The Blessings of Homeownership!
By Sharman G. Lawson
There is good debt, and there is bad debt. Owning a home is considered good debt. I can think of many advantages to owning a home, but I can also think of some advantages to renting. Some of the benefits of renting, you are not responsible for maintenance of the residence, and you are required to put down a lesser amount of money as a down payment in order to move in. Additionally, if your circumstance changes you do not have to be concerned about selling the home before you move.
On the other hand, there are a lot of reasons why owning a home should appeal to you. Two of the key reasons: a) you have the opportunity to invest your money by building equity, and b) you can take advantage of the tax breaks by writing off the interest on the loan. Also, unlike an apartment, you can alter whatever you desire inside the home, decorate and paint how you want, control the landscape, and you decide how long you want to live there.
Some additional reasons why it makes good monetary sense to buy and own your home.
You Establish Credit: Homeownership allows you to establish financial trustworthiness. Your continuous payment on a mortgage will raise your credit rating, and will assist you in the future when you apply for other loans.
You Invest in Your Future: With a mortgage, you are paying off your loan. It may only be a little amount, but after a few years, you will build up equity in your home. Usually homes increase in value – adding to your equity and creation of wealth. Any improvements you make will also usually add to the overall value of your home.
You Have Pride of Ownership: You can take satisfaction in being a homeowner, feel good about your home improvements, and take pleasure in getting involved in your community.
You Have More Stability: Being a part of a neighborhood makes you feel like you belong to something bigger than you, and gives you a sense of stability. When you are the owner you have a voice in the affairs of the community.
However, with homeownership comes responsibility. Part of being responsible is planning for your home purchase. That means saving not only for the down payment, but saving to have an emergency or reserve fund. Anything can happen when you get into a home, so you want to make sure you are prepared for the unexpected. For example, a home repair, job layoff or an unexpected bill that comes in.
Additionally, do not get talked into buying more house than you can afford. As a financial coach, I see and hear daily how people are snowed under in debt because they brought too much house and in reality had too little money. Below are some of the responsibilities of homeownership:
1. You pay the monthly mortgage.
2. You pay yearly property taxes.
3. You pay yearly homeowner’s insurance.
4. You pay the monthly utilities.
5. You have to maintain the yard.
6. You maintain the heater, air conditioner, and hot water heater.
7. You maintain the dishwasher, stove, garbage disposal, and refrigerator.
8. You maintain the outside and inside of the home.
9. You fix anything that becomes broken.
10. You pay a homeowner’s association fee if required.
My suggestion to you, allow homeownership to be a blessing not a curse. Homeownership will be a blessing if you are prepared to own a home, you have an emergency fund, didn’t purchase more house than you can afford, and you go into it knowing what to expect and what your responsibilities are as a homeowner.
Sharman G. Lawson is the author of the e-book 12 Steps to Eliminate Debt Forever! Sharman is a personal finance coach and business consultant in the care home industry. Sharman has appeared on television, radio and in print media. For more information visit: www.careenterprisellc.com.