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Is Homeownership a Dream or Debt Trap? Grant Cardone’s Surprising Insights and Better Alternatives Unveiled!


Homeownership – for many, it's a core part of the American dream. It symbolizes stability, security, and a place to call your own. But what if that dream comes with a hefty price tag that hinders your financial goals? Real estate investor Grant Cardone argues that for many Americans, buying a house might be the worst investment they can make.

He provided an example of investing $576,000 in a home that you retain for 10 years. Additionally, Cardone mentioned that over a decade, you would also incur the following fees atop that substantial sum:

  • 12%, or $69,120, in broker fees;
  • 10%, or $57,600, in maintenance fees;
  • 20%, or $115,200, in property taxes; and
  • 70%, or $403,200, to the bank

The sum of those amounts totals $645,120, which, when added to the initial home price of $576,000, results in a substantial total of $1,221,120.

"A home purchased for $576,000 would need to be sold for $1.2 million in 10 years," Cardone remarked. "But realistically, it's unlikely to fetch that price just to break even."

He characterized this scenario as "dead money" - a term referring to an investment that either exhibits minimal value growth or is tied up for an extended period with limited returns.

This blog post dives into Cardone's perspective, explores the potential downsides of homeownership, and offers alternative investment options like rental properties and REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) to consider on your wealth-building journey.

Grant Cardone: Why Homeownership Might Not Be the Golden Ticket

Cardone, a self-made millionaire through real estate investing, believes many people blindly chase homeownership without considering the true costs. He highlights several factors that can turn a house into a financial burden:

  • Hidden Expenses: The purchase price is just the tip of the iceberg. You'll also face ongoing costs like property taxes, maintenance, insurance, and broker fees. Cardone argues that these expenses can significantly eat into potential returns.
  • Limited Liquidity: Unlike stocks or bonds, you can't easily sell your house for quick cash. This lack of liquidity can restrict your ability to access capital for other investments or emergencies.
  • "Dead Money": Cardone views a house as "dead money" because it might not appreciate significantly compared to other investments. He argues that the money tied up in a mortgage payment could be better used for investments with higher potential returns.

Is There Truth to Cardone’s Claims?

There's merit to Cardone's arguments. Here's a closer look:

  • Costs Add Up: Closing costs, property taxes, maintenance, and repairs are ongoing expenses that reduce your potential profit when you eventually sell.
  • Liquidity Matters: Selling a house takes time and effort. This can be inconvenient if you need to relocate or access cash quickly.
  • Appreciation is Uncertain: While real estate generally appreciates over time, the market can fluctuate. There's no guarantee your home's value will significantly outpace inflation.

However, it's important to consider the other side of the coin:

  • Building Equity: With each mortgage payment, you gain ownership of your home. This builds equity, a valuable asset that can be tapped into later through refinancing or selling.
  • Tax Advantages: Homeownership offers tax benefits such as deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes. These deductions can lower your taxable income.
  • Sense of Security: Owning your own home provides a sense of stability and control over your living environment. You're not beholden to landlords or rent increases.

So, Should You Ditch the Dream of Homeownership Altogether?

The decision of whether to buy a house is a personal one. There's no one-size-fits-all answer.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Your Financial Goals: Are you focused on building long-term wealth or generating immediate income?
  • Your Life Stage: Are you planning to settle down in one place or anticipate frequent moves?
  • Your Risk Tolerance: Are you comfortable with the potential ups and downs of the housing market?

Ultimately, the best approach might be to find a balance. Homeownership can be a great long-term investment, but it shouldn't come at the expense of neglecting other wealth-building strategies.

Alternative Investment

Alternative Investment Options: Building Wealth Beyond Homeownership

If Cardone's perspective resonates with you and you're looking for alternative ways to invest in real estate, here are two options to consider:

1. Invest in Rental Properties

Rental properties can provide a steady stream of income through rent payments. You benefit from potential appreciation in the property value and build equity over time. However, being a landlord comes with responsibilities like managing tenants, repairs, and maintenance.

Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons:

  • Pros: Passive income, potential for appreciation, building equity
  • Cons: Management responsibilities, vacancy periods, maintenance costs

Getting Started:

  • Research different rental markets.
  • Consider hiring a property management company.
  • Understand the legal aspects of being a landlord.

2. Invest in REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

REITs are a great way to invest in real estate without the hassle of directly owning and managing properties. REITs own and operate income-producing real estate, and they distribute a portion of their profits to shareholders as dividends.

Pros of REITs (continued):

  • Diversification: REITs offer exposure to a variety of real estate sectors like residential, commercial, or healthcare, spreading your investment risk.
  • Liquidity: REITs trade on stock exchanges, offering greater liquidity compared to directly owning properties.
  • Professional Management: REITs are managed by experienced professionals who handle property selection, maintenance, and tenant relations.
  • Lower Investment Minimums: You can invest in REITs with smaller amounts compared to buying a whole property.

Cons of REITs:

  • Market Volatility: REIT share prices can fluctuate with the stock market.
  • Limited Control: As a shareholder, you have little control over individual properties within the REIT's portfolio.
  • Tax Implications: REIT dividends are typically taxed as ordinary income, unlike some tax benefits of direct property ownership.

Types of REITs:

There are two main types of REITs:

  • Equity REITs: These REITs own and operate income-producing real estate, generating profits from rent and property appreciation. They typically pay higher dividends.
  • Mortgage REITs (mREITs): These REITs invest in mortgages and other real estate debt instruments. They earn income from interest payments on loans and tend to be less volatile than equity REITs.

Getting Started with REITs:

  • Research different REITs and their investment strategies.
  • Consider your risk tolerance and desired income stream.
  • Choose a reputable broker to invest in REITs on a stock exchange.

Is homeownership always a bad investment?

Not necessarily. Homeownership can be a valuable way to build wealth and stability, especially if you plan to stay in your house for a long time. However, it's important to be aware of the ongoing costs and potential drawbacks.

Are rental properties a good alternative to homeownership?

Rental properties can be a good way to generate income and build equity, but they require effort and come with risks. Consider your time commitment and risk tolerance before investing in rentals.

Are REITs a safe investment?

No investment is entirely safe. REITs are subject to market fluctuations. However, diversification within a REIT portfolio can help manage risk.

Which is better: REITs or rental properties?

It depends on your goals and resources. REITs offer passive income and easier management, while rentals offer potentially higher returns but require more work.


Grant Cardone's perspective on homeownership challenges the traditional American dream narrative. While there are undeniable benefits to owning a home, it's crucial to weigh the costs and limitations.

For those seeking alternative paths to real estate investment, both rental properties and REITs offer intriguing options. Choosing the right investment strategy depends on your circumstances and financial goals.

Do your research, understand the risks and rewards, and don't be afraid to explore investment options beyond traditional homeownership.

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Meet Amit Ahuja, a passionate and driven individual with a multifaceted interest in business and finance. Amit's curiosity for the world of commerce knows no bounds, as he eagerly delve into market trends, investment strategies, and entrepreneurial success stories. Always on the lookout for opportunities to grow his knowledge, Amit avidly follows financial news and actively participates in networking events to gain insights from industry experts.