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Your First Home
Buying your first home is a huge step. Leaving the rental world behind, you begin building equity in an investment. Are you already deep into the search for your first home, just beginning to consider whether owning your own home is right for you – or somewhere in between?
In any case, you've got a lot of company. According to the National Association of Realtors, about 40 percent of existing homes are purchased by first-time buyers every year, with sales of new homes to first-timers adding to the total. That's nearly three million sales to first-time homebuyers annually.
Overall, the desire for homeownership continues to appeal to a big majority of us. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau show that home sales rose to record levels five years in a row. In the fourth quarter of 2006, the national homeownership rate was 68.9 percent, a near record high.
In addition, home ownership knows no boundaries when it comes to sales to newcomers to our shores. U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that foreign-born Americans are as likely to buy homes as native-born Americans, and it may surprise you to learn that the home ownership rate for immigrants who have lived here for 30-plus years exceeds the national average.
So, what is it about owning a home of one's own that so many of us find attractive? The first answer that comes to mind for most of us is the financial advantages. As a home owner, you can build equity in your property over time, and you can benefit from the substantial tax advantage of the deductibility of the interest portion of your mortgage payment. In addition, upgrades and improvements to your home can add value, as well as add to your comfort and enjoyment for years to come.
That said, the appeal of homeownership can be as much about the intangible benefits as about the cold hard facts of investment potential and tax savings. Your home is, well, yours, a means of expressing your personal taste and satisfying a fundamental need for shelter and security for yourself and your family. It also represents a solid connection to community, and instills a sense of place and participation in community life.
The Hardest Part: Getting Started
The most daunting part of choosing your first home is simply getting started; it's a complex process full of uncertainties and unknowns that can seem overwhelming at times. If you've ever felt that way, don't worry, those feelings are part of the process too.
The best way that we know to keep you on the path that leads to the door of your first home is information, a lot of which you'll find right here, some from research elsewhere on the Internet, talking to friends and co-workers, and – perhaps when you've narrowed down your choices to a specific area, town or neighborhood – from working with a local ERA Real Estate professional.
You've already made one smart step toward home ownership by putting the power of the Internet to work for you. Used wisely, the Internet can help you do an amazing amount of research on all the things it takes to find the home that's right for you in an amazingly short time. That's why nearly 80% of searches for a home begin on the Internet; and that percentage continues to grow.