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Don't stay in your present house too long.

That one's contrary to my experience. We bought a family-sized home in 1986 before we had a family. Our friends who bought "starter homes" had to pay commissions, closing costs, and moving expenses every time they upgraded. Although their smaller home had appreciated, the larger home they were moving into appreciated more over the same period. So, there are several friends of ours who owe a higher mortgage than we do on a similar or smaller house than ours.

By owning one home, we've refinanced when the rates were advantageous to doing that, keeping the low rate when mortgages went higher. People who moved may have gone from a 6.25% mortgage to a 7.5%, but there was no choice because that's what the rates were when they closed on their new house.

We've made improvements, but almost all of them have NOT raised the resale value of the home as much as they cost. We did them for ourselves, mostly, but changing the kitchen cabinets and changing the floor from linoleum to tile wouldn't get back the money put into it. I believe the deck *might*, but that's because I built it myself and am counting only the materials.
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