You might be a homeowner if . . .

What is the homeowner’s lifestyle? Is there such a thing? That’s an open question, but one point is certain in that those who own the homes they live in have a whole different vocabulary and way of looking at life. How can people know whether they’re not just owners but totally into the homeownership lifestyle? One telltale sign is if their eyes glow with pride when they talk about having a new roof.

Those who own houses realize that lines of credit against built-up equity can pay for many of life’s major expenses, like college for the kids or a major vacation. Acronyms like FRM and ARM don’t baffle them one bit. While their hearts gladden at the thought of rooftop solar panels, their blood usually boils when they remember recent encounters with HOAs (homeowner associations).

Your roof is a source of pride

Apartment dwellers just don’t get it. For anyone who has a house, a new roof is a big deal. Not only are roofs one of the costliest components of a renovation but having a new one can boost the value of a property and attract more potential buyers when the place goes on the market. Prices vary widely, but those who are wise enough to use top-rated contractors and high-end materials can rest assured that a new roof will last for well more than 20 years.

HELOCs bring a smile to your face

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is an efficient way to cover some or all of a child’s college expenses. Parents whose children recently finished high school and are headed to college can leverage the built-up equity for a flexible line of credit to pay not just for education expenses but anything else they choose. Helping youngsters pay for school is a common way to use the available funds, but people open HELOCs for all sorts of reasons. They pay for unexpected medical bills, go on exotic trips, purchase a rental property, fund business startups, and more. One of the main benefits is flexibility. Note that the entire concept is about a line of credit, not a specific amount of money. That gives people the option to use the maximum amount if they feel the need but leaves open the possibility to borrow less.

FRMs & ARMs don’t mystify you

Pronounced firms and arms, the two main kinds of residential loans are fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. As its name implies, an FRM locks borrowers into a designated interest rate for the life of the mortgage, which can be as long as 30 years. If interest rates go up, those with fixed-rate loans are protected. But when prevailing rates go down, those with FRMs are stuck paying more. ARMs come with rates that rise and fall with the market. They are unpredictable but allow borrowers to avoid getting stuck with fixed-rate loans. Part of the homeowner lifestyle is understanding the ins and outs of both types of mortgages and being willing to discuss the topic for hours on end.

You’ve had at least one fight with an HOA

Homeowner Associations are elected officials who manage a group of properties, enforce regulations, and collect fees from all members. The organizations do plenty of good, like making sure everyone maintains their property and abides by rules in common areas. The reality is that many refuse to live in neighborhoods that have HOAs. The entities have a negative reputation for being meddlesome, authoritarian, and punitive. Most individuals who have lived in HOA neighborhoods have war stories to tell about run-ins with association boards.

Solar panels excite you

Individuals who make mortgage payments get excited about things that mystify apartment dwellers and others who rent their living space. In addition to roofs, homeowners love to talk about, shop for, and install solar panel arrays. Even though prices for the units can be on the high side, the chance of getting free electricity from the sun is a holy grail for millions of mortgagors. The good news is that modern versions of the panels are less costly and offer a more efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity. It usually takes about seven years for a full rooftop array to pay for itself.