Freedom and Privacy
One of the greatest benefits of owning your own home is the freedom it can give you. If you live in an apartment, you have to deal with thin walls and noisy neighbors, and the task of keeping your own household relatively noise free. Your landlord may come and go, and there are many rules that limit everything from whether you can have pets to the color of your walls.
For many people, the privacy and freedom that come with home ownership are a strong incentive to purchase, and for good reason. If you own your home, you can do whatever you want with it. You can hang pictures or paint the walls as you please. You’re free to make permanent renovations, and you don’t have to worry as much about disturbing the neighbors when you do.
When you first purchase your home, your down payment is your only stake, as you pay down your mortgage, you own more of what may be an increasingly valuable property. This is called equity.
A benefit of building equity is that you can borrow against it. Because the interest on a home equity loan may be tax deductible and the loan terms are quite long, many people use such loans to pay down short-term, high-interest debts. Home equity loans are also an affordable way to make home improvements or to invest in other properties.
An Appreciating Investment
Like any investment, the real estate market fluctuates over periods of time. However, if you’re in it for the long term, the value of your property could appreciate depending on the current market values. Unlike other more volatile commodities the price of real estate may go up so your home creates value while you live in it. Unlike renting (which increases with inflation), fixed mortgage payments will stay the same even as the market fluctuates.
When you decide to sell your home you probably won’t have to pay tax on the proceeds (assuming it’s your primary residence). If you’ve lived in your house for two of the past five years, up to $500,000 (if you’re married) or $250,000 (if you’re single) of your earnings will be tax-free.
Interest and the costs associated with closing are some of the biggest home expenses you will have to pay. Fortunately, this can work in your favor. When you file your taxes you may be able to deduct loan discount points and all the interest you paid this year. This is a significant benefit during your first few years of home ownership, because you generally pay more towards interest during that time.