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The traditional view of property is that it is a fixed asset, that you should not leverage unless absolutely necessary.

I take a very different view, that it is a liability, a money pit, immovable, subject to market change and the subject many forms of taxation. Yes over time the value tends to go up, but in many cases it is break even once you consider the cost of selling and improvements. If budget were tight I would really consider moving to somewhere cheaper and renting, no ties. Spending is usually the biggest hurdle to retirement. If you can cut those fixed spending costs substantially you should strongly consider it. Mexico for one, it is local, reasonable weather, has some sizable safe US expat communities, and the total fixed cost of living is a fraction of the USA.
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