Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.
As we celebrate this Independence Day, let’s take a moment to highlight the American dream, what homeownership means and how it is changing lives.
Having a shelter is one thing, building equity is another. But understanding the keys to homeownership will help you realize what the American dream is all about.
Many of us dream of the white picket fence and flying the American Flag on our front porch, but why? Here, I offer three main reasons why owning a home is still a big component of the American dream.
1. There are proven psychological, physical and financial benefits to homeownership.
Investopedia cites pride of ownership as a benefit saying, “You own your little corner of the world. You can customize your house, remodel, paint, and decorate without the need to get permission from a landlord.”
But aside from the positive psychological effects of owning a home, homeowners in strong markets build equity.
2. Homeownership positively impacts American families.
From having room for your kids to play to being able to entertain to having space to do the things you love, owning a home helps people realize their full potential.
It also provides a greater sense of stability and opportunity, while growing personal wealth. Homeownership by those who make down payments, and who stay in their houses over long periods of time can result in better academic and emotional outcomes for children.
3. People who invest in their home, invest in the community, and thus improve the local economy.
While reaching this pinnacle of freedom and independence can sometimes feel out of reach, those who do so are more invested in the community as a whole.
In fact, nearly 60 percent of Americans own their homes, and for good reason. The National Association of Realtors points out the many social benefits, which include civic participation, financial education and poverty improvements.
Plus, a person who cares for their home is more likely to care for their community through donations and volunteer efforts that keep their neighborhood and schools safe, livable and thriving. In other words, you help yourself and others contribute to a fundamental sense of belonging and responsibility to the wider community.
Homeownership also plays a critical role in the economy. According to the National Association of Home Builders, building 100 average single-family homes generates 305 jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income, and $8.9 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.
Additionally, brokers like myself play an important role in keeping the American dream alive.
Last year, I wrote an article about the National Association of Realtors’ mission and values and emphasize why Realtors aren’t just here to help buy and sell houses, but to protect the American dream.
Staying active in the local community and keeping up with real estate trends and organizations is a major part of that. And the California Association of Realtors agrees.
Its mission statement says, “The purpose of the California Association of Realtors is to serve its membership in developing and promoting programs and services that will enhance the members’ freedom and ability to conduct their individual businesses successfully with integrity and competency, and through collective action, to promote real property ownership and the preservation of real property rights.”
Nothing is more rewarding to me than seeing my clients achieve homeownership for the first, second or third time. Owning a home is more than owning four walls. It’s more than having a safe place to land. It’s a major life milestone that becomes part of your history, your legacy and your life as an American citizen.
Why is owning a home still a part of the American dream? Because homeownership is one of the greatest freedoms of all.