Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
Relocation Specialist
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E-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com
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Subject: Top Ten Benefits of Home Ownership

Consumer doubts about the purchase of a first home are sometimes considerable. Can I afford a home? Will I qualify for financing? Where should I live? If questions like these have you staying up watching late night TV, take a moment to consider the Top Ten Benefits of Home Ownership.

Reason # 10: Pride of Community
Homeowners generally take better care of their property and make better neighbors than renters. Something about the permanence of home ownership enhances pride of community and leads to better neighborhoods. Crime is usually lower and community involvement and activities are enhanced. Neighbors tend to look after each other.

Reason # 9 : Security of Tenancy
When renting, you never know when you may have to move because of new ownership, rent increases or other changes. As a homeowner, you decide when and if you want to move. The peace of mind that comes with that security of tenancy tends to reduce stress.

Reason # 8: Privacy
While there are usually some limits on the access landlords have to property, almost all landlords can access your property for necessary inspections and maintenance. For many renters, this lack of privacy is a significant discomfiture. Homeowners on the other hand, generally have much stronger property rights and experience an increase in perceived and actual privacy.

Reason # 7: Family Stability
A typical homeowner generally stays put for 7-10 years. By living in one place for a longer period of time, children are more likely to be raised in a stable environment. Advantages of this stable environment include the consistency of educational experiences, ability to form long-term friendships, and the child's overall emotional security.

Reason # 6: Decorating
Homeowners are free to redecorate, remodel and accessorize a home the way they want too. The benefits of homeownership are not only that you have the right to make improvements but that the value of those improvements becomes yours as well. Having your living space and exteriors just the way you want them can significantly increase your satisfaction with your living environment.

Reason # 5: Financial Predictability
When you buy a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you have more predictability over future housing costs. Because your interest rate never changes, the amount of your payment never changes. The advantages of that financial predictability extend beyond mere peace of mind. Financial planning and credit are more easily managed with a fixed-rate mortgage compared to renting.

Reason # 4: Building Equity
When you own your own home, you "pay rent" to yourself instead of a landlord. Most homeowners pay for their purchase by obtaining a mortgage. As you pay off that mortgage, your equity builds and you gain an increasingly larger share in a valuable asset. Some people like to think of a mortgage as a forced savings plan. Even if you intend to live in that home the rest of your life, the asset can work for you in many other ways (such as home equity lines of credit). And of course, a home is a nice asset to pass along in an estate.

Reason # 3: Investment Appreciation
There are certainly no guarantees of property value appreciation. In the long-term, however, real estate valuations almost always increase. This means that the value of your home when you go to sell it may be significantly higher than when you purchased it. That difference in value is called appreciation. You can reinvest that appreciation in other real estate or you may wish to "downsize" and keep the value of that appreciation for retirement or other purposes. This is an especially popular technique for homeowners whose children have grown up and moved out of a larger home. Homeowners who can take advantage of the value of their property appreciation often experience significant financial benefits.

Reason # 2: Tax Benefits
In the United States, the cost of home mortgage interest and property taxes is usually tax deductible. Depending on your circumstances, thousands of dollars in taxes can be saved each year. For many homeowners, they see tax benefits as the principal financial benefit of home ownership. These tax savings are not limited to federal taxes either. Many states and localities either base their tax system on the federal system or offer similar incentives to home ownership. Some additional benefits are designed specifically for first-time home buyers.

While you should always consult a real estate professional, tax specialist or investment advisor about unique circumstances that may apply to you, these benefits are generally available. But the number one benefit of home ownership may be the least tangible.

Reason # 1: Pride of Ownership
Owning your own home adds to your own sense of self-esteem and personal pride. The satisfaction that comes from feeling connected to the land you occupy and the home in which you live is ages-old. Few accomplishments in life are as enduring or enriching as the experience of living in your own home.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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