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I haven't purchased a house yet even though I'm very advanced in the game and close to finishing it (the main quest and most of the bigger side quests at least)

Whenever I have excesses in my inventory I can just drop them in my Winterhold room or the other bigger room you get when you do that thing, so I never felt the necessity to buy another one (also, being a thief, I love to have lots of gold on me).

What good is it to buy a home?

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Belongs on money.stackexchange.com –  Andrew Grimm Dec 15 '11 at 22:43
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Andrew wins stack exchange –  Affe Dec 16 '11 at 0:31
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5 Answers

up vote 22 down vote accepted

Homes provide many benefits:

  • Organization: There are lots of storage spaces that allow you to sort all the junk you tend to collect over time into manageable groups. Scattering all of your junk on the floor makes it harder to pick through later on. For example, I have a chest where I stash all my smithing stuff (ores, bones, leather, pelts, etc). Another place where I place all my alchemy ingredients, and another for all my soul gems, etc.
  • Convenience: In most homes (other than Whiterun), there is an alchemy table next to an enchanting table. Some even have cooking areas, tanning stations, etc. This makes it much more efficient when you take into the fact that you have access to nearby storage containers.
  • Spouse Management: Having a home will also allow you to send your spouse (should you choose to get married) to live there rather than having to find them or travel to an out of the way location. This is really handy for certain spouses who do not have a home and travels around a lot.
  • Vanity: Every home have some sort of way for you to display items. From book shelves to weapon racks, weapon plaques, dagger display cases, mannequins, etc. Depending on how much of this you care about, being able to walk into a home stocked up on stuff like this gives you a great sense of accomplishment. You can also do silly things like drop all your gems onto a table (or into a bowl) and literally watch your treasure pile up.
  • Social Status: Some holds require you to own property before allowing you to become a Thane, which grants you a housecarl for a follower as well as the ability to make guards look the other way for crimes.
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you missed the most important one: Safety, Items stored in your home won't go away, but everywhere else items are subject to removal. –  alexanderpas Dec 15 '11 at 19:02
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@alexanderpas I don't know if items in his winterhold room will go poof, so its not something above what he already has. I'll just upvote your comment in case he's interested. –  z ' Dec 15 '11 at 19:41
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According to some comments here gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/35314/… items can poof in Winterhold, so upvoting as well. –  Eton B. Dec 15 '11 at 20:21
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As far as I am aware there are three main benefits to house ownership.

  1. A place to store your stuff.
  2. Your own private Cooking spit, Alchemy lab, and or Enchanting table.
  3. A place for your spouse to sleep so you get extra benefits from sleeping in the bed.

Lastly, some places require you to own a home to become a Thane which has its own benefits.

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The "Winterhold Room" he mentions provides 1 and 2. I don't know if your spouse can move in with you there, however, you get more of a bonus from sleeping in any bed you own than a random unowned bed, so you still get some additional sleep benefits. –  agf Dec 15 '11 at 18:49
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If you buy a house you are awarded with the "Citizen" achievement/trophy, if you care about such things.

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There are two bullets missing from yx.'s excellent answer:

  • LOOT!: every home, once furnished, is stocked with a variety of useful and not so useful housewares for you to use or sell at you leisure. Notable are Honeyside's respawning alchemy garden, and the presence of Stones of Barenziah in several homes.

  • Experience bonus: This is hinted at with the idea of Spouse Management, but the experience bonus from being 'Well-Rested' is doubled when you sleep in a bed you own (from 5 to 10 percent), and tripled (to 15%) if you do so in an owned bed shared with your spouse. This is a huge help to grinding up the last few points of many hard to level skills, and the ability to have convenient crafting stations nearby makes it very easy to use this bonus to level those skills.

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Are the Stones of Barenziah not accessible unless you buy the house? –  jmfsg Dec 15 '11 at 21:56
    
@Juan: correct. You can't get into the houses without buying them. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 15 '11 at 21:59
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good catch. But I think the only stone in the purchasable houses is the one in Solitude. –  z ' Dec 15 '11 at 22:04
    
Well, the well-rested bonus no longer applies if you choose to become a werewolf. –  Sathya Dec 16 '11 at 13:49
    
I'm not sure "choose" is the right word for it... I don't want to be a werewolf, but the Companions didn't care. –  Dave Sherohman Dec 16 '11 at 15:32
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It's mostly psychological - purchasing a home, furnishing it, etc. gives you a sense of belonging - to say nothing of no longer needing to pay for rooms by the night - plus a great and secure place to dump all your stuff: my house is full of helmets, steel boots, furniture, food, torches, books (on bookshelves).

Having leveled up to 38 and reached 100 Enchanting and 100 Alchemy and 80 Speech I am about to build a full set of invincible armour with which to go questing. The process to get to 100 Alchemy, Enchanting, etc. is well documented elsewhere and I made 150,000 Gold in the process. And all this after about 4 days playing...

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