There are many reasons to purchase your own home. When you pay rent, all the money goes to the landlord and although you have a place to live, you get nothing for it in the long term.
When you buy your own home, every monthly payment you make pays off part of the loan you’ve taken out on the home. That means that instead of all the money going to the landlord, some of it goes to the bank but some of it goes toward your equity.
Equity is the difference between how much you owe on a home and how much it is worth. When you buy a home you are usually required to put some money down. This gives you a certain amount of equity. But often home prices will rise in a given area and this gives you more equity. It can be a very good investment.
How Much Home Can I Afford?
One of the first questions you should ask before you look at real estate is – How much can you afford? This will depend on your income, how much you already owe to other creditors and your past credit history. Use one of our mortgage calculators find figure out an estimated monthly payment.
But the purchase price of a home is only one factor in calculating how much you can afford. Your monthly payment will be determined by the entire loan amount. Often the closing costs will add to your loan amount. Also, there are property taxes and home owners insurance to pay.
Tax Benefits of Home Ownership
There is a tax benefit in home ownership. All of the interest you pay on your mortgage is tax deductible. Talk to a tax advisor to see how a mortgage payment would affect the amount you pay at tax time.
One of the biggest drawbacks to home ownership is that if anything breaks, you can’t just call the landlord. You have to make all you home repairs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a web site that can help you decide whether you should buy a home and how much you can afford.
The HUD website also has good information on predatory lending practices. It’s a good idea to find out what types of loans are available and the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mortgages.
Owning your own home can be a way of building a solid financial ground for your future. But the wrong type of mortgage or a loan with monthly payments you can’t make can ruin your credit.
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