First Time Home Buyer's Selection!

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Are you paying way too much in rent right now? Are you considering becoming a home owner instead?  Here are 23 reasons you absolutely should!

1. IT'S CHEAPER THAN RENTING.
Although buying a house is more expensive at the outset, it can actually be cheaper than renting in the long term if you play your cards right. According to real estate website Trulia, homeownership is 38% cheaper on average than renting nationally, which is a 3% decrease from 2013. Their calculations are based on a traditional 20% down, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. They compared the total costs of homeownership (including maintenance, taxes, and insurance) to the total costs of renting for the same period of time.

The fact is by paying more up front on your own home, you can actually save money in the long run.

2. IT FORCES YOU TO SAVE.
Speaking of that 20% down payment, have you considered how you're going to pay it? Anyone who has had to save money for a large purchase knows that it takes discipline to budget properly so that you can reach your goals faster. There are also options to purchase homes for as little as a 3.8% down on a FHA loan or 5% down on a conventional loan with private mortgage insurance, and even a zero down USDA or Veteran's home loan. 

3. YOU CAN BUILD EQUITY.
One of the most significant benefits of homeownership is building equity, which is your share of the value of your home. In more technical terms, it's the difference between the market value of your home and the amount that you still owe. If you pay 20% down on a home that costs $200,000, you would owe $160,000 and your equity would total $40,000 (the interest you'll pay doesn't factor in to this equation). Pretty straightforward, right? However, if your home appreciates in value, your equity increases even though the amount you owe does not.

Let's say that in a few years, the market value of your home increases to $275,000, and you've paid off a total of $70,000. You still only owe $130,000, but your equity would be valued at $145,000. A study conducted by Merrill Lynch found that while homeowners under the age of 35 have equity valued at $53,700 on average, homeowners over the age of 65 have around $212,800 in home equity. If you buy a home now, imagine how much equity you could have by retirement! Instead of your money disappearing into your landlord's pocket each month, you'll be paying into something that can become more valuable over time.

4. IT INCREASES YOUR NET WORTH.
Homeownership is more than just the American Dream, it's also been an effective way to build one's net worth. Sure, business acumen and investing know-how are other ways to build wealth, but for the average Joe, homeownership has been the most tried and true method of building net worth.  Unless you're consistently saving and investing your money through other means, a house can serve as a way to store your wealth and build your net worth.

5. YOUR HOUSE CAN APPRECIATE IN VALUE OVER TIME.
Let's be frank — property doesn't always appreciate in value over time (which many learned the hard way in 2008), but guess what? Many experts believe that the worst is behind us. If you do your research and purchase a home with both eyes wide open, your home's value may increase each year that you own it. 

6. IT'S MORE STABLE.
Buying a home is a big step in settling down and putting down roots in a community. Researchers find that not only do homeowners gain a sense of stability when they settle into their first home, but they also contribute to neighborhood stability.

7. YOU'LL HAVE STRONGER SOCIAL TIES TO YOU COMMUNITY.
Have you ever wished you lived in one of those idyllic neighborhoods where you can borrow sugar from a neighbor and share a homemade pie with another neighbor? If you're constantly moving from rental to rental, you probably don't get to know your neighbors very well, aside from the usual small talk you make in passing. Because most homeowners stay in their homes for longer periods of time, they're more likely to form relationships with their neighbors and are more invested in their community.

8. YOU'LL FEEL MORE SECURE.
You won't find homeowners desperately looking for housing after receiving an eviction notice. Unless the bank forecloses on your house, your home is yours until you decide to sell it. 

9. IT'S PRIVATE.
Do you really want your neighbors to hear your child's morning meltdowns? Do your neighbor's TV sitcoms frequently keep you up at night? As any renter can attest to, sharing walls with other tenants can be awkward at best and annoying at worst. Aside from noisy neighbors, renters also have to deal with meddling landlords who have access to their private space. The privacy that homeownership can offer is priceless.

10. A PART OF YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
Owning your own home comes with more responsibilities and expenses, but the good news is that some expenses are tax deductible. Property taxes, private mortgage insurance premiums, energy-efficient additions to your home, and the interest that you pay each month on your mortgage can all be deducted from your taxes. 

