borrowers need to send to their mortgage lenders.
Your Home Is Yours
The monthly mortgage payment is a big expense for homeowners, and if you experience financial difficulties, not being able to make those payments puts you at risk of losing your house.
When you own your home outright, you don’t have to worry about losing your home to foreclosure (as long as you make payments on other things that could put your home at risk if you become delinquent, such as your property taxes).
The peace of mind of knowing you’ll always have a roof over your head can be one of the biggest and most consequential benefits of buying a home with cash.
Cons Of Paying Cash For A House
Your Money Is Tied Up In The House
When you pay for a house using cash, you’re putting a large portion of your money into an asset that is fairly illiquid, meaning you can’t tap into that money easily or quickly.
For example, if you end up in financial trouble and need money fast, it’s easier to pull money from a savings account than it is to put your house up for sale, market it to potential buyers, negotiate a contract, close and then collect the proceeds from the sale.
If you have enough cash to purchase a home without a mortgage, it’s worth at least considering what your goals are and if that money could be put to better use elsewhere. You might, for example, see better returns by putting that money into investments or bolstering your retirement savings. Or, perhaps it makes more sense to use a mortgage to purchase the property and then use some of the cash you have in savings to make improvements or renovations to your new home.
While owning your home outright can provide great peace of mind, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your overall financial security. If you have to use all your savings to do it, you could end up in a spot where you have no emergency savings for unexpected costs and no money to make necessary repairs to your new home.
Cash Buyers Miss Out On Mortgage Tax Deductions
If you itemize your deductions, you could be missing out on the mortgage interest deduction, which allows homeowners with a mortgage to deduct interest paid on the first $750,000 of their mortgage, reducing their taxable income.
If you forgo a mortgage, obviously, you won’t have this option.
Additional Expenses Still Apply
Just because you don’t have a mortgage doesn’t mean you’re completely free of regular housing-related payments.
There will still be property taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowners association dues and utility bills. You’ll also need to budget a certain amount of money each year to be put towards regular repairs and maintenance of your property.
Should You Buy A House With Cash?
If you’re considering buying a house with cash, you might first consider consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional who can look at your individual situation and give you an idea of how that might affect your finances.
Some things to think about include the opportunity cost, how much liquidity you require in your financial portfolio and what the tax benefits and consequences might be.
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