There are many reasons to become a homeowner. The financial benefits alone are worth it! The tax breaks for homeowners are great. That in itself is enough. As of 2007, you can deduct PMI(private mortgage insurance) on your taxes. What an awesome deal. When you rent, you might as well just go out the front door and throw your money to the wind.
Another great thing about being a homeowner is the fact that you can change colors, add rooms, have pets, etc., without consulting other people. You have your own castle, no matter how small it may be. You can add on rooms, use the equity for whatever you want. It's a great investment, comparing the risks across the board of investment options. Home appreciation, over time, is steady. You have ups and downs over short periods, like anything else. Overall, it is an excellent choice. Besides, you have to have somewhere to live, might as well pay a payment every month that is going to make you money.
A lot of people are scared of homeownership. They don't think they can qualify for a mortgage. They think it is cheaper to rent(not anymore), and they don't realize the benefits. These days, you can qualify for a mortgage with no money down, not perfect credit scores, and past credit problems. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two programs mortgage professionals use to "qualify" you for a loan. All of your information is entered, including income, debt, finances, time at residence, etc. Then, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac gives us an eligible and a level or a not eligible. This is the first step in determining your mortgage status. If you don't qualify, there are sub prime lenders, that have less stringent guidelines.
There are mortgage programs geared specifically for "first responders", emergency personnel, and those in the education profession. There are loan programs that allow your down payment to be gifted from a family member. There are also loan programs for people with a lot of kids and lower income who are living with family. There are so many options out there, it doesn't make any sense NOT to be a homeowner.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or if I can help you in any way.