How long does it take for your house value to increase enough to offset the cost of buying the house to begin with?

Longer than you might think, according to the latest Zillow Breakeven Horizon. This report found that at the end of 2016, U.S. home value increased overall by 6.8%.

You’d think that areas with faster-appreciating houses would also see faster breakeven points, but that’s not always so. High-cost markets, such as California, often have faster appreciation, but it can take about five years to get to the breakeven point.

Lower-cost markets, such as Ohio, might have slower appreciation, but the transaction costs are lower, so it can take around a year and a half to break even.

Transaction costs are a drag on home equity. That’s why it’s so important to look at all your options, from traditional agents to new models, like the flat-fee-plus-success fee model pioneered by, before deciding how you’ll list.