Homeownership is a rite of passage many of us dream of. Owning a home means putting down roots and having a space that is truly yours. It’s a significant moment of your life when you finally own a home.
But owning a home can be daunting because of the responsibilities and obligations that come with it, combined with the initial process it takes to get there. When done properly, though, buying and owning a home is a process that limits your financial risk, increases your investment power, and saves you tons of money over the long term—and it can even save you money immediately.
Renting has little to no ROI. Renters don’t have to worry about maintaining a residence or paying the mortgage. But if you’ve been renting long term, chances are you’re already performing home maintenance on some level and you’re at your landlord’s mercy when it comes to major repairs. And when it comes to paying the mortgage, there are many advantages over rental payments, which don’t provide any return on investment beyond securing a place to live through the end of the month or lease.
How much is rent actually costing you? Consider the amount one pays over a 10-year period. A $1000/month rental payment adds up quickly to a whopping $120,000 over 10 years, when the same amount of money could have gone toward reducing 1/3 of the debt on a 30-year home mortgage by essentially making the payments to yourself instead of a landlord. Wow!
Here are 9 more benefits to owning your own home:
1. Homeownership is an investment. Unlike a car and many other purchases that decrease in value, a home is a purchase that appreciates over time. While each local market has its own unique factors, the national median home price goes up each year, even in times of recession. As you pay your mortgage each month, your debt amount goes down, while the value of your home continues to rise. This creates the buying and reinvestment power better known as equity.
2. Gain equity. When it comes to homeownership, investment and equity are directly related. As you make mortgage payments each month, part of the payment goes toward the interest, while the rest pays down the principal balance. Equity can be better defined as the part of the principal balance you’ve already paid, or the percentage of your home you already own. Paying the principal is like depositing money in the bank, because that money becomes available for reinvestment in the home itself or a new home.
3. Take advantage of tax benefits. The federal government encourages homeownership (which in turn encourages economic growth) by offering tax incentives for homeowners. The biggest one is the option to deduct interest from mortgage payments on your income tax return, especially at the start of a mortgage when most of the payment is applied to the interest. Payments on private mortgage insurance (PMI) and certain home-related purchases also qualify for tax benefits.
4. Stabilize your housing costs. A fixed-rate mortgage means you’ll have the same mortgage payment for the term of the loan (usually 30 years), while monthly rental payments will continue to climb. And even adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) have a fixed cap on them. Homeownership also stabilizes other home-related expenses like utilities and gives you more control over your ability to make investments in your property that keep those expenses down.
5. Gain control over your living space. Renting doesn’t usually come with a lot of options for modifying your living space to better suit your needs. Renters with changing needs must also deal with changing residences. Homeownership means you can make improvements to your home, and home improvements usually lead to increased home value, both financially and in daily home life. The power of equity can give homeowners the extra financing they need to reinvest in their homes when cash funds aren’t an option.
6. Increase your own sustainability. Homeownership can help you create a sustainable future in many different ways. Long-term renters lack sustainability because a high percentage of their income usually goes toward housing expenses that are constantly increasing. Locking yourself into a mortgage payment helps level out living expenses, so when income goes up it can be budgeted elsewhere. Paying off a mortgage allows homeowners a long-term plan to significantly reduce their living expenses as they move toward a retirement budget.
7. Stop moving. Homeownership increases sustainability and stability. Moving from rental to rental is a major inconvenience and a financial and emotional burden. Renting can mean that you never really know where you’ll be living next or what your expenses will be. Staying in the same home allows a financial and emotional investment in both your living space and your community.
8. Social benefits. Staying put for longer periods of time also creates social benefits that range from friendships with neighbors to community involvement and consistent educational opportunities for children.
9. Use your investment to make another investment. The equity that comes from paying a mortgage is what allows many individuals and families to make future investments in the same home, a higher-valued home, or second home. A home equity line of credit helps homeowners use the part of their home that’s already paid off to obtain financing for investments apart from the home itself, such as purchasing a boat or RV.