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 you can talk someone into allowing you to 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 prices of homes tend to increase over the years, but usually at a slow rate. With the financing and other expenses associated with owning a home, you can lose money if you sell within five years of buying a property.
You also have to think about the upkeep of a home. Everything from mowing the lawn to putting on a new roof is your responsibility. The costs can really add up. Then add taxes, water and other expenses and you can get into some sizable payments.
But when you take full financial and maintenance responsibility for a home, you can do what you like with it. 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 property. The part of your monthly payment that goes toward 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.