For many people, owning a home marks a significant step on the path to achieving the "American Dream." But recent news headlines surrounding the current economy and housing market have caused some potential homebuyers to sit on the sidelines hoping for the market to "hit bottom" while overlooking the many advantages of homeownership. While owning a home continues to be a sound long-term investment that builds equity and provides tax benefits along the way, financial gain is not the only factor to consider when thinking about buying a home.
"Investing in a home offers immeasurable benefits that reach far beyond financial gains," says Rick Hoffman, President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Greater San Diego/Temecula Valley Region. "When you purchase a home, you are making an investment in yourself, your family, and your future.
“In 2008, our local company helped more than 7,500 consumers buy and sell homes.” Based on their feedback, and feedback from Coldwell Banker companies across the nation, the professionals at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage have identified the top six personal, social, and emotional benefits of buying a home today:
Pride of Ownership: Pride of ownership is possibly the greatest benefit of all when it comes to owning a home. The feelings of accomplishment, safety, and security that result from homeownership cannot be matched by any other purchase or investment. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there were a total of 4.9 million existing-home sales in 2008, reconfirming that pride of ownership is still a strong incentive for homeownership and that consumers continue to move for lifestyle, despite the economy.
Shelter: Buying a home is more than the sum of mortgage payments. Shelter is a basic need of human beings, yet the concept is often overlooked in the home-buying process. Remember, a home is a place where one lives and raises a family. Plus, it's the only investment you can live in!
Independence: A key difference between renting and owning is the flexibility a homeowner has in adapting a living space to individual tastes and needs. That means being able to decorate, renovate, landscape, and add personal touches to one's surroundings – without having to check in with a landlord first. Home improvements also have the potential to increase the value of a home.
Stability: One of the biggest rewards of being a homeowner is the financial stability it provides. Knowing exactly what your payments will be each month throughout the term of your mortgage enables you to budget and plan for other things you'll want to do in life. While certain factors such as real estate taxes may fluctuate in some communities, the bulk of home-related expenses will remain stable and predictable.
Community: When you buy a home, you buy a share in a community – a social benefit rarely experienced by renters who are often considered "transient,” even after living in the same place for many years. Developing friendships with neighbors and feeling one has a place in the community fosters a safe and secure environment for oneself and one's family. Furthermore, NAR recently reported that communities with higher homeownership had better educational performance, lower crime rates, more household participation in civic affairs, and better household health.
Improved Quality of Life: Without question, owning a home has its financial advantages. The true benefit of owning a home is the improved quality of life a boost in personal finances can provide. Whether that means having more money to spend on necessities or being able to afford luxuries, purchasing a home is making an investment in a better future.