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.