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Pros and Cons of Owning Your Own Home

Updated on October 8, 2009

We purchased our first home (a condo) right after we got married. My parents pushed us into it, saying it was a good investment. I guess it has worked out pretty well, but sometimes I think back to that time in my life and think it probably would have been better if we had rented for awhile first. Which has led me to think about the pros and cons of owning your own home. Keep in mind that this is pretty much just my opinion and in the end you have to do what is best for you.

There are many pros to owning your own home, as long as you keep it affordable for you to do so. Don't take out a mortgage that is too large for your income, and let the equity build up in the home rather than take out a home equity loan. This makes owning your own home a financial benefit. You build up a forced savings account - equity that will be yours when you sell the house. When you have a mortgage, a large portion of your payments are interest. You can deduct this interest on your taxes - which for us, means we can itemize each year and get more money back.

When you own your own home, it is yours and you can do whatever you want with it. If you want to paint a room blood red (ceiling and all - yes we owned a house that someone had done this too) then you can. If you want to rip out half the yard and plant a garden you can. If you want to get three dogs, then you can. To me, this is one of the larger benefits. I don't have anyone to answer to about the way I live and take care of my home.

On the flip side, there are drawbacks to everything, right? It costs more money to own a home. Some people might argue with this one. In fact, that is one of the things that led to the mortgage crisis. You could take out a mortgage and have a monthly payment about the same as what you would pay for rent. This led many people to think they could afford to own a home. The thing about owning is that there are many more expenses besides just the mortgage. We have sunk $10,000 into our home over the past three years we have been here and we need to put in double that within the next few years. When the roof needs to be replaced, we have to pay for it. When the furnace breaks, there is no landlord to come in the middle of the night to fix it. We get to pay someone to repair it.

When you own a home, you are also locked into that home. You can't decide you want to move next month and then do it. You can't just give a 30 day notice to the bank and be gone. One thing to consider is how long you will be in an area and if it is an area that you really want to stay in. With the housing market so down right now, it has become very difficult to sell a home. I see houses sitting on the market for a year or more. If you are transferred for work or something, you could have a very hard time selling your home.

I find it more worrisome to own a home. When I rented, I never worried about anything breaking or needing to be replaced. Now, I worry all the time about how much longer the furnace is going to last, or how to save the money to replace the driveway. It is less stressful to rent, for sure.

While I wouldn't trade home ownership for anything, I sure wish I would have thought about the pros and cons 13 years ago when we bought our first place. I really think we would have done things differently, and honestly I think waiting a few years and getting on our feet better before owning a home would have put us in a better place financially. So before you buy (or buy again) think through all the aspects of renting versus owning and decide for yourself which will better meet your needs right now.


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    • profile image

      BOB 4 years ago


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      Sam Rose 7 years ago

      It's ultimately an individual/family choice. The best benefit to ownership is the forced savings--the main reason people actually see something from all the costs to own. Bottom line is cash flow management since quality of life cannot be improved when you're forced to buy cheap, low quality food (read: unhealthy) to pay a heavy mortgage. We have numerous friends who seem fine keeping up with the joneses while their kids come over to our house basically staved nutritionally? Quality of life is much more than owning your own home. If you must rent, force yourself to save and put more into your body. Health is real wealth.

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      TraddyFamily 7 years ago

      It is never a good idea for a family to take on a mortgage of any large size (i.e. more than 50% of the home's cost). Financially, those who need a "30 year" (or more!) mortgage, simply can not afford the "purchase" a home. An individual with no other bills might be able to take on a 30-year loan, but only if everything else in his life is simple and paid off.

      Also - a "loan" is no longer a "loan". Banks do not lend money. Banks have contracts with the "Federal Reserve" to print money off the printing presses, based on your credit score. Banks receive payment for a loan on money that your own signature created. Banks lose money if you default, because they lose contracts with the "Federal Reserve". With this system in place, it is impossible to have a financially strong nation. The answer? We should all try to avoid any participation in lending, until banks go back to being banks, and the "Federal Reserve" is dismantled.

      The gov't has made it impossible for families to rent, too. Nothing can be a bedroom without a "fire exit", etc. The laws force families into loans they don't want, for housing they can't afford. It's very frustrating. Impossible to see this government as anything except for hostile to its population.

    • Miss Belgravia profile image

      Kathleen 8 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      It depends where you are in your life. I'm a single woman, have no interest in doing home repairs, hanging wallpaper, painting, mowing the grass, etc. I love living in an apartment, where someone else takes care of all of that.

      I also like the fact that I'm only tied to one place for the duration of my lease, and can pick up and move wherever I want at the end of it. I think much of it depends on the level of a person's need for stability and their aversion to risk. I'm not really emotionally tied to where I live, and prefer to have the freedom to move on whenever I like. However, I understand that many people are very tied to their homes, and feel more secure if they own them.

      To me, living in one house for the rest of my life sounds like a nightmare. However, I know I'm in the minority, and that most people want to have a stable, secure home and feel that they are making an investment as they pay down their mortgage. Unfortunately, as recent events have shown, that is not always the case.

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      cmcone 8 years ago

      I am 50 and will never own a house again. I owned my home for 18 years. With the cost and need for repairs all the time I never really made any money when I sold. I was told my house was worth much more than I was ever able to get. I'm with the renters. When things break, call the landlord!!!

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      franki79 8 years ago

      Good take on this subject, I love it. Also before you buy/sell your house, you wantta check the real estate agency and the agent out if you decide to go that route.

      My mom had a house for 7-8 years, in that time, the roof needed replaced, right after we moved in, it was supposed to have been a brand new roof,,, if by brand new, they were referring to brand new patch job. Then when she sold it, well, I won't go into that. This is to say nothing about the real estate career, or industry, but if your going to make a large investment like that, know who you are dealing with and check they're credentials and former clients.

