The great majority of people have a strong desire to own their homes. Some, to be sure, are forced to move frequently from city to city, and others have not yet saved up enough to make the first payment on the purchase of a home. So there is always a need of houses to rent. But an owned home with its many satisfactions is the ideal that most families wish to secure for themselves.....
The home-owner is master of his dwelling. He cannot be ordered to vacate, and the rent cannot be raised. He can make alterations as he sees fit, and money spent for improvements adds to the value of his own property. His family feels a sense of security, and finds a stimulant in earning and saving to pay for the home and in making it attractive. Such are the rewards that each year lead hundreds of thousands of American families to buy or build homes for themselves.
It is believed that those who can afford to buy or build a home will find help and encouragement in the following pages.
The buying or building of a home deserves serious consideration.....
It may take a few days or weeks to assemble the information any home-seeker should have in hand before he takes the decisive step that will commit him to pay a large part of his annual income for ten or fifteen years and which will probably determine the neighborhood in which his children will be reared. Would any man buy a partnership in a business with less knowledge?
1 Child Welfare Magazine, April, 1927.
2 Adapted from How To Own Your Home (Washington: Better Homes in America, 1929), pp. 5-13, 29-32.
The pleasures and advantages of owning a home may be lost through worry about overdue payments, poor construction, or an unpleasant neighborhood. So it pays to make a careful decision and avoid such worries.
It is hoped that those families who are not yet in a position to own a home, but who want to take the step, will also find this information helpful, for homes may be purchased on a small down payment and monthly instalments like rent. A family that has saved up enough to make a first payment and has paid its rent regularly when due has given good evidence of its ability to pay for and own a home.
Preparations for home ownership cannot begin too early. The determination to acquire a home some day, and the belief that owning one is a normal part of a well-rounded life, are the first essentials, and can be shared by children and their elders alike. Homes are usually bought from savings. Habits of saving are best begun in early childhood; but adults who have not already begun to save toward buying a home should start at once. Again, a person cannot begin too young to observe the different types and features of houses; such observation is useful in making a wise purchase.
Many find the buying of a home the largest investment they ever make. It is a very important step. A purchase made wisely may be the stepping-stone to advancement and happiness, while a mistake may cause discouragement and a loss of all one's savings.
Most men and women who buy a house have never done it before, and are usually unskilled, as people generally are in the things they do but once or twice in a lifetime. But lack of experience should deter no one.
There is a story of a man who, many years ago, came to Broadway at Times Square, and decided to wait until he believed it would be safe before crossing the crowded street. Twenty years have passed, and he is still waiting for absolute safety. The story of many a family that has been ready to own a home is only too similar.
The prospective home-owner who uses his common sense in considering the real needs of his family and his ability to pay, and who checks his own judgment by consulting experienced persons, may go ahead with full confidence. He need not be frightened by the mistakes of heedless persons who have been carried away by some novel feature and coaxed into a bad bargain, or who have tried to buy beyond their means. While some risks are involved, as is usually the case in obtaining anything worth while, the danger of failure is relatively small when weighed against the advantages of an owned home.
How much can one afford to pay for a home? - Every family must face this question. Most people know what they would like in the way of a home, and know that they could make payments at least equal to the rent they are now paying. When they look over houses, or plans of houses, they find some that cost too much and others that are too small or too shabby to consider. The real problem lies in getting a satisfactory home, one that will not absorb too much of the family's income nor yet be below its general living standards. Before buying, the head of the family may wisely ask himself:
1. What is the family's annual income, and what will it probably be next year and the year after?
2. If business slackens, is he likely to lose his position or have his earnings reduced?
3. Will anyone else in the family be able to earn an income?
4. What does the family now pay for rent each year?
5. How much of the income is being saved?
6. How much could the family afford to pay out each year in paying for a house, and for the expenses that go with it?