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Having trouble deciding whether to buy a home?

While home ownership isn't right for everyone,

there are a few advantages that are well worth considering.


Deciding to buy a home is a big step in anyone’s life. For first-time home buyers in particular, the financial commitment of a mortgage can be daunting. Why pay all that money up front when you can simply go on renting? The answer, of course, depends on many different factors. But there are several good reasons that everyone should consider.

1. The chance to build equity.
Aside from having a roof over your head, the ability to build equity is one of the most valuable aspects of home ownership. Each monthly mortgage payment you make helps you to build equity and brings you closer to owning your home outright. Home improvements that increase the value of your property may also add to your equity. And, if property values in your area rise, your equity will, too.

2. Possible appreciation.
Most large purchases, like cars, boats or electronics, go down in value as they age. Conversely, a home usually increases in value over the years, especially if it’s been well maintained. And if your home’s value has increased substantially by the time you’re ready to move, you may be able to profit from its higher resale price.

3. Preferential credit options.
Once you build up equity in your home, you can benefit from a new avenue of borrowing through home equity loans and lines of credit, and cash-out refinancing. Home equity loans -- loans that are leveraged against the value of your house -- are usually offered at a lower interest rate than conventional loans because, with the house as collateral, they represent a lower risk to the lender.

If you manage these credit sources wisely, they can become a valuable source of income for major purchases such as a new car, vacation property, home renovations or emergency funds to use in the event of such things as a job loss or unforeseen medical expenses.

However, because a home equity loan is secured with your house, it’s important to never borrow more than you can comfortably afford to pay back. Otherwise, if you miss your payments, the lender could end up taking possession of your home.

4. Beneficial tax breaks
Home ownership does require you to pay some extra fees, such as property taxes and interest on your mortgage balance. But fortunately, both of these expenses are usually tax deductible.

Borrowing against your home’s equity may provide a tax break, too. Home equity loans of up to $100,000 are usually tax deductible. In addition, if you’ve used your house as a primary residence for two or more years, you can exclude up to $250,000 (or $500,000 if you and your spouse file jointly) in capital gains when you sell the property. (Check with your financial advisor for advice on your personal tax situation.)

5. Personal control
As a homeowner you can often exercise greater control over your housing costs than renters. For example, you may choose to lower your monthly utility bills by reducing your energy consumption. This may not be possible as a renter if utility charges are bound up in your rental payment. Also, when you own your own home, you have more freedom to renovate as you choose without worrying about restrictions set out in a tenancy agreement. Plus, any upgrades you make may eventually pay off by increasing the resale value of your home.

6. Pride of Ownership
Finally, home ownership has plenty of non-financial benefits, too. When you own a home, it’s yours; you can do what you want with it in terms of decorating, gardening or renovating.

Remember, you not only own the house, but the land it sits on. There are few things as empowering as knowing that there’s a piece of the world out there that belongs to you; a place you can truly call home.