I agree Maysay.
The lesson I've learned in this thread is that most people who are screwed over from home ownership probably found themselves in that position because people have a false perception of it. They think its a safe investment, they believe you are practically guaranteed a profit, and they don't consider the multitude of factors that affect the return. If you are paying an equivalent mortgage to rent, then paying property taxes, home insurance, maintenance, upgrades, and interest and you end up having a short sale 10 years later, you have lost way more than a renter. Most people don't finish paying their house off and of the ones that do, not all of them make a significant profit if any at all.
I do think I will do it though. I am inclined to go the cash route though. I actually plan on staying home (with my parents) and saving till I have enough money to buy a home with cash in the South.