Can You Afford Four Houses?

One of my guilty pleasures after a long day of work is to watch a show or two from a series on Netflix.  Right now, I’m watching the TLC series Sister Wives about a polygamist family where there is one husband and four wives.  Don’t forget the seventeen kids.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

I know some people are irked by this show and the Brown family’s polygamy lifestyle. If you’re one of them, I ask you to put that aside for a moment.

What I find fascinating is how the Brown family financially runs four households, one for each wife.  Every episode that I watch I think of this and try to do the mental math, especially since their houses are nice and filled with expensive things. There are also twenty-two people to feed in total.

Our family is just a family of five, and I know how much is necessary to run our household.  I can’t imagine the finances to run four households, even if there are more adults working full-time.

This financial aspect came to the forefront on the episode I watched recently.  Since moving to Las Vegas, each of the four families lives in a different house.  Previously they had lived in Utah in one big house. Sometimes Kody, the dad and husband, goes five days without seeing one family.  He desperately wants the four families to be nearby one another again.

The four families want to buy four plots on a cul-de-sac and build four houses.  When they apply for lending, they are told they would need to pay a 40% down payment and take an interest only loan.

They wisely decline this offer, but then have a family meeting to decide how to proceed.  The realtor is asking for earnest money, as a promise that they will find financing within thirty days.

Three of the four women express concerns about finances.  One is worried that a seven bedroom home would be too large for her since she only has one daughter.  I agree with her. Another is worried that the house is too big and that their respective budgets can’t handle the expenses of four new houses.  The third wife remembers that they used to be house poor when they lived all together in one house. She hadn’t been able to visit her dad for several years because the cash wasn’t available.  She doesn’t want to be in that situation again.

Kody listens to all of their concerns but appears to dismiss them.  To the wife who wants money to visit her father regularly, he tells her to save her grocery money.  There are many financial reasons not to go forward with buying the land and four houses. But Kody, who normally seems rational and a good husband and father, seems to want the houses no matter the financial strain.

Does Kody want the four houses so badly, he is ignoring their financial concerns? Do they have enough income? Can they afford the property and houses?

I’ve run out of Sister Wives episodes on Netflix, so I’m not sure how this housing situation ultimately plays out.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. Pauline says:

    I just watched the show once but was in awe with the four houses as well, especially since one kid can’t go to college. 7 bed for the one with one kid seems crazy, but I think they have a rule about giving the same to each wife so there may be more to it.

  2. I’ve never seen the show although I’m curious. My husband is from the Middle East and they are able to marry 4 wives. VERY FEW people do BECAUSE of the expense. It’s really expensive to run multiple households especially because so many of the women stay at home and consumerism is rampant.

    I think having four houses (and four families for that matter) sounds exhausting! I’ll stick to one home and one spouse 🙂

  3. Redesign looks GREAT! Makes me excited for my own redesign – meeting with a designer on Saturday morning. As far as Sister Wives….I don’t know what Kody was thinking. He’s free to live his life as he wants, but holy crap how do you have time – let alone money – for four wives and 15+ kids?!?

    • DC thanks!

      I wanted to get a post done for the new design but didn’t get the chance, so will be posting that today. One of the advantages of being a web-designer in a previous life. 😉


  4. Joe says:

    That just sounds crazy to me. What does Cody do? He must be quite successful to be able to pay for 4 households.

    • There is also substantial income from the shows I would think. But even with that income, his income, and the wives income, it doesn’t add up. There must be a lot of stress around finances in this home(s).

  5. Kylie Ofiu says:

    I used to be a mobile hairdresser and some of the families I did had 4 – 7 families living in the one house. They were from Pakistan and the way they did it was everyone live together and pay off one house, then they’d buy another and pay that off etc… And on until they each had a home. But often they were happy with multiple families in one home so they’d continue to buy homes but keep them as rentals.

    Financially very sound way to do it. But emotionally it was had. Entire families living in one room.

    When i was a teen my mum passed and dad remarried. 7 of us kids living in the one house was a nightmare, let alone the situation in this article! I couldn’t do it.

    Be interesting to see how it pans out.

    • Kylie, same thing here in Vancouver too! But at least they are combining resources instead of splitting the incomes across multiple homes. Makes sense from a financial point of view.

      But yes for our western culture, it would be emotionally and physically exhausting – I couldn’t imagine. 😉

  6. Moneycone says:

    I haven’t watched the show, but just thinking about 4 houses my head hurts! Not to mention what it must take to maintain them, mortgage, insurance etc.

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