For generations, homeownership has been the American dream. More than 70% of Americans ages 45 to 54 own their homes, while nearly 63% of people ages 35 to 44 are homeowners. Homeownership isn’t just for people who are getting older and are more settled. Younger generations also have their eye set on homeownership. One survey found 86% of Gen Zers (people born in the 1990s and early 2000s) want to buy a home — with 45% looking to buy in the next five years.
There are many reasons why people want to buy homes. Some buyers want more creativity in their home designs while others want to grow their wealth. Most people don’t think of home ownership as a health decision, but they should. Owning a home can have a direct impact on your health. Learn more about the pros and cons of this financial investment.
Home Ownership’s Affect on Your Physical and Mental Health
Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life — financial or otherwise. Stepping into homeownership is just as important as deciding who you will marry and what your future career path will be. Also, like weddings and job choices, every decision comes with pros and cons. Here are just a few positive and negative ways buying a house can affect your health.
You can enjoy increased stability. You don’t have to worry about a landlord raising rent payments or ending your lease, giving you financial peace of mind.
The home is yours to design. You can make as many home improvements as you want to create a space you love that brings you joy.
You can grow your wealth. Each mortgage payment is an investment in your future. This can increase your long-term financial health.
You are responsible for every repair, bill, or issue. One study found 88% of homeowners find some aspect of owning a home stressful.
Economic factors can affect your investment. Your home values might decrease in a poor market or you might struggle to pay your bills if you get laid off at work.
You can’t move as easily. It’s much harder and more expensive to sell a house than to end a lease, so you can’t move across the country (or just across town) as easily.
Most homeowners experience both these pros and cons. They love how they improve their living spaces but hate unexpected bills or confusing repairs.
Renting vs Home Ownership’s Affects On Your Health
Renting is the main alternative to buying a house. Some people rent comfortably for several years and enjoy the flexibility that comes with it. Here are a few aspects to consider if you are on the fence about buying.
You don’t have to worry about repairs or maintenance. The landlord or rental company has to cover everything from leaky faucets to roof replacements, so repairs aren’t anything to worry about.
You can move whenever your lease is up. You can look for a better home at the end of the contract or move to a different city or state that makes you happier.
It is easier to find a rental than to buy a house. You don’t need a large down payment, a low debt-to-income ratio, and perfect credit to rent. The process of completing a rental application is much easier.
You aren’t investing in yourself. Instead of paying off a mortgage, a landlord or rental company will profit from your rent check each month.
Rents can rise over time. Residents of some cities noticed a 50%+ rent increase in 2022. These increases can make cities unaffordable and force you to move or take on extra hours at work.
You have limited control over the property. You can’t remodel, upgrade appliances, or change the electrical and plumbing features. Some landlords won’t even allow tenants to paint their spaces.
Many people believe that homeownership is the better decision for your long-term financial health. However, this path isn’t for everyone. Renting might be a better decision right now based on your current finances and ability to complete repairs.
How to Increase Your Home’s Positive Effects On Your Health
There is good news if you are worried about your home’s effect on your physical and mental health. You can take steps to make sure your house is a place where you feel happy and calm. It can be a positive place in your life rather than a source of stress. Here are a few steps to take.
Renovate When Needed
Nearly 70% of Americans feel stressed about maintaining their homes. They might not have the budget for repairs or might not know how to fix problems. Some people procrastinate and live with a leaky roof or termite infestation — which only makes the problem worse.
Develop a process to reduce the stress of home repairs. First, when you see an issue, research and process and cost of the renovations. For example, if your home looks worn out or you feel you’d like a change, learn about your exterior siding options. Many times, picking out colors and textures is a way to get excited about the repair while making you feel better about the curb appeal of your home. Then, contact different companies to set a budget so you feel more informed when hiring the best one.
Never let a contractor bully you or make you feel incompetent. Using the same example, choose contractors you can trust to share your vision.
Keep Your Home Comfortable
Your home should be the main place where you feel safe and relaxed, but it’s up to you to make sure you feel physically and mentally comfortable in the space.
For physical comfort, keep your air conditioning system maintained and take steps to maintain a clean home. If you hate cleaning, see if you can budget for a maid service.
For mental comfort, incorporate design elements that you love. For example, you might add a rug to your bedroom so the floor is soft when you get out of bed. You might buy art that you like or choose fun paint colors. Even something simple like a comfortable couch can make you feel relaxed after a stressful day.
Don’t worry about keeping up with the latest design trends. Create a home that is uniquely “you.”
Start A Home-based Hobby
There are multiple hobbies you can take up related to your home, like woodworking and gardening. You can also enjoy your favorite hobbies at home — like reading, cooking, crafting, and watching movies.
Engaging in home-based hobbies can make you love your space and create positive associations with different rooms. These hobbies show that staying home can be enjoyable while enabling you to pursue your interests. Studies have also found that some hobbies (like gardening) can significantly reduce anxiety and stress levels.
Incorporate Nature Into Your Home
There’s a common myth that you need a green thumb to garden or have houseplants, but anyone can add a little nature to their homes. Even adding a cactus, a few succulents, or a vine to your space can have multiple benefits. Plants clean the air, give you experience caring for something, and can brighten up a space. Additionally, there’s the art of biophilic design, wherein people incorporate nature into their homes.
There are certainly times when owning a home is stressful, but the physical and mental benefits of owning your own space can far outweigh the costs. Consider these benefits as you make homeownership decisions in the future.