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5 Surprising Benefits of Home Ownership

Let’s kick off the weekend with some cheerful thoughts.  The National Organization of Real Estate released research about the positive impacts of owning a home.  Instead of focusing on financial boons, the paper, “Social Benefits of Stable Housing” takes a look at the positive social outcomes.

The benefits might surprise you.

According to the paper, home ownership:

  • Has a significant positive impact on your child’s educational success, including higher graduation rates
  • Increases community involvement, including participating in elections and voluntary elections
  • Increases “happiness”  through higher life satisfaction and self esteem
  • Improves relationships with their neighbors
  • Decreases incidence of crime, even when controlled for socioeconomic differences

How does home ownership make this kind of impact?  Researches link most of the benefits to the stability, responsibility and pride that come with owning a home.

Stability: Home owners are less likely to move frequently than renters. Staying in one place lends stability to the household and the neighborhood.

Responsibility: Owning a home requires a certain amount of responsibility- from timely payment on mortgages to the daily maintenance required.

Pride:  Owners have pride from a sense of accomplishment: attaining a key piece in the classic American Dream.

The stability, responsibility and pride from ownership seep into every aspect of a person’s life, the paper explains.  Children may learn responsibility from their parents, and are comforted with the stability.  People will work out of pride and self interest to protect their neighborhood, which can decrease crime rates.  And so on.

This paper puts quantifies the “intangible” benefits of owning a home and backs it up with research and independent studies.  When making the decision to rent or buy, there are plenty of calculators that can quantify the finances.  It is an important part of the decision.  But it just isn’t the whole picture.

Deciding to buy was a difficult decision for my husband and I to make, and I think it is probably difficult for most first time home buyers. From a financial perspective, the answer was uncertain.

But, my experience consistent with the one described in the paper.  I am happier.  I enjoy the responsibility.  I even like my neighbors.

When making your own decision, include these factors in your “pros” column for becoming a home owner.  Turns out the “intangibles” are “tangible” after all.