Looking for a gut check. Our financial advisor says we can afford a home up to $2M. We make good money (>$500K) with no debt or loans. Up to $2M sounds absurd but the city’s COL is very high. Is this a golden handcuffs situation? We don’t want to overreach if we really shouldn’t. I’m looking for serious advice.

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I’m no expert but anecdotally I can add that my older brother (who I deem relatively conservative) and his wife bought a home in Highland Park - Dallas, TX for $1.8m on an HHI of right around $500k. 2 young kids that they expect to put through private school. I specify neighborhood as that area is one of the wealthiest in the country.

Prior to that (and before kids) they bought a condo in SF (which they’ve now sold) for $1.2m on an HHI around $300k. Similar situation in both scenarios they had no debt.

He noted to me that despite Dallas being a lower COL, the TX property taxes and need to send kids to private school makes the savings from going from SF to Dallas much smaller than you’d think.

I would say with interest rates where they are today that would allow you to service a bigger mortgage and thus buying a more expensive home.

Next I would think about potential future price appreciation. Given the high COL I assume you’re in SF or NYC which, depending on the neighborhood, has depressed prices so you may be buying in the trough (good). However, if it’s the suburbs of NYC/SF, my guess is that you’re buying at the peak given the great migrations out of the urban areas.

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Prices are what they are. I don’t think $2 mil is ridiculous for a family home somewhere in SF, but if you don’t really need it, why do it? You can get a smaller place (I have a 2BD/2BA apt here that cost me a little over a mil which would be fine for a small family and there’s plenty of options in between a million and 2 million, which is a big range) or get a bigger place farther out (doesn’t need to be crazy far even, just not in the hottest downtown neighborhood). Can’t speak to NY but it seems to be similar.

Anyone can get laid off anytime. Don’t get a place you wouldn’t feel comfortable floating for several months out of savings.

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