Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - by Brandi Pearl Thompson, president, Greater Chattanooga Realtors
As we round out June, let’s take another look at the benefits of owning a home. Since June is National Homeownership Month, my goal in this three-part series, “Why Homeownership Matters,” has been to give insight into the many positive benefits that come from owning a home.
First, I talked about how owning a home is a path to financial stability; it helps build equity, which can lead to generational wealth. Even a small or “starter” home allows individuals to build equity for a future home. This initial investment can significantly affect your family’s long-term plan, including attending certain schools, money for college, and retirement. Secondly, homeownership is an investment in your community, as your property taxes and home improvements support the local economy. Now let’s turn to the third component – your physical and psychological well-being.
A recent study, “Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing,” measured the emotional well-being of homeowners. The study shows that homeowners, even those in the lower price points, report a higher life satisfaction, self-esteem, and perceived control over their lives. Also, comparing owners to renters, the study showed “homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.” Also, homeowners said they “enjoy better physical and psychological health.” Who doesn’t want that for themselves and their family?
The National Association of Realtors summarized the study’s findings concluding, “Early studies of homeownership and health outcomes found that homeowners and children of homeowners are generally happier and healthier than non-owners, even after controlling for factors such as income and education levels that are also associated with positive health outcomes and positively correlated with homeownership. More recent studies have found that the wealth-building effect of homeownership and the sense of control it provides to homeowners in a stable housing market affect homeowners’ mental and physical health in a positive way.”
In addition to your emotional and physical health, homeownership is a step towards growing lasting roots in the local community. Personally, belonging to a community spurs me to act in real, concrete ways, such as completing the Census and voting. These civic duties aren’t exactly flashy, but they are crucial to the health of our neighborhoods. The 2020 U.S. Census is a big deal to all who live in our community. While the Census counts all households, whether you own or rent, filling out the Census paired with owning a home are signs that you are invested in your community for the long haul.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, but why should I care?” The Census impacts many different facets of our life and determines how resources are allocated to our community. When we don’t fill out the Census, we leave federal funds on the table – funds that can help our community, friends, and family. It’s a big deal, right? But sadly, recent data shows that not everyone is taking the time to make sure they’re counted. We need more residents in our five-county market area to increase these current Census response rates: Hamilton (62.4 percent), Sequatchie (53.1 percent), Catoosa (65.0 percent), Dade (49.2 percent), and Walker (55.9 percent). You’ve taken the step of homeownership. Now take the step to make sure our community doesn’t leave federal money on the table.
And don’t get me started on voting. Voting is crucial to making sure your voice is heard as a citizen and as a homeowner. An expression that I often repeat is, “Vote where you live.” At first, it sounds silly, but think about it for a minute. When you vote where you live, you’re voting for the highest offices in the land, but also for local officials that have just as much, if not more, of an impact on your daily life. From school boards to county commission and city council, these offices impact you and your neighborhood far more than you might realize. I urge everyone to register to vote, and to check their voter registration to make sure that there are no errors that might keep you from making your voice heard.
Our civic duties aren’t the only benefactors of homeownership and activism. Owning a home can be the first step to creating the life that you wish for, for yourself and your family. Once you decide to take this step, make sure you use a realtor. We will be there to help you with your different needs, and we have the tools and professional knowledge to help you walk this path. Realtors are here year around to be your housing resource. That’s who we R.