Why do you own your home? Why do you want to buy a home? Why do you want to sell your home? According to Fannie Mae the top reasons people buy a home or aspire to buy a home are: 1)To have a better place to raise their children; A place where their family can feel safe; 2)To have more space; Freedom to renovate to their own taste; and Owning is a better investment. Does this hold true for you? How about for a friend or family member you are close to? I know that most of these were a factor in my personal decision to own a home rather than rent. While I do think that sometimes for some people it is better to rent than own (or possibly it is the only option), the vast majority of the time there is no question it is better to own than rent.
It has a lot to do with freedom. We are a free nation with citizens who strive for financial freedom, enjoy their religious freedom, freedom to say what we want, etc. Something about owning your home gives you freedom. People have to live somewhere and at least in the United States, people want to own where they live.
Every day I work with people who are buying a home and they all have their own unique set of circumstances. Some are newly married and are ready to start their life together. Some need more space. Some have the means to buy a home in a special location to enjoy the beauty of the oceans or mountains. Either way the drive to own is strong.
Let’s face it; we have been through tough economic times in the past several years. Many of us have been caught in the midst of short sales, foreclosures and even bankruptcies. The first question I’m asked by someone who has been through a tough time is “how long do I have to wait before I can buy another house?”
THE AMERICAN DREAM
In 1931 the phrase “The American Dream” was defined by James Truslow Adams, historian and author, in his book Epic of America- “…life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. Homeownership is a very strong part of the American Dream.
We have all read books, seen movies and heard stories about immigrants who have come to America in pursuit of a better life in a society that allowed them to better themselves based on their own ability and achievement. Most of these people were coming to America from a society that was without opportunity because the class structure did not allow for significant achievement…you pretty much stayed in the class in which you were born.
In America that is not the case, every day we have the freedom to make better choices, work smarter, work harder, take risks, etc. all in pursuit getting to a better place than we came from.
Owning a home is one of the best ways to better yourself as judged in financial AND non- financial terms. For example, according to the Federal Reserve (2012), on average, Homeowners have a total net worth over thirty times greater than those who rent their home. For most of us the equity in our home is the biggest asset on our balance sheet.
Some of the non-financial related ways we are better off owning a home versus renting include having more room for our growing family by way of buying a bigger house or adding on to our current house… if you rent, your landlord is not likely to allow you to knock down walls and add on to your apartment.
Another way we are better is by having the ability to choose where we want to live. Location is the single most important variable that affects the value of real estate, there is good reason for this…if the location is unsafe, polluted, noisy, high-traffic, prone to flooding, etc. then it less valuable than a location which is safe, quiet, convenient, dry, etc.
Achieving the American Dream is a noble pursuit. I would argue that owning your own home is one of the very best ways to live that Dream. It isn’t the only way but it is so important psychologically and financially that it helped make the USA the wonderfully free and prosperous nation it is and will be.
WHY do you own your home? WHY do you want to buy a home? Go out and achieve the American Dream!