We all know the social benefits of owning a home. Homeownership gives family stability, creates lower high school dropout rates, and of course gives the opportunity to create meaningful and lasting relationships.
In addition to these great pluses, owning a home can be your largest financial asset.
First, you'll have access to homeowner tax breaks, which include the mortgage interest deduction (MID), property tax deduction, and credits for green-friendly updates to your home.
What all of these deductions mean is you can save money on your taxes each year. That's money back in your pocket. Additionally, the eco updates you do will save you money in the long run on operating costs of the house. Some of these great updates can include energy efficient windows and doors, and solar panels.
You may have heard that real estate is a good investment. You may also be wondering if that is still true when home values are declining. The truth is that real estate has always been a good “long-term” investment.
The fact that many people were making bank by buying and selling real estate in the mid-2000's was more of a fluke than the norm. Twenty to fifty percent appreciation rates are not the norm. In general, during healthy economic times, appreciation averages four to six percent. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that from 1972 to 2005 appreciation averaged 6.5 percent.
Today's home prices are still declining, but financial experts predict this will abate in the next year or so and yearly appreciation rates will return.
As you begin to see appreciation, you'll start to earn equity. This is one of the biggest advantages homeownership has over renting. Renting means paying money to the landlord. Once that rent check is written that money is gone. As you pay your monthly mortgage payment you're building equity. You will one day soon owe less than the home is worth. The difference in between is equity.
Homeownership also gives you a certain financial freedom and stability. You can take out a home equity loan for improvements or if you need some cash. You can sell your home down the road and use those profits towards retirement, a dream home, or even a dream vacation.
Homeownership is a great way to introduce long term stability to your life, even in uncertain economic times. Today's historically low interest rates and low prices mean now is a great time to make an investment in your future.