It's not the car you drive or the clothes you wear. But your home says everything about you. It's where memories are made. It's your present, and your future. It surrounds you with neighbors, a nearby school where your kids go to learn, a place you return to each and every day. It's more than just four walls and a roof that go up and down in value, or a beloved tax deduction. In that X amount of space, you house your most precious possessions, your favorite chair, the art on the wall, photo albums, your kids, your Xbox. Over time, you will develop more memories there, and your home will grow in value as you pay off the mortgage payment by payment. Someday, it may even be your retirement nest egg (see reverse mortgage). The physical structure that protected you from cold and harm in your adult life becomes your financial foundation in old age.
They say zip code is destiny. The school district you live in virtually dictates whether your child goes on to college, the neighborhood you inhabit informs the likelihood of you or someone you know experiencing a random act of crime. The area you live in even impacts health and longevity. Real estate isn't everything, of course, there's also love and family and health and career. But real estate sets the stage for so much of your life that it is worthwhile not to treat it as an afterthought. Mature adults who already own homes know this. But if you are a young adult wondering if buying a home is worth the hassle and commitment, I hope you will consider the merits laid out in this article. My advice to you is start as early as you can, even something small, and claim your piece of this floating space rock. In doing so, you do what countless generations before you strived for; your own place, your own kingdom. By owning real estate, you not only secure your future, you help firm up the future of your kids and the generations that come after you. (That's assuming you want kids. If you don't want kids, don't get a house. Houses have a way of attracting mates, which then eventually results in reproduction and little people running around.)
- Brian Nguyen is a senior loan consultant (NMLS 659743) who learned more about this stuff than he ever intended to. The opinions expressed here are solely his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org