How to Buy a Home That Guarantees Misery

For all of you homebuyers out there, would you like to add to the sobbing chorus of those who regret their recent home purchases?

Lucky for you, I’m here to help.

Below you will find some unusual homebuying tips, loosely inspired by Charlie Munger’s speech on how to guarantee a life of misery.1

Here goes; how to buy a home that guarantees misery:

  1. Ignore the financial advice of every successful person in the world. Instead of buying a cheaper house than you can afford, go with the most expensive option possible. Because really, you only live once, right? Discover the maximum amount that your lender will approve (or your parents, or whatever) and YOLO the shit out of finding your dream home. Don’t worry, the bills will keep adding up. All those repairs, unforeseeable events, and extra inflation costs will give you the stress-high of your life. Once you’re in need of a new hustle, or second job, you can wave your arms around celebrating your misery with abandon. Debt-to-income ratios? Fuck math.
  2. Buy your house for maximum likes. Because it’s really important to look cool, right? What better way to optimize your coolness than buying an Instagram-worthy home? Really, what we are talking about here is making sure everything is uber photogenic. Here’s a really great example- for all you cooks out there, make sure that you have a sleek kitchen with zero upper cabinets. Instead, what you need is open shelving. Now, make sure those shelves flank the stove in perfect symmetry. Here’s where you’ll display a few beautiful but worthless cookbooks, plants, gemstones, brass anything, marble anything, and definitely vintage oil paintings. Oh, and maybe a lamp with a wicker shade. Miserable greasy dust will soon cover every surface allowing you to regret the idiocy of embracing aesthetics over function. You’ll also be dismayed to have minimal storage for the actual shit that makes cooking a happy experience. Don’t be too sad about the lack of storage though; you can just put it in your ultra pretty bathtub. Because let’s face it, it’s miserably uncomfortable and, that’s right… only serves as an Instagram-able moment once a year or so.
  3. Be a naïve out-of-town buyer, moving to a cheaper but cooler location. Out-of-towners are the most likely group to overpay, right? So if you want to really bask in misery, I have even better advice. Be an out-of-town buyer who doesn’t even visit the location you’re buying in! Ooo, Nashville! Buy a house there, sight unseen. Feel free to ignore the comps, because everything is dirt cheap compared to where you were before, right? Yeah, leave the comps to the locals. Trust that it will all work out (Because, you know… the universe?). Now, after you buy the house, then go visit. You’ll be in true misery bliss when you realize your house is nothing like the staged photos you saw; in fact- it reeks and it’s falling apart. The neighborhood is terrible, you’re next to a noisy road, and you realize you bought a house all on hype. Not only are you disappointed, but everyone seems to hate you despite their friendly hellos (locals…*eyeroll*). Now, if you want maximum misery optimization, combine this advice with the two points above and the one below.
  4. Wave all homebuyer contingencies. If you love a constant flow of miserable surprises, this one is for you. Make sure you don’t have any home inspections and you just trust that your eyeballs will do their job properly. That way, if you discover the sewer line is busted you can rejoice in the shit backing up into your bathtub, followed by spending a cool unexpected 10 grand. Oh yeah, don’t forget to TikTok that shit *wink*
  5. Ignore your comps. This is the best way to make sure you pay more than anyone else. That way, if/when the housing market comes down a bit, you’ll be in misery heaven knowing that you’ve made a terrible investment. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Even better! Because who cares if comps are an important market indicator? Who cares that comps are important for maintaining stability? So yeah, if you want to overpay and take on unnecessary financial risk, by all means- ignore those comps.  
  6. Completely ignore the type of house you’re attracted to. Hate the style? Don’t worry, you can change that Old Craftsman into a modern marvel. Hate the layout and every other thing about it? Don’t worry, you can tear out walls and build new ones, move the plumbing, and rewire the whole goddamn thing. Hate the trees? Don’t worry, you can cut them down… fuck trees. Go on, do all that. You’ll be especially dejected knowing you could have just built a new house for way less money. Your return on investment? Maximum stupidity.  Oh, wait… you can’t actually afford to do all of that? Well, congratulations then- you just bought a house that you hate everything about- misery success!
  7. Over-prioritize what everyone else thinks. Ignoring your own needs and desires is a great path to regret. What does your mom think? What does your dad think? How about your best friend, your boyfriend, your sisters, brothers, or even your agent? If you want to be really confused, let all these conflicting voices overwhelm you and drown out your own voice. Let’s say your boyfriend thinks you need a fixer upper even though you would prefer something turnkey. If you’re interested in taunting misery, you’d better listen to him. That way when you break up six months later, you can be doubly miserable. Broken-hearted with a broken half-torn apart home. Ugh. Talk about the pits! Or perhaps you listen to your mother who insists you need to be in a certain neighborhood despite a two-hour commute to your job. Well, have fun living in your car while you pay for… what exactly?  Oh yeah! Regret.
  8. Ignore your personality (and reality). That way, despite your regret, you’ll have everything you don’t need and don’t want. Do you hate working out? Well, you’d better prioritize a home gym; it will solve all your problems. Do you spend the winters in Florida? Make sure you have a fancy fireplace and heated bathroom floors. Are you an introvert? Make sure your home-to-be is perfect for entertaining. Are you a wealthy minimalist who wants to use your home to “recharge”? Well (since you’re wealthy) my best advice is to buy a huge fancy mansion with all the entertainment, bells, and whistles. That way you can be irritated at all the extra shit you have to buy to fill up your gazillion rooms. And don’t forget to deck out your own little meditation space so you can silently chant your way through the stress and bitterness your new mansion has provided you. Hooray! Ignoring your own needs (and reality) is a true must if your goal is disillusionment.
  9. Don’t have a down payment or savings. That way, when you’re ready to sell your house, oh boy will you be unhappy. Because after you pay all the fees associated with fixing, moving, taxes, and real estate commissions, you’ll be miserably surprised that you’re going to be paying out of pocket just to get out of that regretful mess of a house. And savings? Who needs savings when you’ve got credit cards or any number of buy-now pay-later programs to help you out? Money should buy only fun things… YOLO.
  10. Expect Perfection. If you want to be miserable with your home (or anything really), make sure you expect absolute and total perfection in everything. After all, you spend a lot of money for a house. Shouldn’t it be perfect?

Are ten tips enough? I sure hope so.

Because now I feel like an asshole when all I really want is for you to be happy with the home you choose.

Buy a home that works for you, your lifestyle, and your loved ones (who live with you). Forget the rest.

And try not to worry; you’ll know it when you find it.

Thanks for reading,

HouseRat Zero

  1. If you’d like to read Charlie’s speech, you can find it in Poor Charlie’s Almanack or do a search for the transcript (I know James Clear had it on his blog, as did others). ↩︎

2 thoughts on “How to Buy a Home That Guarantees Misery”

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