Why do you want to buy a home? When we ask buyers that question, the most frequently cited reasons fall into four categories. They feel like buying provides a better place to raise children than renting. They also look forward to having control over their living space and feel like a home they own is safer than a rental. Buyers also recognize buying a home is one of the best long-term investments a family can make.
At WestWind Homes, every day we deal with families that want somewhere they can tuck their children in at night. A home is more than just sticks and bricks. It’s a symbol of a happy childhood, of backyard barbecues and kindergarten sleepovers. Parents realize it’s an investment, but they’re saving more than just money. Perhaps even more precious than the equity is the memory of Saturday morning pancake breakfasts, of playing in the sprinkler all summer and painting the nursery to welcome a new arrival.
However, sometimes people who rent ask if homeownership is all it’s cracked up to be. After all, renters don’t have to budget for home maintenance, and it costs much less to move in. But when you look at the economic, physical and social benefits that come with buying a home, it’s easy to see the best choice for families.
You’ve probably already thought about the fact that the money you spend on rent, you never get back. You worked hard all month to make it, now it’s gone.
Singles can get by on very little. Really, you can rent a room somewhere and be fine. But once there’s more than just you involved, your space needs increase. That’s even truer when you start having children.
Families need at least two bedrooms and space to move around. That means more expensive rent, even more money that goes down the drain every month. In contrast, buying a home offers economic benefits.
Real estate is one of the safest investments because over time, property almost always appreciates or gains in value. The National Association of Realtors says on average, homes appreciate at an annual rate of about 3.7 percent.
So let’s say you buy a home today for $150,000. You live there for ten years, then you decide to sell. At an annual appreciation rate of 3.7 percent, your home is worth $215,714.24 ten years after you bought it. When you sell, you make almost $66 thousand dollars in profit. You can use that money to buy a bigger home, pay for your child’s education or invest in a business opportunity.
Or, if you stay in your home until you pay it off and you started with a 30-year mortgage, you could see an even bigger profit. The home for which you paid $150,000 in 30 years is worth $446,122.32, over three times what you paid for it. At this point, you might be approaching retirement age. Some people sell their home and use that accumulated wealth to travel. Others downsize when children are grown and use their equity to live the good life.
At any time after you start building equity, you can take advantage of that appreciation if you need money. A home equity loan allows you to borrow against what your home is worth, so the amount your home has increased in value is available to you in actual dollars and cents. You can’t say that about a rental.
Home values keep going up, and so does rent. When you buy your home, you lock in the payment amount, so you never have to worry about budgeting for more.
Most families see an increase in income as time goes by. The longer you work at your job, the more opportunities you have for raises and promotions. If you’re an entrepreneur, you get past the first tough years and financial uncertainty and start seeing real profits roll in. Your paycheck gets bigger, but your house note stays the same.
Reduced money stress allows you to focus more on your family. The energy you would have exhausted on worry you still have available for building, strengthening and enjoying the relationships that matter most.
If you rent, at the back of your mind is always the recognition your home doesn’t belong to you. Something that isn’t yours can be taken away. Most of the time, landlords are thankful for good renters, but sometimes they still decide to sell or make drastic changes. You hesitate to make plans for the future when they involve your living situation.
When you own your home, as long as you make your mortgage payments, no one can take it from you. Financial planning for the future is easier, because your payments stay predictable.
You know it’s safe to plan family holidays years into the future. You can assure your mom you’ll have a place for her to stay any time she needs it, and your children know even when they’re grown, they’ll have somewhere to return. That security becomes woven into the fabric of who you are and who your children will become.
You don’t have to wait a decade for homeownership to make a difference in family life. Buying a home is better than renting for tangible reasons families experience right away. A home you own rather than rent imparts physical benefits you can see and touch.
It’s possible to find nice rental property, but usually an apartment, duplex or rental home isn’t the same quality as a home. Good landlords take care of property maintenance. They make repairs when needed and choose construction materials for durability. But the most important thing in each decision is their pocketbook, not your long-term happiness.
Bad landlords cut corners everywhere possible. They reason tenants are just going to tear things up, so why install anything nice to begin with. You end up living in a home or apartment that doesn’t look or feel like home.
