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Buying a Home

Turtles and snails are born with their homes on their backs. You, however, are not so lucky. Unless you plan to live in a cardboard box or can talk someone into letting you live with them for the rest of your life, you will probably need to either buy or rent housing.

To Own or Not to Own

Home ownership isn't for everyone. It's definitely a long-term commitment. The price of homes usually increases over time, but generally at a slow rate. With all the financing, closing costs and other expenses associated with owning a home, you might lose money if you sell in less than a few years.

You also have to think about the upkeep of a home. Everything from cutting the grass to putting on a new roof is your responsibility. These maintenance costs can really add up. Then add property taxes, utility bills and other expenses and you can get into some sizable payments.

But when you take full financial and maintenance responsibility for a home, it's yours to do with as you please. Paint the walls purple. Add a planetarium. Put in a fireman's pole. You're in charge.

There are also substantial financial advantages to owning a home. The part of your monthly payment that goes towards the principal is all equity.

As your equity increases with time (and payments) it will be a source of financial stability for you, giving you collateral for a loan or producing a large sum of money if you sell. In Canada, proceeds from the sale of your principal residence are not subject to capital gains tax.