Take for example a June 2011 New York Times and CBS News poll. Ninety percent of respondents felt home ownership still helps fulfill the American dream. In an AAM study, more than 70% of homeowner association (HOA) homeowners surveyed believe the American Dream includes the ability to buy a home.
Clearly underwater mortgages, uncertain economic times and a flood of foreclosures haven’t dampened the desire for the vast majority of Americans to own their own home. So besides wanting to achieve the ultimate symbol of success, what things, from a practical sense, make homeownership such an attractive proposition?
HOA Services Tip #1: Building Equity
Down markets don’t last forever. And, even in hard-hit states like Arizona and Florida, home prices rebound and once under-water homeowners may again begin to build equity. That’s something renters will never, ever do. Instead, renters provide a return on their landlord’s investment.
Although it may take time, a person’s home usually appreciate steadily over their lifetime. As the owner pays down their mortgage and their home gains in value, they may be building a nice investment for themselves instead of a landlord.
HOA Services Tip #2: Creating Stability
When people buy homes, they’re more apt to stay put for longer periods of time. Renters often sign leases for six months to a year. Because of the nature of their leasing terms, renters and their neighborhoods may be more transient.
On the other hand, neighborhoods with high home ownership rates are typically more stable in terms of neighbors living in their homes longer. In homeowner association neighborhoods that offer a great deal of HOA services, neighbors are generally more active in the community and build stronger relationships with each other.
HOA Services Tip #3: Standardizing Payments
The great thing about a fixed mortgage is the principal and interest amount will never change for the life of the loan. Because of the melt-down caused by the “creative finance” loans of the lending boom – interest only loans, adjustable rate mortgages, and others – many borrowers prefer the safety of the fixed-rate loan.
Homeowners want to know their payment will be the same five years down the road. They don’t want a cloud over their heads that someday they may not be able to afford their home and have to move.
HOA Services Tip #4: Customizing Spaces
Unlike rental properties, a homeowner can remodel the interior of their homes to suit their personal preferences. They can also make exterior changes based on CC&R guidelines. Typically, a renter must live in a property in its as-is condition. Most rental units are very neutral in appearance so they will appeal to a broad spectrum of prospective tenants.
Homeowners can also make investments in their properties. For example, they can install pools, additional bathrooms and other upgrades that will add value to their homes.
HOA Services Tip #5: Increasing Deductions
The mortgage interest deduction is one of the most valuable tax tools available to homeowners. In addition to most or all of their mortgage interest, homeowners can also currently deduct property taxes and points paid on their home loan. In most cases, first and second mortgages and home equity loan interest is also deductible. However, a tax advisor will be able to provide definitive answers on individual situations.
Despite the housing environment of recent years, homeownership remains a top priority for the lion’s share of the country. Most everyone wants to achieve that very special feeling of success that Americans have cherished for decades.
AAM works with many of the largest homebuilding and community development companies in the United States such as Del Webb/Pulte, Shea Homes and Meritage Homes. Founded in 1990, the company employs 370 people and manages nearly 400 homeowners associations in the United States. AAM is dedicated to delivering total peace of mind to the Boards of Directors and homeowners in the communities it manages.