Free And Clear? Nice.

Originally published March 20, 2009

One thing that I don’t hear often in the argument of “rent v. own” is the fact that at some point, if you stick it out and pay long enough, as a homeowner you eventually get to be payment free. 

In fact 82% of those aged 62+ are homeowners — not renters (in 2021, 80% of those 65+ own their home); 74% of those owners are free and clear of any mortgage debt. One-half of those ages 55 to 64 who own homes also have no mortgage debt.

Sure, there are still maintenance, utility, taxes and insurance costs — and a tenant still has maintenance and utilities. But you have an asset of some value, and no payment, and no landlord to be subject to. I think that’s the green pasture, the gold at the end of the rainbow that many call the “American Dream.” 

I don’t know of many of my peers, nearly all bred in middle-class environments, whose parents in the 65-80 age group, don’t:

A) Own their homes 

B) Own them without any mortgage debt.


Not a bad goal to work towards…even if it takes 30 years to get there.


This blog was originally published March 20, 2009 here.


Questions? Reach out in the comments section below.


Gordon Stephenson

Written by Gordon Stephenson

Gordon and Jay Young co-founded Real Property Associates in 1991 in Edmonds, Washington, moving to Seattle in 1996 where their office is today in North Seattle's Roosevelt district. Throughout these decades, the vision has remained consistent: To provide excellent brokerage and property management services to clients throughout the Puget Sound region. Gordon acts as the designated broker for the RPA, overseeing over 70 brokers in their sales activities while continuing to personally represent buyers and sellers. He is also involved with RPA’s commercial real estate division where he provides management and consultation for commercial property owners.

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