Collection: Warren Buffett - #92 Investing 'When To Buy A House?'

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

Video Link: https://youtu.be/xG-VBXSRaTE

In this episode, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger were asked for some insight on when is the best time to buy a house and how much down payment should be putting down, in relation to interest rates and also in relation to available cash and the stock market.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What is Buffett and Munger views on when to buy a house?

  • How much Warren Buffett put down as down payment for his house.

  • The story of Warren Buffett when he just got married and deciding whether to buy a house now or later.

To check out all Collection: Warren Buffett <click here>


(Source: https://buffett.cnbc.com/video/1998/05/04/afternoon-session---1998-berkshire-hathaway-annual-meeting.html)

~ Please visit the site above for full video of Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


Hello. My name’s Nelson Arata (PH), I’m from Southern California. And I have a question. It’s not really related to intrinsic value or any of that stock stuff, but more on — (laughter) — houses. I’m still quite young, I don’t have a house yet and I’m thinking about buying a house someday soon.

And in order to do that I’m going to have to put a down payment, which means I might have to sell my shares. And I was wondering if you can provide some insight on when is the best time to buy a house and how much down payment — (laughter) — you should be putting down, in relation to interest rates and also in relation to available cash and the stock market. WARREN BUFFETT 00:58

Well, Charlie’s going to give you an answer to that in a second. I’ll just relay one story, which was when I got married we did have about $10,000 starting off, and I told Susie, I said, “Now, you know, there’s two choices, it’s up to you. We can either buy a house, which will use up all my capital and clean me out, and it’ll be like a carpenter who’s had his tools taken away for him. (Laughs) “Or you can let me work on this and someday, who knows, maybe I’ll even buy a little bit larger house than would otherwise be the case.” So she was very understanding on that point. And we waited until 1956. We got married in 1952.

And I decided to buy a house when it was about — when the down payment was about 10 percent or so of my net worth, because I really felt I wanted to use the capital for other purposes. But that was a way different environment in terms of what was available to buy. In effect, if you have the house you want to buy, you know, I definitely believe in just going out and probably getting the job done. But in effect, you’re probably making something in the area of a 7 or 8 percent investment, implicitly, when you do it. So you know, you’ll have to figure out your own equation from that. Charlie probably has better advice on that. He’s a big homeowner — (laughter) — in both senses of the word. CHARLIE MUNGER 02:39

I think the time to buy a house is when you need one. (Laughter) WARREN BUFFETT 02:44

And when do you need one? CHARLIE MUNGER 02:46

Well, I have very old-fashioned ideas on that, too. The single people, I don’t care if they ever get a house. (Laughter) WARREN BUFFETT 03:02

When do you need one if you’re married, Charlie? I’ll follow up for the — (Laughter) You need one when your wife wants one. CHARLIE MUNGER 03:09

Yeah, yes. (Laughter) I think you’ve got that exactly right. (Laughter) VOICE 03:15

Mr. Buffett? WARREN BUFFETT 03:16

Yeah. VOICE 03:16

May I make an announcement? WARREN BUFFETT 03:17

Sure. VOICE 03:19

Gregory Crawford needs to go to the security office, please, for emergency message. Gregory Crawford to the security office for emergency message. Thank you. WARREN BUFFETT 03:30

OK, hope it isn’t a margin call. (Laughter) OK, we’ll go to zone 1, please.

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