The financial reasoning for homeownership is bountiful: increased equity and wealth building, great tax benefits and predictable monthly payments—especially evident in today's current rental situation with rents being raised frequently and excellent long-term investment potential. However, some of the lesser discussed advantages are more sentimental.
A home is more than four walls and a roof; it's where life is lived, memories are created and futures are shaped. This is where people find sanctity and security, children take first steps, families and friends gather and accomplishments are celebrated. Oftentimes a home can be an indication of milestones reached or a specific stage of life. New homeowners are typically just starting out in life with fresh jobs and with ambitions of starting families, while more-established families may want to use hard-earned equity to grow into a larger home. Retirees find themselves simplifying and have ambitions of achieving their dream homes.
A different level of pride and freedom can come along with homeownership, which is difficult to attain while renting. Increasing functionality and cosmetic appeal with home improvements and remodeling is an opportunity to simultaneously increase equity. Tackling do-it-yourself projects can be a great source of self-accomplishment and pride, while renters taking on these projects makes living in the home better, but really only helps increase the property owner's equity.
Besides the sentimental and financial reasons, there are also proven health and education benefits as well. Dr. Megan Sandel of the Boston University School of Medicine testified to Congress about safe, decent and affordable housing, stating that it literally prevents disease. A safe home can prevent mental health and developmental problems. A decent home may prevent asthma or lead poisoning, and an affordable home can prevent stunted growth and unnecessary hospitalizations.
When people aren't focused on surviving, as many are now, they can focus on thriving and can put energy into self-advancement. According to a study in the Journal of Urban Economics, children or homeowners are more likely to stay in school until age 17 than children of renters, especially in low-income households. Children in home-owning families outperform in both math and reading achievement tests while these kids will have fewer behavioral problems, have higher educational attainment and greater future earnings, based on a study performed by Donald R. Haurin, an Ohio State University economist. A 2011 survey of U.S. Habitat for Humanity homeowners found that 57% of adults in these households were furthering their education.
Even with dips in the housing market, homeowners that are in it for the long haul find increased financial equity and personal satisfaction and pride. Closing on a property for the first time is an incredible accomplishment and represents the hard work and responsible choices of the new owner. When you invest in your future through homeownership, the possibilities are endless. It's a valuable experience through which families build lives and memories, as well as their financial futures.