Home Buying has earned a bad rap in recent years: The sub-prime mortgage crisis and ensuing economic meltdown left many homeowners underwater, unable to pay their mortgage and even facing foreclosure. Homeownership rates fell throughout the recession and got down to about 65 percent, compared with almost 70 percent before the recession, according to the Census Bureau. While record low interest rates helped entice homebuyers, the bureau reports that the homeownership rate remains relatively low, at 65.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.
If you're among those struggling to decide whether to buy versus rent, consider these 10 reasons to take the plunge into homeownership:
"Lock in a low monthly payment, and you've just taken a huge step in protecting your family against inflation."
1. You can ramp up energy efficiency. Energy-efficient improvements, from adding insulation to upgrading your air-conditioning unit, can reduce your monthly utility bill, says Jane Hodges, author of the book "Rent vs. Own." While renters can make plenty of green improvements on their own, from unplugging appliances to turning off lights, homeowners can make bigger changes, such as adding solar panels or installing an energy-efficient roof. (Of course, a renter living in a one-bedroom apartment likely uses far less energy than a homeowner in a three-bedroom house, so size can trump energy improvements.)
2. You can customize your space. Whether you need to knock down a wall to make a larger master bedroom or redo the bathroom to reflect your art deco tastes, owning the space you live in means you have the freedom to do so, without worrying about losing your security deposit.
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