This is Morgan. He's married. He just had a new baby and he's ready to buy his first home. This is "A Home of Your Own." It's been a life long goal of mine to own a home. Before I made the decision, I had to ask myself what was more important, the opportunity to build equity over time, or to perhaps have more cash available now. While the recent downward trend in home prices has made me a bit apprehensive, I decided I wanted to buy and put my monthly payment against something I could eventually pay off and own outright. I also knew I may be eligible for tax benefits from home ownership. Unlike if I rent, I may be able to take a deduction from mortgage interest. I may also be able to write off my local property taxes. Speak to your tax adviser about what you're eligible to write off. Now, while buying a home may let me build equity and provide me with tax benefits, home values can rise or fall over time. So, building equity is not guaranteed. And there are significant upfront costs associated with buying, including the down payment and closing costs. I also thought about my preference for staying in the area. If I see myself wanting or having to move in two or three years, now may not be the right time for me to buy a house. So, when is the best time for me to buy? The answer is, when I'm ready. I spent time reflecting where my life is headed and what I want to accomplish along the way. I also saved up for my down payment, but my loan officer told me that, if I was having difficulty, there might be programs that can help with my down payment and closing costs, especially as a first time home buyer. And in some cases, there are grants available to eligible home buyers. Programs and eligibility vary, so it's best to contact your mortgage loan officer, as well as your local housing or community development department, state housing department and local non-profit housing organizations for the details. A home is a place to live and can be a long term investment. Its non-monetary value comes from providing a focal point for your family and a place to call your own. Only you can decide whether buying a home fits your life, and if now is the right time for you to buy.
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