Whether or not to buy a home is one of the largest financial decisions most individuals will ever have to make.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to buying a home. Owning one’s own home can provide a sense of satisfaction, stability, financial security and comfort, although home ownership does not come without certain costs ~ both the benefits and the costs should be considered before making a final decision.

Homes are expensive both in their upfront costs and in their ongoing upkeep. Typically buyers finance such large purchases for 20, 30 and even 40 years, this means that the home will cost you much more in the long run than just the sticker price, in fact for the first 15 years of your loan your payment will largely pay interest and barely touch the principle (purchase price).

Fortunately, interest rates for home loans are typically quite affordable these days hovering around 4.5%.

In addition to the interest you will have to pay on your purchase there will be insurance costs and upkeep costs. Insurance is generally affordable and maintenance can vary widely. Of course these costs are significantly offset when you consider what you would be paying in rent and the fact that you are actually making an investment that will be at least partially recouped when you eventually sell your home.

In today’s economy, real estate prices have plummeted dramatically. One way of interpreting that plummet, however, is that in a majority of markets this is indeed the time to buy, precisely because prices are so low!

One of the biggest advantages to home ownership is the peace of mind it is supposed to give you;

  • Just think, you’ll never have to move again because a landlord decides they no longer want to rent their property.
  • You can buy furniture and your own appliances because, in theory at least, you will never have to worry about moving them.
  • Home ownership imparts stability.
  • You will be able to truly become a member of your community, a member that won’t be moving away after just a couple of years’ stay.
  • Your neighbors will finally begin to consider you one of them.
  • And for those with kids, your kids will go to the neighborhood schools, you’ll shop at the neighborhood grocery, and your family will attend church at the neighborhood church.

There are, therefore, many positives associated with home ownership. As is always the case, however, it is important not to delude yourself that everything will always be positive.

The decision to buy a home should be based on a careful consideration of the facts, not solely on emotion. Only then will you be assured that you are indeed making the right choice.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-coast.