5 Surprisingly Positive Impacts Of Buying Your First Home (& How To Do It This Year)

By Molly Shea

As the new year kicks off, it’s time to get started on achieving your resolutions. Maybe you’ll start biking to work in 2020. Perhaps you finally take that solo vacation. Or what about, you know, buying a house?

It’s a lofty goal, but not quite as sky-high as you may think. Buying a first home doesn’t require serious math skills or a sudden inheritance — just some planning, saving, and maybe a little help from your bank.

The Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report took a look at what’s keeping people from buying, and what happens after they’re able to make it happen. Not surprisingly, 69 percent of prospective homebuyers reported that their biggest holdup was not having enough money to pay for a down payment and closing costs. But once prospective homebuyers were able to purchase a home, the numbers took a turn. An astounding 93 percent of homeowners say that purchasing a home made them happier than renting did, and when asked, 83 percent said they wouldn’t go back to their non-owning days.

If you’re a happy renter, more power to you. But if you’re on the fence and worried you might regret it, it’s comforting to know that the vast (vast) majority of homeowners are happy with their decision.

Below are five reasons homeowners say the purchase buying a home was right for them.

1. Owning A Home Can Boost Your Relationship With Your Loved Ones

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What does it take to make a house a home? For many recent buyers, it’s owning their own space: 47 percent of homeowners said that owning a home gave their family a sense of pride, since that hard-earned home base gives friends and loved ones a place to come together. For example, almost half of homeowners said owning a home allows them to entertain more than they had in their previous rental spaces. It sounds small, but that sense of pride and newly-packed social calendar can have a lasting impact.

2. Plunking Down All That Cash May Help You Feel More Financially Secure

Allison Gore/Bustle

Bank of America’s survey unearthed a surprising stat: 77 percent of homeowners say they’re satisfied with their financial wellbeing, as compared to only 42 percent of prospective buyers. That’s good news for nervous would-be buyers who are unable to imagine what it’s like to spend that much money at once. If that’s you, know this: There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

3. A New Home Can Lead To A New Hobby

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What’s the difference between a public garden and your own personal yard? A new hobby. 47 percent of new homeowners say the purchase of their house led to some new landscaping and gardening skills, while 45 percent say they’ve picked up cooking, baking, or grilling since getting the keys to their new place. Itching to bring your design ideas to life? A third of homeowners say they developed serious interior design skills in their new abodes. Who knows? Maybe having space for a studio will revive your middle school art skills, while finally having an adult-size freezer means you can start blending ice cream like you’ve always dreamed.

4. Money Spent On A New House May Buy Happiness After All

Allison Gore/Bustle

More money forked over for a down payment, more problems? Not so fast. The vast majority of those who ponied up for a house feel satisfied with how happy they are at the moment. That may have to do with their sense of community: 78 percent of homeowners reported feeling good about the state of their social life, while only 58 percent of prospective buyers said the same. Sure, a banging social life may not be the best reason to make a major life decision. But when it comes to happiness, it’s clear that owning your own place can play an important part.

5. You’ll Make Some Lasting Memories

Allison Gore/Bustle

When asked, homeowners reported feeling pleasantly surprised by how significant their house purchase felt. 89 percent said that owning a home is a way to build long-term memories with loved ones, while 70 percent say they’ve become more emotionally attached to their home than they previously anticipated. In fact, more homeowners consider their home a place to make memories than see it as a financial investment.

So there you have it: Homeownership is not only within reach, but it also comes with plenty of positive benefits. And even though nerves may remain about how to get into your dream home, Bank of America can help. The bank offers qualified buyers up to $7,500 in grants to be used for non-recurring closing costs.* And, in select cities, eligible buyers can get three percent of the home purchase price (up to $10,000) to assist with their down payment — with no repayment necessary.** It’s a big help, and one that recent buyers say has made all the difference!

*Qualified borrowers must meet eligibility requirements including, but not limited to, being owner occupants, meeting certain qualifying income limitations and purchasing a home within a certain geographical area. Minimum combined loan-to-value must be greater than or equal to 80%. The America’s Home Grant Program is a lender credit. Program funds can only be used for nonrecurring closing costs including title insurance, recording fees, and in certain situations, discount points may be used to lower the interest rate. It cannot be applied toward down payment, prepaid items or recurring costs, such as property taxes and insurance. Borrowers cannot receive program funds as cash back. For properties not located in a low- to moderate-income census tract, the maximum borrower/co-borrower annual qualifying income limit is 80% of Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Area Median Income. For properties located in a low- to moderate-income census tract, there are no income limits. These income limits are subject to change without notice. The home loan must fund with Bank of America. Bank of America may change or discontinue the America’s Home Grant Program or any portion of it without notice. Not available with all loan products, please ask for details.

**Qualified borrowers must meet eligibility requirements including, but not limited to, being owner-occupants, meeting certain qualifying income limitations and purchasing a home within a certain geographical area. Minimum combined loan-to-value must be greater than or equal to 80%. Program funds can be applied toward down payment only. Borrowers cannot receive program funds as cash back in excess of earnest money deposits. Down Payment Grant program may be considered taxable income, a 1099-MISC will be issued, consult with your tax advisor. May be combined with other offers. For properties not located in a low- to moderate-income census tract, the maximum borrower/co-borrower annual qualifying income limit is 80% of Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Area Median Income. For properties located in a low- to moderate-income census tract, there are no income limits. These income limits are subject to change without notice. The home loan must fund with Bank of America. Down Payment Grant may only be applied once to an eligible mortgage/property, regardless of number of applicants. Bank of America may change or discontinue the Bank of America Down Payment Grant Program or America’s Home Grant Program or any portion of it without notice. Not available with all loan products, please ask for details.

This post is sponsored by Bank of America.