Owning your own home has distinct advantages over renting, especially when it comes to building your net worth and providing a stable environment for your family.
If you’re struggling with whether to buy versus rent, consider these 10 reasons to take the plunge into homeownership:
1. You can ramp up energy efficiency.
Energy-efficient improvements—from adding insulation to upgrading your air conditioning unit—can reduce your monthly utility bill. While renters can make plenty of green improvements on their own, from unplugging appliances to turning off lights, homeowners can make bigger changes, such as adding solar panels or installing an energy-efficient roof.
2. You can customize your space.
Whether you need to knock down a wall to make a larger master bedroom or redo the bathroom to reflect your personal tastes, owning the space you live in means you have the freedom to do so, without worrying about losing your security deposit.
3. Homeowners buy less furniture.
Often when you’re renting, you need custom furniture that fits the space, such as room dividers for a loft or smaller furniture to fit into a basement apartment. When you relocate from one apartment to the next you have to have furniture that fits your space, which can mean obtaining something new each time. If you buy a home and settle in for the long haul, you can likely purchase a few pieces that will stick around.
4. Owning a home forces you to save.
The “forced savings” argument is a widely-held one: since homeowners have to pay their mortgage every month, they are more likely to routinely put money away, instead of on new shoes or fancy meals. Then, if you eventually sell your home after the mortgage is paid off, there’s a good chance that you’ll make back far more than anything you’ve paid out.
5. Homeownership allows you to build a second income stream.
From taking in a renter in a spare bedroom, or garage apartment, to renting out driveway space to commuters, homeowners are increasingly finding ways to monetize their homes. In cities with scant green space, some homeowners even rent out small patches for people who want to grow vegetables.
6. No landlord can kick you out.
Renters can face an unexpected eviction notice if their landlord suddenly decides to sell the home, rent to someone else, or otherwise end the lease. For older people, or others on a fixed income this can be an exceptional burden. If your own your living space that cannot happen.
7. In fact, you don’t have to speak to a landlord, ever again.
Landlords can take ages to fix a broken dishwasher, let the air vents fill with dust and particles, or leave pesky messages about repairs. If you’re the homeowner, then you’re in charge, which means you have to be home when the plumber calls, but the plumber reports to you.
8. Unlike rent, a fixed mortgage can’t go up.
Fixed mortgage rates don’t go up, even if the cost of everything else does. To protect yourself, suggests making a 20 percent down payment and take out a 30-year fixed mortgage to lock in today’s interest rates. Mortgage rates are still beyond reasonable, so you want to take advantage of it.
9. Homeowners can take tax deductions.
The main tax benefit of homeownership is the ability to deduct mortgage interest payments, but the perks don’t stop there. Homeowners can also deduct eligible expenses, like certain energy-efficient improvements for example, and in some cases avoid federal taxes on earnings from the sale of a home.
10. You can take advantage of currently low interest rates and prices.
While there’s been recovery and increases in the past decade since the 2008 crash, interest rates remain historically low, and at the same time, home prices in many areas remain fairly static. You can find especially appealing deals in suburban areas, compared with the more expensive cities.