When you initially buy your house, chances are you will pay more each month than you would if you were renting a comparable house. Your mortgage payments will include property taxes and homeowner’s insurance, raising your monthly rate. But rents increase over time in accordance with inflation and changing property values, while a fixed mortgage rate does not change for the entire length of its term. According to Ginnie Mae, it takes only two years for the cost of renting to exceed the cost of a mortgage, once you take the tax advantages into account.
When you buy a home you become liable for property taxes, which your bank will prorate and include in your monthly mortgage payment. But you can also take advantage of a homeowner’s deduction on your federal income tax, which allows you to write off the amount that you pay in mortgage interest. Mortgages are set up through a process called “amortization,” which allocates a disproportionate amount of your payments during the first few years toward the interest you owe. Over time, your mortgage payments begin to cover more principal and less interest, reducing your tax benefits.
As a renter you are not responsible to pay for repairs on your house or apartment, unless you have caused the damage yourself. But as a homeowner you are responsible for virtually all of the costs of maintaining and repairing your home. Some maintenance and repair costs can be quite pricey, such as the cost of replacing your roof or your furnace. If you are thinking about buying a home, make sure you have enough money in savings to cover unexpected — and expected — repairs.
Buying a house provides you with an enforced savings plan, as the money you pay toward your monthly mortgage goes toward your ownership stake in your house. Once you decide to sell your house you can reap the benefit of this investment, provided you have stayed there long enough to begin building equity, or ownership stake. According to a Federal Reserve survey cited by MSN Money, the net worth of the average homeowner with an annual income ranging from $30,000 to $49,999 is $126,500, while the average net worth of a renter with a comparable income is $10,600.