Few people would argue with the great American dream of home ownership and the freedom it allows.
After all, what better feeling than to be able to paint walls any color you want, hammer nails and redesign spaces without the hassle from a landlord?
Russell Sherman, the western regional manager for Chicago Title Insurance, lists other good reasons why renters should give serious thought to buying a home.
"Unlike rental payments, which go on and on and are gone once you've made them, the mortgage on a home will be paid off some day, providing you with rent-free living for your retirement," Sherman said.
Working Way Up On a more immediate basis, he said, even if your first home isn't your dream house, you will be working your way up to the dream house when you buy any kind of home. "With appreciation and possibly some improvements, it may provide you with enough equity to make a down payment on a better property."
As the local spokesman for one of the nation's leading insurers of property titles, Sherman describes a home purchase as a "safe" investment that helps you keep up with inflation.
"Although not all homes appreciate at the same rate, and some years are better than others," Sherman said, "real estate has historically kept pace with and has often appreciated faster than the rate of inflation.
"When you live in a neighborhood or building that it basically owner-occupied, your neighbors, like you, have invested in the property and care for it. This in turn improves the value of your property."
In addition, Sherman said, homeowners may derive benefits from property taxes and other special tax deductions, such as energy credits, depreciation, restoration or rehabilitation of vintage buildings and rental units.
Income Investments For some, second single-family homes or condominiums offer good income investments and tax shelters. This kind of ownership may enable you to realize profits and tax benefits from renters who do not yet recognize the benefits of ownership, he said.
When asked to describe the role of the title insurance company, Sherman said it insures the existence or non-existence of rights to real estate. It pays the policyholder up to a stated amount for financial losses, should the title company be wrong in its determination of those rights.
"Buyers pay a one-time charge for title-insurance coverage that protects against future loss," Sherman said. "If the title is challenged for any reason, the title insurer will arrange for legal counsel and pay to defend the title, in court, if necessary. And should the claim be valid, and a loss sustained, the title insurer will pay up to the full value of the policy."
With its Western headquarters based in Pasadena, Chicago Title Insurance provides real estate services through a nationwide network of more than 160 offices, 3,500 agents and 20,000 approved attorneys.