6. No landlord can kick you out.
Renters can face an unexpected eviction notice if their landlord suddenly decides to sell the home, rent to someone else, or otherwise end the lease. That's one reason Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff says that for older people with a fixed income in particular, he recommends homeownership (and a paid-off mortgage). "It's important for older people to be in a home that they own as security against a landlord," he says.
7. In fact, you don't have to speak to a landlord, ever again.
Landlords can take ages to fix a broken dishwasher, let the air vents fill with dust and particles, or leave pesky messages about repairs. If you're the homeowner, then you're in charge—which means you have to be home when the plumber calls, but the plumber reports to you. (And, of course, you also have to pay the plumber.)
8. Unlike rent, a fixed mortgage can't go up (even if inflation does).
Fixed mortgage rates don't go up, even if the cost of everything else does. To protect yourself, Jack Otter, author of Worth It… Not Worth It? suggests making a 20 percent down payment and taking out a 30-year fixed mortgage to lock in today's low interest rates. "Mortgage rates haven't been this low since GIs were heading home from France. Lock in a low monthly payment, and you've just taken a huge step in protecting your family against inflation," he writes.
9. Homeowners can take tax deductions.
The chief tax benefit of homeownership is the ability to deduct mortgage interest payments, but the perks don't stop there. Homeowners can also deduct eligible expenses (certain energy-efficient improvements, for example) and in some cases can avoid federal taxes on earnings from the sale of a home.
10. You can take advantage of currently low interest rates and prices.
Interest rates remain at historical lows, and at the same time, home prices in many areas remain soft. Trulia points out that deals are especially appealing in suburban areas, compared with the more expensive cities. Overall, Trulia says, asking prices on homes went down 0.7 percent over the last year, while rents went up by 5 percent.
Of course, buying isn't for everyone. If you might move soon, or you want the flexibility to upgrade your digs with just a month's notice, or your job outlook is uncertain, then renting can be ideal. Hodges says potential buyers should first consider the transaction costs of homeownership, which can add up quickly, especially if a buyer doesn't plan to stay put for very long.
"During the bubble, people were looking at homes as a tool to make money," says Hodges. Now, they just see it as a place to live.