The Home Ownership Matters bus tour kicked off in Chicago on March 5, 2011, to celebrate the benefits of home ownership with Chicagoans and visitors attending the Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier.

Several attendees described what home ownership means to them. “It’s the history and the memories [my] family makes every time [we] paint a room or change the decor,” said home owner Margie Neighbors.  

Neighbors won the grand prize, a $2,500 Lowe’s gift card, during this first stop on the month-long bus tour sponsored by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. See what else she had to say:

Chicago bungalow owner Peggy Steiner emphasized that responsible home ownership makes financial sense. “It’s a great investment — that’s what I was told growing up by my folks,” she says. And our place “fits us to a T.”

For Beth Reynolds, the event’s emcee and the weekend host of Chicago’s Rewind 100.3 radio show, home ownership and community are intertwined. “We have fantastic neighbors,” she says. “You get to know them and become real good friends.” In fact, her neighbors’ recommendation on a sprinkler system saved her money and led her to support a local business.

Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) underscored the need to keep incentives that encourage home ownership, such as the mortgage interest deduction, which helps the average home owner save thousands of dollars each year. These incentives help strengthen both our communities and nation as a whole, he said.