“The number one benefit, right off the top, is you have a completely different relationship with your finances,” said Curran, “because you own something that, if you don’t pay for it, it’s going to go away and you lose it.”

Curran admits that renters can have a similar perspective but believes that the concept of ownership creates a different relationship with your residence.

“It’s an investment that’s actually your own,” he said, “and that’s the sort of thing that you not only take pride in, but also take more responsibility for.”

Curran recalled writing the check to make his first mortgage payment. “It’s kind of like a splash of water in the face that wakes you up to the reality,” he said. “…You love your home and you love the ownership aspect — and you’re going to do everything you can not only to own it and hold it, but to make it better and to improve it. That’s a great feeling.”

“It’s empowering,” agreed Brooke Burdick, director of community outreach for Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County in Washington state. “Responsibility is empowering. There’s a tremendous pride in owning and being responsible for a home.”

Burdick said that renters have a lack of control over their residence that homeowners enjoy. “There’s a very positive power in that [control],” he said. “It sort of lifts the spirit of the entire family by living in a home where they can invest in not just financially but emotionally.”