Is Owning a House an Asset or a Liability?

Backdrop view of Capri Island from my house’s terrace

I am spending a few days in my house by the sea in Southern Italy, a house my father bought 50 years ago.

It is a big house situated on the top of a hill overlooking the sea and the famous Capri Island, a world-class tourist destination.

My parents’ village is situated somewhere between the towns of Sorrento and Amalfi and it is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places on earth, as beautiful as the Mediterranean at its peak can get.

Despite the beauty of the area, my wife and I live in Rome and so does my brother and his family, because work in this part of the country is only seasonal and can almost only be found in the tourist sector. Most people who have a house here live elsewhere, some live in Rome, many others live in the rich and industrialized Northern Italy or perhaps in Switzerland, Germany, Australia and other wealthier areas.

So, while having a house like this is great, the reality is that maintaining it is extremely difficult both for me and my brother, as we both have a wife and children and have a house and bills to pay hundreds of kilometers away.

Turning this house into a rental business is not easy either because it would entail spending huge amounts to do the necessary makeover and neither me nor my brother have that money. On top of that there are taxes to pay.

So, under many aspects, my situation is like the situation of many OFW who have a big house in the Philippines but they live and work somewhere else.

I know OFWs who share their apartment with another family or work live-in but they have a mansion in the Philippines that turns out to be a liability because it only takes money out of their pockets.

Because I am pretty much in the same situation as those OFW, I can understand why many OFW struggle financially: they work hard to maintain a huge liability in the Philippines.

Unfortunately having a mansion by the sea has nothing at all to do with being rich (if you live from paycheck to paycheck), actually it is the exact opposite and only creates the illusion that you are wealthy when, in fact, you are actually poorer than one who has a simple life and can certainly afford to travel more, save up more and has much less anxiety and concerns.

4 thoughts on “Is Owning a House an Asset or a Liability?

  1. depends on the person and what makes them happy… my sister is working very hard to pay her monthly debts that will take 20 years for her dream house.. then she can host parties, invite people and show it around… but she is happy.. hahaha… otherwise, she would not have done it..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. It is amazing to have dinner while watching the ships go by at sunset and it is very frustrating to live somewhere else but my wife would never be willing to settle in a small village away from the Pinoy community. Before getting married I was thinking about moving there but now walang pagasa. I’ll either have to rent it out or sell part of it otherwise it will get harder and harder to maintain bahay dito bahay doon at bahay at lupa sa Pilipinas


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