Buying a House the Kids Will Inherit

Technically, I should title this “Soon I will be buying a house the kids will inherit.” I am only 36 years old and am the semi-proud owner of 2 houses. You must think I am rolling in the dough to own 2 homes, but I assure you that neither is a summer house in the Hamptons. And to be honest, even if I could buy a house in the Hamptons, I probably wouldn’t because I am insufficiently experienced in socializing with rich people. Partly because I am just not rich and partly because security always stops me when I jump over the gate.

So, back to my 2 houses. I mean, I guess I could have shopped in the Hamptons, but instead I settled for a 2 bed/2 bath duplex in Memphis, TN for which I paid $98k back in 2005. Talk about a downgrade! But I got a VA loan due to having just returned from Iraq and I was sick of apartment life. Unfortunately, I was also among the zillions of people apparently too stupid to realize that this thing called the housing market was about to crash and burn.

But it was no problem for a single guy like me to live in a little house, because hey, it was just me. Well, in walks 2007 when I met a girl and said, “I want to procreate with her!” (It’s much more romantic than it sounds, I promise.) So 1 wife and 1 kid later, it was time to move. I couldn’t sell the house because it was underwater, so we became landlords by necessity and bought a house with twice the square footage for … wait for it … $98k in 2011. That’s right, 2 houses for under 200k. Suck it, Hamptons!

Well, fast forward to 1 wife and 3 kids and a plan to move across the entire country from Memphis to the Pacific Northwest. And let me tell you this, the next house I buy had damn well better be the one I can grow old and grey in because I am sick of this starter house crapola. At 36 years old, I desire a home I can live in long term and perhaps actually pay off the mortgage. What a concept!

I want to be as certain that my next house is THE one as I was in knowing that my wife was THE one I wanted to procreate with. That means a lot. It doesn’t have to be a fancy mansion. I am actually a pretty simple guy. But it needs to be the right one, with enough room for family and a little land to play with. Far enough out from the city, but close enough to get what I need. I want this to be the home my kids will inherit.

You see, I never really thought about inheritance much because, unless you can inherit debt, I am not getting anything from my parents. And at this point in my life, I don’t have much of anything to pass on to my kids. I spent my adult life working for a non-profit and for the Marine Corps and let me tell you, there is no book titled, “Non-Profits and the Marines; the Fast Track to Riches.”

But I want this next house, this next move, to be the first asset actually worth passing on. I’m done leaping from starter home to starter home or rental to rental. I just want my own little piece of America. I don’t care that my children may sell it after I am gone to pay for a Space Shuttle ticket to Jupiter or wherever is cool in those days. That is not the point. I work hard and want to have something to pass on to my kids. I want it done right.

So I guess I am officially a grown up now and this is part of what they call “estate planning.” I guess the whole thing doesn’t begin and end with a simple will. It is also about deciding what I want my kids to have and how I want to feel about what they get.

It is 2015 and this is my official line in the sand. My next house will be the one my children will inherit. And if I play my cards right, they may even get something more. If things don’t go so well, they may also get that tiny 2005 peak of the market home because, at the rate things are going, I may be upside down on that house until I die. But at least this is a start.


Jeff Edwards is an awesome blogger, who isn’t exactly doing it to get rich, and is better known for writing “A blog about stuff” called Unprecedented Mediocrity. He is a guest contributor to Estate Map, and lucky for us, can work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.