Advantages of Owning a Home
Home ownership is part of the American Dream. The pride of owning your own home is one of the most significant benefits you’ll receive when you make this big commitment. Other advantages include:
Tax Breaks: When you own a home, you can take several deductions off your income tax. Deductions may vary depending on your situation, however you can write off all or part of the mortgage interest, real estate taxes paid, and costs associated from buying the home (e.g. interest points paid). If you work from your home, you can also write off a portion of other home costs such as utilities. Check with your accountant to find out what you can and cannot deduct on your taxes.
Build Equity: When you purchase a home, you usually build monetary value known as equity. In the beginning, most payments go toward interest, but some go toward the actual principal (the home). The longer you live in the home, the more equity or value you accrue. This is not true in all cases, but many times home values increase. This means when you sell your home, you can often make a profit from the equity you have built up. You can also borrow against the equity with a home equity loan. For example, the extra money may come in handy if you want to remodel your kitchen.
Stability: Renters generally have no idea what they’ll be paying a few years down the line while home owners have a fixed-rate mortgage so they’ll make the same payment for up to 30 years. During times of inflation rental payments may rise while the equity of your home will increase.
Determining the Right Home for You
First-time home buyers face many decisions when trying to determine which house is right for them. You have to determine which housing and neighborhood features are most important to you in order to find the right house for you or your family. Once you determine the most important features you need, prioritize those features. Here is a home-buying priority checklist. Consider which ones are at the top of your list when finding a new home and add your own.
Affordability: When thinking about affordability of the right house for you and your family, take into account the monthly mortgage payments, the down payment for a loan, closing costs, moving expenses, as well as the ongoing maintenance costs of your new home.
Location: Create a list of acceptable and unacceptable cities, towns, and neighborhoods where you’d like to live. Factors to consider when finding the right home for your family include school system, parks, outdoor activities, proximity of health care, size of library, crime stats, and any other quality of living standards you feel are important.
Features: Each family has different needs. Some features to consider include number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, one-story vs. two-story house, full basement, walk-up attic, one-car vs. two-car garage, acreage, type of heating system, and attached vs. detached home to name several. Your list may change slightly and become rearranged as you search for the perfect home.
Know Your Credit Score
One of the biggest things that can impact your ability to acquire a loan for a home is your credit score. Credit scores measure the risk a lender may take when deciding on a mortgage. If your credit score is not where you want it to be, have no fear – it’s never too late to become credit worthy. The first thing a lender will do is review your credit report. A high credit score will translate into a lower interest rate and that will permit you to qualify for a higher loan limit. Lower interest is directly translated into more home for your money.
Factors impacting your credit score include payment history, outstanding credit balances, credit history, and type of credit (ie auto loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc).