Thinking about buying a home? If so, you may have worn out your brain trying to add up all the pluses and minuses trying to arrive at an informed, rational decision.
So as a break from, but not a substitute for, all that sober-minded thinking, here's a reminder of some of the great things about owning a home.
You get to do what you want
It's your place. Completely. Your own realm to reign over (although Supreme Authority may rest with a beloved co-regent). It's yours to do with as you wish. Want to paint the living room bright red? Go for it. Cut a hole in the wall to flush-mount a flat-screen TV? It's your wall. Rip out those ugly bushes and replace them with azaleas? They live and die at your command.
When you own a house, it's yours to do with as you please, to configure to your tastes and lifestyle. Don't just move in your furniture and fix what's broken - take advantage of the opportunity to make it truly yours.
You can have stuff
Owning a home means many things, but most of all it means storage. An apartment has closets. A house has more of them, and often a basement, attic, garage and perhaps even a storage shed or two as well. You may never have to throw out anything again, although it's a good idea to keep up on the garbage. It does mean, though, that you have room for all your adult toys and then some, as well as a wardrobe that actually changes with the seasons, with current items cycling out of storage, as well as all those childhood items you don't want to part with but your parents don't want to store for you any more.
You can have a dog
Sure, home ownership is not a hard-and-fast requirement for dog ownership. But it makes it a lot easier and is better for your best friend as well. While it's possible to keep a dog in an apartment, it isn't always possible to do so legally, as far as the landlord's concerned. Sneaking your pal in and out for walks at unobstrusive times is not only a challenge, but the constant fear of discovery can be stressful as well. In fact, the whole business of taking care of the dog's business by taking it out for a walk several times a day can be enough to turn you into a cat person.
With a house, on the other hand, you get a yard. Dogs need a yard, some would argue that a yard needs at least one dog. While a yard with a fence, invisible or otherwise, is not a substitute for daily exercise, it does allow you to let the dog out briefly at critical times when you'd rather stay inside, such as first thing in the morning when you're more focused on getting that first cup of coffee.
You can have neat tools
It goes without saying that home ownership involves a lot of work. Of course, to do those jobs you're going to need certain tools - many of them powered. If you're the type who's gadget-inclined, home ownership is a dream come true. Power saws. Drills. Big wrenches. A riding mower. A power washer. Maybe even a chainsaw, if you're lucky. It's an excuse to spend your Saturdays perusing the aisles of Lowe's and Home Depot, your nose figuratively pressed against the glass of the world's greatest adult toy stores.
You can have a garden
Having a house means having a yard, for most people. And having a yard means you can indulge your green thumb, if you're so inclined. Does landscaping appeal to your aesthetic senses? Perhaps you like the idea of having a constant supply of fresh flowers or vegetables throughout the growing season? Or maybe you just like the idea of getting free stuff, at least if you don't mind providing free labor as well. But if digging in the ground fits your idea of recreation, then maybe those veggies or flowers are even better than free.
You can have a life
That's not to say that you can't have a life as a renter. Many people are perfectly happy with apartment living and even prefer it to the responsibilities of home ownership. That being said, there's something about owning your own place that feels like you've established yourself in a way that renting does not. It's your own little private corner of the world and you own it, regardless of what some may say about the bank being the true #1 - the bank doesn't get to choose which blinds go in the bedroom. It's your place - so enjoy it.