Buying Your First Home

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Thinking of buying your first home? Weighing your options?

I remember buying my first home. It was an out-dated rambler in Taylorsville and I wanted the financial benefits of owning. What I didn’t realize is that there is much more to owning a home than simply paying a lender instead of a landlord.

The first few weeks after I closed on my fixer-upper house were spent ripping out carpet, laying tile, refinishing cabinets, painting, cutting down trees and bushes, installing new plumbing and lighting fixtures, etc. This very quickly taught me about the expense of remodeling. Instead of just complaining to a landlord that I wanted something fixed and hoping they would fix it, now I had to do it myself -and pay for it myself. I choose the fixtures and the carpet and I got to decide what colors to paint and what appliances I wanted.

My wife, my friends, and family all worked hard to get the remodel done. It wasn’t always easy, but it was funner than I expected and it was so worth it. And after a couple of weeks living in my newly-purchased home it really hit me.

“This is my home.”

As in, “In this whole great big world, this piece of land is mine.” And that was an incredible feeling to me. I could do what I wanted to my house and I was responsible for the upkeep. If something breaks it’s my responsibility to fix it because this is my property.

Fixing and repairing things in your new home is a responsibility, but it’s also a privilege. You get to decide how to repair something or what quality to replace a fixture with. And you get to take pride in your home, knowing that you are taking care of an appreciating asset and taking care of your own place.

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I have owned other homes without doing any remodeling or repairing of any kind, but I enjoy remodeling my home and now our home is constantly being improved or altered to fit our changing taste and style.

There is a pride of ownership that comes with owning your own home that simply is not there when you are renting from a landlord, or borrowing space. The neighborhoods are nicer when you own and are surrounded by other homeowners because of this. This is why FHA loans cannot be given on condos, townhomes, or other PUD’s with a renter-occupancy rate over a certain amount.

Properties appreciate faster, on average, when they are occupied by the homeowners.

And appreciation is a wonderful thing for a homeowner- actually earning money every year as your property goes up in value. Some stretches of time your home will appreciate faster than other times, but over the course of ten years- most every property will go up in value significantly if taken care of. And most will go up substantially. No matter how great your rental is, it’s not going to earn you any money- period.

And every year when I go to do my taxes I have tens of thousands of dollars to write-off on my taxes. I could never do that renting. So I save thousands of dollars every year and I earn tens of thousands with appreciation, and I have a pride of ownership I could not get from renting.

You can calculate all the numbers and weigh all the risks you want, but at the end of the day owning is a better investment, and not just financially. With that said, I did sell that first home after less than two years and made about $40,000.

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3 thoughts on “Buying Your First Home

  1. I went through the same thing when I bought my first house. And even after I bought the house I’m in now (my 3rd) I sat in my living room one day while the boxes still were not unpacked and I just thought about how this is my house and it felt cool because this is in the neighborhood I used to wish I could live in when I was younger! It is a great feeling.

  2. Greg, your article does two things that are great (1) the abstract- points out the “it’s mine!?!?!” feeling that is SO wonderful and (2) the logical- points out the financial gains (regarding tax breaks and investment return).

    I would also add (1) the abstract- the feeling that you have overcome all these hurdles that you never thought you would (credit, income, etc. to get that loan), just so you CAN change the flooring without “permission” and (2) the logical- if something happens to your rental home, your insurance covers your belogings (if you’re insured) but you still have to move and start over again, AND that as a homeowner your Homestead Exemption is a phenomenal amount that you see in your favor on your tax returns!

    Greg, your column is objective and encouraging- our market needs both right now- great job 🙂

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