11. YOU CAN CREATE YOUR DREAM HOUSE.
As a renter, you're basically living in somebody else's home and are subject to their petty rules and decorating whims. Want to install a shelf in your bedroom for your book collection? Better ask permission. Want to change the color of the living room? Forget it. Want to knock down a wall to make more space for your entertainment center? Also not going to happen.

When you purchase your own home, you have more control over the redecorating and remodeling.

12. YOUR MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS WON'T INCREASE WITHOUT YOUR SAY-SO.
If you're a homeowner in an up-and-coming neighborhood, then congratulations - your home will probably appreciate in value in the coming years. If you're a renter in an up-and-coming neighborhood, then you better brace yourself for the rent hikes that come with increased demand for housing. 

13. YOU CAN TAKE OUT A SECOND MORTGAGE FOR AN EMERGENCY.
Your house is an investment and is most valuable when you're paying off your mortgage and building equity. However, if you ever find yourself in dire straits, taking out a second mortgage on your home is an option that you would never have as a renter. Common reasons that people take out a second mortgage are for major home repairs, the purchase of a second home, medical bills, or financing a child's college education. Although taking out a second mortgage should be a last resort, homeowners have an advantage over renters because they can use their home equity if an emergency arises.

14. YOU CAN RENT OUT YOUR HOME.
Contrary to what you might think, owning one's first home isn't the end of the road for many homeowners. Although homeownership is a long-term commitment, many homeowners go on to rent their homes when they purchase a second one, or even rent out extra space to other tenants. 

15. YOUR KIDS WILL PERFORM BETTER IN SCHOOL.
Researchers have found a positive correlation between homeownership and children's academic achievement. Because most homeowners stay in their homes for a longer period of time, they provide a more stable home life for children, which, in turn, affects their academic performance. 

16. YOUR KIDS WILL BEHAVE BETTER.
The stability of homeownership doesn't just affect children's academic achievement - it can also affect their behavior. 

Renters and homeowners can try to manage their children's emotional distress that comes from relocating, but homeowners have more control of when they move and under what circumstances.

17. YOU'LL FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF.
Kids aren't the only ones who benefit from homeownership. Homeowners themselves often feel more at peace and in control of their environment when they own their own home. In a study conducted by University of North Carolina, researcher Kim Manturuk found that the sense of control that homeowners gain when they own their own home contributes to their positive mental health because homeownership can give one a sense of accomplishment and pride.

18. YOU'LL BE HEALTHIER.
Injuries and illness don't happen frequently to renters, but when they do, it can be debilitating or even life threatening. For example, recent news shows that a growing number of Boston tenants are facing problems like leaky roofs, mold, debris, and piled up trash. Mold and safety hazards can slip the attention of negligent landlords, but the ones who pay for it with their health are their tenants.

The study by researchers William M. Rohe and Leslie S. Stewart shows that homeowners usually have homes that are in better condition than rental properties. In a report published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies, research shows that homeowners are healthier than renters when it comes to problems caused by dampness, toxic substances, and allergens; homeowners have more control over the maintenance of their living space and are more likely to fix a problem that can be dangerous.

19. YOU CAN HAVE PETS.
If you're an animal lover, your desire to have a furry companion may be thwarted by strict renting rules. Landlords may be flexible when it comes to birds and fish, but dogs and cats are often deal-breakers for more demanding landlords.  Owning your own home is a surefire way to provide Fido or Whiskers a forever home.

20. YOU'LL BE MORE POLITICALLY ACTIVE.
Being more invested in your community also means that you'll probably become more engaged in local politics. Zoning laws, property taxes, and crime rates seem much more relevant when you know you won't be moving residences in the near future.

21. YOU'LL LIVE IN BETTER HOUSING.
After years of being rented out to a long line of tenants, a rental property is bound to see some wear and tear. Although it's the landlord's responsibility to maintain the property, some damage might slip their notice or be out of their control because of bad tenants. 

22. YOU'LL LIVE IN A SAFER NEIGHBORHOOD.
Studies show that homeownership is linked to a lower crime rate.

23. YOU'LL HAVE SOMETHING TO PASS ON TO YOUR CHILDREN.

Source; Cassy Perera is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a mortgage comparison and reviews website. Write to Cassy Perera at cassy@creditdonkey.com