Buying your own home is a cornerstone of the American Dream and likely one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. Without proper consideration and planning that dream can turn into a credit nightmare. Before you buy it’s important to consider all the potential pros and cons, so you can make an educated purchase.
Owning a home is initially a costly expense, but it may offer significant long-term financial benefits over time. As you make mortgage payments and the value of your home goes up, whether through structural improvements or a positive change in the housing market, your equity (what your home is worth on the market minus what you owe on the mortgage) in the property will increase. Furthermore, the interest and property tax you pay as part of your mortgage is tax deductible. The money you save on your taxes can be used to pay down your mortgage or set aside for renovations or repairs on your home.
If you eventually decide to move to a new home, your old residence can become an additional source of income. Listing your property as a rental will allow you to collect money every month, helping you pay off both your new and old mortgage.
As a homeowner, you have complete control of your property and anything that happens to it. Without a Home Owners Association (HOA) or community manager hanging over your head, you’re free to paint whatever you’d like in any color, modify the landscaping and even build additions on the home. Even if you have an HOA, you still have the freedom to turn the inside into whatever you want, which generally isn’t an option for renters.
While there are a number of positives to owning a home, it’s important to consider the negatives as well. After investing in a home, it becomes difficult to tear yourself away from the financial obligations. Renting the same residence would allow you to leave as soon as your lease was up, free of any responsibilities.
Purchasing a home is not always a guaranteed, safe investment for the future. The real estate market constantly fluctuates; property values can suddenly drop when you least expect it, making your home worth thousands of dollars less than what you paid for it.
As a homeowner, all maintenance and repair projects fall on your shoulders. If you can’t handle an issue by yourself, you’ll likely have to call a professional. Depending on the severity of the problem, your expenses can quickly add up. Replacing a roof or HVAC unit can be quite expensive, and if you don’t have the cash on hand you may end up having to finance repairs, which will add to your debt and your monthly payments.
Home Ownership Counseling
Purchasing a home is a big decision to make on your own. Fortunately, American Financial Solutions (AFS) offers consumer credit counseling nationwide and housing counseling to clients in Washington State to help them make smart choices. Contact us today to set up a confidential, one-on-one counseling session.