Buying a home is a huge deal. First-time buyers transform from renters to owners in a single transaction, a change that has far-reaching implications about how you see yourself.
Being an owner grounds you in your community.
When you buy a home, you create deep community connections in a way renting never can. After all, when you’re a renter, your relationship to the actual property and structure are less personal. You don’t own it, so if something goes wrong, you call the landlord—the owner—to make repairs. If the wind blows shingles off it is the owner’s insurance that handles getting a new roof. When a natural disaster strikes you know someone else will take care of it.
Now, as the owner, all these things are yours to manage. When you live in the property that you own, you are your own landlord. You’re the property manager in charge of repairs. The buck stops with you!
Don’t let all that responsibility deter you, though. It is that very sense of duty that creates pride of ownership. While your home doesn’t define you, it does represent you in the neighborhood and to your community. And with the responsibility come all the rights of ownership as well.
Every payment you make toward your mortgage principle adds value—equity—to your home. Each time you maintain your home and yard, you’re helping it retain that equity. As a renter, your payment went to the owner’s equity. So, if you make improvements to your home, and continue to pay toward the principle, that equity accrues to you.
Equity increases when the community or neighborhood becomes more desirable so that the fair-market value goes up. Increases due to economic growth and demand add up to more value for you … instead of an increase in your rent payment that goes to a landlord.
Being an owner helps your bottom line in other ways too.
The most predictable thing about renting is that rent will go up. That means any increase you might get to your wages or salary must go toward rent rather than something else you’d like to have. If you have a fixed mortgage, the basic cost of your housing remains the same year over year. When you receive that cost of living adjustment or new position with a bump to your income, you can spend it on improvements to your home to further increase its value, pay off some other debt, or spend it on something else entirely. It gives you choices.
Because you appreciate your property, it appreciates in value.
If you’ve never owned a home and would like to explore the possibility, start by contacting a real estate agent and get the conversation started.