      Really great topic. Me, personally, I much prefer to rent than to own any day of the week. renting to me, just seems like less of a headache


    • articleposter profile image

      articleposter 8 years ago

      This is really good read, thanks for posting it up.

      If you buy a house in UK now then you looking at 25-30 years of mortgage repayments. Which is allot but seems allot better then paying the similar amount as rent.

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      jlspartz 8 years ago

      From a purely investment point of view, it can go either way. You pay rent your whole life, or own and pay to fix everything your whole life. Either way, you are paying. The best is owning without any mortgage, which happens eventually. But, if you own it and live in it, it is a liability not an asset. It only makes you money (hopefully) when you sell. Don't count on your primary residence as an asset. If someone else is renting it, either way (price goes up or down), it's getting paid off for you. That's an asset.

    • byee profile image

      byee 8 years ago

      I have always been torn about this issue. Did you know that the famous singer, Tony Bennett, still rents an apartment in Manhattan? He never worries about a mortgage, and at his age (70+), he is still happily touring and giving concerts.

      I have found that owning a home is very costly. Mortgages, home repairs, appliance upgrades--it's one big headache. Although we did "benefit" from the equity by consolidating our debt into a second mortgage, but, you know what? It's still DEBT. Why does it have to take 30 years to pay off a home, the very shelter one needs to live? Why isn't it more affordable? But, I do like the tax deductions and the freedom of doing whatever I want to the house, so that's the plus side of it.

    • pisco profile image

      pisco 8 years ago from Portugal

      I am yet to go either route, but always felt like renting was throwing money out the window. Now i understand better, and that freedom of leaving with no strings has got to be the biggest plus of renting.

    • peterander profile image

      peterander 8 years ago

      I guess its necessary to own a house. Owning a house is the biggest asset one could have.

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello Jennifer

      Excellent, considered hub. Nothing, can replace the feeling that the home is yours (albeit it with a mortgage!) I think having a sizable deposit is very important and not paying too much when you purchase.

      In my part of the world, interest on repayments of your own home is not a tax deductable expense. However, owning your own home is still a great long term investment.

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      We're basically renting out a room right now and although a lot of people are saying we should get our own home, we are still hesitant. The reason? Because we haven't really established any roots on where we are right now. You wrote a great hub Jennifer, and it made me think. Maybe we'll hold off the buying of our own house until we're convinced we will stay here for good. Thanks.

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      Baby Crib Bedding 8 years ago

      I'm glad I own my home now, but it was a suggle when we first moved in. Now with only a few years left on the mortgage its more like a forced savings plan. Time is everything.

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      Christine Mulberry 8 years ago

      You're absolutely right, there isn't one way that has all of the advantages. Owning is expensive; the house itself, repairs, and taxes. Renting is much more carefree. I rented for years, then bought my own home and paid it off after 2 and half years. No more interest payments. When I sold it, I made a good profit; when I rented, I had no money to show for it. All that rent money was gone. On the other hand, I had an awful lot of money tied up in the house that I could have used for other investments and made more money. I think in most situations, owning a home without a mortgage is definitely the thing to do financially speaking. With mortgage and interest payments, it gets to be a trickier decision and waiting may be the thing to do.

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      sukhera143 8 years ago from Home

      Great work. Keep in touch.

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      mith_moral 8 years ago

      Great article. I'm planning on buying a house very soon and these are great things to think about before jumping into it. Thank you for this.

    • skgrao profile image

      S K G Rao. 8 years ago from Bangalore City - INDIA.

      My Home should be MY HOME not owned by someone.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      I think hindsight is always 20/20 though - and as much work as a home is, I think in the long run, it has more benefits than renting (personally) as I like the idea that I belong there and have something to show for all that hard work (no matter how humble the abode is).....

    • Nemingha profile image

      Nemingha 8 years ago

      There is a lot to think about before buying a home but I'm glad it has worked out well for you.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 8 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Jennifer

      Investing in property when the market is stable is probably one of the best investments a person can make but with the volatility of all investment markets today those that are fortunate to have property should keep it at all costs. At least you are certain of a roof over your head and if you really get tired of living in the same house at least you can let it to someone else. It beats renting a house and in effect pay off somebody else's mortgage.

      Great hub - You deserve to have a 100 score!

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      pmccray 8 years ago from Utah

      Your comments are dead on, it is definitely a two edged sword when owning a home. I built a home in 2004 and already we have had minor repairs, but it quickly brought home the realization that this was now our financial responsibility. Another drawback is that my husband and I have to work so hard to keep our home that we are rarely there. I do have to say though when I'm home I love and appreciate it. If I were renting my home would not reflect the taste and comfort of my family. We enjoy that most of all.

      This was a good read

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      joodle 8 years ago

      When our financial fortunes waned a couple of years ago I had to implement series of cash flow measures. We were on the high end of the official poverty level for a family of four, and I was living in a upper middle class neighborhood. I had $200 a month discretionary for school photos, movies, car tires, never enough. Health care premiums were the biggest chunk of our pain, but the other was a surprise to me. It was the $3000 annual property tax -that went on the credit card. Ouch. We are back to "normal" but I agree whole heartedly that at a certain income level, owning a home is a huge stress and not cents-able.

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      Renee Hanlon 8 years ago from Michigan

      I agree that it's not always in a persons best interest to buy right away - even thought that used to be our mindset. Our daughter decided to keep renting since she doesn't know where she will end up long term and it is difficult to sell homes right now, which seems like a good decision to me.

    • awsydney profile image

      awsydney 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Youre right about different people having different priorities. I actually wished I started earlier but it's never too late. I like to own as much as possible from now on. :)