Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness- these three pillars have been declared as inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independance. As such, citizen of the United States often spend their lives working for different things pertaining to each pillar. As time progressed, talk of the American Dream - which included life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - became more and more common. For decades, the United States has been comprised of people who have sought out their own dreams and for many, owning a home was a part of the definition of the American Dream. In today’s society, non-owner occupied homes can make up for almost 30% of Idaho’s properties. So, what makes owning a home better than renting, especially when so much of the population rents the roof over their heads?
In some areas, purchasing a home and paying a mortgage monthly can be cheaper than renting a property in the same area. While this doesn’t necessarily apply across the board, many people who are in an area with a good job and amenities that they like find that homeownership can be more lucrative than renting. Of course, there are several additional costs that should be considered when comparing the cost of renting to the cost of owning. Homeowner’s association fees can be seen in both types of living, but more often it is seen in those who own their homes because landlords who are renting their properties to other people generally offer to pay HOA fees. Likewise, landlords also take on maintenance and repair expenses and some even include a few utilities and yard work. Not all choose to provide these services, but many times those things are included in the rental contract pricing. This can make it difficult to know for sure how much money is saved by owning because it varies depending on the home.
Buying a home can be seen as a great investment. One complaint heard from many who rent is that it feels like the money they pay monthly goes to another person instead of going to something tangibly beneficial to the renter. This is a valid concern as most of a mortgage payment goes toward eventual ownership of a home. Years down the road, someone who is renting may still not have property in their name while a homeowner could be halfway finished with paying the loan back. Once a loan is paid off, the money that would be going to monthly payments will instead be freed up to go toward many other things, including sprucing up the property.
Before buying, it’s a good idea to list out the reasons behind wanting to buy. One piece of advice often given to those looking to buy is to do so only if the plan is to stay in the home for several years. Moving out within two years can lead to short term capital gains. Capital gains are a sum of money owed if the property isn’t lived in for at least two out of five years prior to selling a home. Because of this, it may be a better move financially to continue paying rent until a more steady living situation can come to be.
Another thing to consider prior to grabbing the “for sale” section of the paper is that homes often require some money up front. This can be one of the main reasons that people choose to rent. Down payments on a home can be a hefty chunk of change and some banks require a good credit score in order to loan money. Renters often are in the in between place where one or the other isn’t quite in place. Saving up for a down payment can take a bit of time as can bumping up a low credit score, however many states offer incentives to people who haven’t owned a home before. To those who are hesitant to buy a home due to lack of funds up front, it may be worth a perusal of the different programs out there available for first time home buyers. It is important to remember, as mentioned before, that buying a home includes closing costs and may have other monthly costs that should be calculated into the cost of buying a home, even if a down down payment isn’t initially required.
Renters who live busy lives may have other reasons for renting instead of owning. Often, since many things are included in the cost of rent, the convenience of not being responsible for yard work and maintenance may be worth the extra money. It all depends on the person and the lifestyle they live. Owning a home can be a fulfilling way to live, but it does come with more responsibilities. Keeping up outdoor appearances, calling and paying for plumbers, electricians, and other maintenance workers can add up if many things break down at the same time. Unfortunately, there is no landlord to call when the home is owned by the tenant.
The freedom and pride that can accompany owning a home or apartment can be exhilarating and worth every penny. Since the country was founded, people have moved from many areas and from all walks of life to fulfill the American Dream of owning their own home. Though there can be obstacles to homeownership, it can be a rewarding journey with positive financial profits.