Pros and Cons of Home Ownership

Buying a home is a big investment, in many cases the biggest investment a person will make in their life, so it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It is very important to carefully weight the pros and cons of home ownership, to determine if it is right for you.

Advantages of Owning a Home

There are a number of advantages to owing a home, but one of the biggest ones is that instead of paying rent each month, a portion of your monthly payment is actually going towards the cost of the home. At first, the amount that goes towards the principal of the loan is very small, with most of the monthly mortgage payment going towards interest, but after about five to eight years, this slowly reverses.

Assuming the home increases in value over time, this means that even if you have not completely paid off the mortgage yet, you should be able to sell the home, getting back some of your investment and hopefully even turning a profit.

One of the other main advantages of owning a home is that there are a number of tax benefits to home ownership. For example, all of the interest you pay on your home can be deducted from your taxes, which can have a major effect on how much you get back at the end of the year.

Also, repairs and renovations can also be claimed as a deduction, so there is a big motivation to fix and renovate ones home. Not only does this make living in the home more enjoyable, but it also helps to increase the value of the home, which is a win-win situation.

In addition to the regular tax deductions, there is also a First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Available offered by the Federal Government, which provides up to $8,000 that does not need to be paid back. This is currently available to those who have purchased a home in 2009 and the first part of 2010. In the past, there has traditionally also been a tax credit available that is basically a no-interest loan, but it has to be paid back.

One of the other main advantages to owning a home is the freedom to renovate and modify the home without having to ask anyone. This means if you want to knock down a wall to make your bedroom bigger, you don’t have to ask permission, only ensure that it can safely be done without affecting the homes structure. This applies to smaller changes too, such as changing the color of a room.

Disadvantages of Owning a Home

While there are many advantages of owning a home, there are also some disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages is that you are effectively tied to the home through a mortgage. This means you can’t just pack up and leave if you get a job in a different part of the country or if you don’t like your neighbors. Instead, you must always consider the mortgage when you are thinking about moving or leaving the area.

Also, while the ability to do pretty much whatever you want to the home can be very nice, this comes with responsibility. If a pipe breaks or there is some other sort of emergency, you can not call your landlord up like you would if you were renting. Instead, it is necessary to handle the situation on your own, including the cost.

There are also some risks of owning a home, with the main risk being that the home will loose its value. Sometimes, as can be seen in the current economic crisis, the home looses its value as homes flood the market and there end up being more low cost options available, driving the value of homes down across the board. In the case of subprime mortgages, it is also possible for the terms of the mortgage to cause how much is owed to the bank to increase faster than the value of the home increases. For this reason, it is essential to spend some time shopping around for loans and make sure to steer clear of subprime mortgages, which have higher interest rates and bad terms, such as penalties for paying the home off early.

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