Many times you hear people say “Owning your home is not an investment.” It may not be an investment, but it does involve spending money that could be better used elsewhere. Still, I do admit that there are intangible benefits that you can’t easily put a price on when you own your own home. Here are some advantages that come to mind:
It will be very rare that you will be kicked out of your home. As someone who has been unceremoniously given 30 days notice to leave a rental that they enjoy, I look forward to a day when I don’t have to worry about frantically searching for another rental or hiring a moving company. As long as I avoid any future freeway developments I should be able to find a home I can live in for as long as I want.
You can improve your home. I have zero desire to fix up my current rental. Why bother? Heck, I’ll probably just lose my deposit if I try. But in a place I own, I can start to make little customizations that make life just that much cozier. First thing, I would make my house totally energy-efficient, both saving me money and reducing consumption. Then, I could the flooring, split a big bedroom into two smaller ones, make a garden, whatever.
It’s hard to measure this, but I feel like such improvements would really improve my happiness level. Of course, I can also think of some disadvantages:
What if your neighbors are jerks? What if they hate my dogs, or worse, like to breed vicious pit bulls? (It’s happened. Dogs have died.) I’ve had my share of annoying neighbors. Selling a house definitely costs more than simply moving out of an apartment, even if you have to break the lease.
For condos: What if your homeowners association stinks? I’ve heard some horrors stories about egomaniac HOA presidents with their overpriced pet projects and expensive assessments. I don’t think anyone loves their HOA.
Improvements cost money. If some people consider having a mortgage to be a form of forced-saving, maybe renting is a form of forced-frugality? Most renters don’t have weekly trips to Home Depot or argue about what kind of tile to put in their kitchens. They just call the landlord when something breaks.
After writing this, it seems that a lot of my feelings center around permanency. For me, I don’t want to move to a bigger house in less than 5 years. I’m tired of moving every 12 months. I want a home. I just have to find one at the right price.
Homeowners: What are some intangibles that I missed?
By Jonathan Ping | Real Estate | 4/4/07, 11:39pm