The idea of homeownership is taking a beating recently. The economic crisis which has caused our current recession is blamed from having its roots based in homeownership gone awry. I can agree with and only partially. The people who have bought homes who could not afford what they were getting into should shoulder some of the blame. As should people who speculated and bought mortgages with interest-only terms banking on a rapid appreciation of the home value in some sort of get-rich-quick scheme should also bear responsibility. Yet, people are coming out with ideas saying that homeownership is not for everyone in the Bush administration should not have convinced Americans to achieve the American dream of home ownership.
For people calling for changes in the tax law that will eliminate the itemized inductions of property taxes and interest on mortgages which will further a road home ownership in the United States. The tax code should still allow for the deduction of interest and property taxes. Wanting a home should still be viewed as the American dream. Well, it's time to ask a few questions. If people are not to own their own homes, who will own where they are living? I certainly hope it wouldn't be greedy capitalists or absentee landlords. Until the housing crisis, people were beginning to think that they could only go into a huge McMansion or a house that they would be expected to live in for the rest of their lives. Don't people begin with starter homes anymore? What about the idea of starting out with a smaller house, and when you can afford it, moving up? A generation ago, people worked for things, saved, and when they could afford them, bought them. They did not over extend their credit. They did not have everything at once. Once people worked hard, and rewarded themselves by buying something that they really wanted, it was more appreciated. Today, people's basements and garages are full of crap that they bought because they thought they wanted it, yet when it came time to use it, it really wasn't needed. Because it was bought on credit, there was no appreciation for the item. This became a lifestyle.
Take a drive through to neighborhoods. The first one, go to a neighborhood where there is a lot of renting. Go to a place where there is a lot of multi unit housing. There'll be no pride of ownership. There will be a lot of garbage in the streets. Go to a second neighborhood. For this one, choose a neighborhood that is solid with homeownership. Single-family home ownership. I don't have to tell you that there will be a large difference. Even in a neighborhood with lower property values, there will be more pride of ownership if it is owner occupied. The paint on the outside will be in better shape, the landscaping will be better-it may even have the personal touch. And hopefully, there will be a lot less garbage blowing around on the streets and in the yards.
Homeownership should still be the American dream. Yes, it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work before owning a home and it takes a lot of work to maintain homeownership. It takes money. It takes knowing you're spending limits. It takes the initiative of taking on the upkeep. No, this may not be taught in school, but unfortunately common sense seldom is. Homeownership will test the responsibility level of who ever wants to take it on. Sometimes, the TV has to be turned off and the lawn mower has to be turned on. Painting, repair, plumbing, electrical, always problems are going to come up eventually. Homeowners have to deal with them in one form or another. It may take some money to call in the professional, or it may take some initiative to learn some of these skills yourself. No, it is not easy, but worthwhile things seldom are.