In contrast, everything about a WestWind Home is designed with families in mind. We start by planning communities in locations that are going to offer opportunities for families now and will appreciate steadily. We build on post-tension slabs so every foundation lasts. We choose construction materials for durability and energy efficiency, and our bulk buying power makes homes more affordable for Texas buyers. Plus, we offer high-quality finishes in all of today’s top trends.
Homes for sale tend to be in higher income, better quality neighborhoods. They often have better schools than areas of town filled mostly with rentals. It’s not that the teachers or educational structures are different, it’s more about the students and parents they serve.
Think about it. Children that come from stable homes and parents who are committed to giving them the best are more able to focus on their school work. They’re less likely to make unhealthy lifestyle choices and more likely to prioritize academics. Financially stable parents have more time to help with homework and to participate in their child’s education. Your child grows up surrounded by a stable core of classmates who are also supported by dedicated parents.
In contrast, renters move more often. Schools that serve a lot of apartment complexes, mobile home parks and rental properties sometimes have a revolving door. As hard as teachers and administrators work to encourage learning, the student population experiences much more change. Renters also tend to have less money in savings, so they have fewer resources when things go wrong. Parents are more likely to feel uncertainty and financial stress related to their home situation. Children sense that stress, and it changes the family dynamic.
A study from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found children of home-owning parents had standardized math test scores that were nine percent higher than children of parents who rent. Reading scores averaged seven percent higher. That’s almost a letter grade in both areas.
Residential stability is good for the whole family, especially when the home you own is close to everything you need. When you’re raising a family, you don’t have time to waste dealing with traffic. It helps when employment options, grocery stores, dining and entertainment are all nearby. That allows you to spend more time building relationships and less time on your commute.
WestWind Homes communities also have amenities that make them a positive place for families. Many have walking trails and community recreation areas. All are located with nearby access to major highways or interstates with great schools and medical facilities right around the corner.
With rental property, most families are limited by the landlord’s design choices. If you want to make a change, you have to get permission, and you’ll probably face restrictions. If your landlord does approve your decorating choices, you have to pay for improvements, but you don’t get anything back for your work and investment.
When you own your home you can redecorate as extensively and as often as you choose. If you want to paint your daughter’s room to match her favorite pink pony and decorate your son’s room in dinosaurs, that’s up to you. If you own your home for a few years and decide to update the kitchen, you may receive more for your home when you sell.
It’s good for kids to play outside. When you own your home, you provide them with a backyard environment where they can run, jump, yell, climb trees and do all the other things kids need to develop healthy bodies.
You also get to know your neighbors. In WestWind Homes communities, they’re other homeowners like you, and many of them will have children around the same age. Your kids find other friends and develop childhood relationships around tire swings, treehouses and summer popsicles.
However, the kids aren’t the only family members who enjoy the outdoors. Some homeowners love having space for their own vegetable or flower garden. Others turn a backyard patio into an outdoor living area for neighborhood barbecues. Because you own it, it makes sense to turn your yard and other outdoor spaces into exactly what you want them to be so you can enjoy them for the years to come.
All the benefits of owning over renting translate into better mental health. You feel good about where your kids go to school and the way they’re growing up. They bring home good grades, and their achievement is a source of pride. The way you decorated your home gives you a sense of personal accomplishment, and when friends and family members see it, you realize your social status has changed.
Areas with a higher percentage of single-family homes experience less crime. You feel safe when you go to bed at night. You’re building equity and your housing costs are stable, so you sleep with fewer money worries.
Sometimes people bring up the headache that goes along with home maintenance. It’s true, you’ll have to budget for repairs and keep up with your yard. However, that causes you to grow in ways you pass along to your children. Those problems create an opportunity for positive family interactions. It also helps parents teach hands-on problem solving to kids.
Homeownership requires parents to learn things like home repair, financial, and interpersonal skills. When something breaks at a rental property the landlord handles repairs and children don’t usually even notice. Children of homeowners hold the flashlight and hand over tools while mom or dad makes repairs. It’s definitely more hassle, but it creates a sense of capableness, of self-esteem. That improved self-esteem and decreased financial stress among homeowners impacts children’s behaviors.
Families also know they’re settled for the long term, so they’re more likely to invest time in their community. Neighbors spend time together. Parents volunteer at their child’s school. Families donate time to local charities. The investment makes the community even stronger.
WestWind Homes helps families find a home where they can set down roots, build memories and grow relationships. Tour our homes for sale or find out more about what we build when you get in touch today.