Is it worth buying a home?

by Readers Question

15:19 PM, 18th August 2020
About a month ago

Is it worth buying a home?

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Is it worth buying a home?

The illusion or delusion of buying your own home.

Let me tell you about my Parents. We lived in a Council House on an estate. My Parents were conditioned to aspired to own their own home. To get on the property ladder! They brought a rundown small terraced house, back then, for £10K. They both worked two jobs to pay for it, and did it up, going without Holidays or newish cars. Just before my father’s retirement, they paid the mortgage off. A few years later my farther now an OAP, confessed he wished he hadn’t brought it. He said, when they lived in the council house, he only had to pay rent and the Council fixed everything. Now in the middle of the night, he worries about the slates falling off the roof, the water taps braking and Tradesmen ripping him off.

My Father passed away. I went to look at an assisted living apartment, in a brand new block, for my 80-year-old mum to move into. I was told that because she owned her little terrace house, now worth about £150K she would have to sell that to buy her flat at £95K and pay £100 a week service charge until she only had £16K left. Virtually all the other occupants had come from the same council estate my parents had left. They had moved in for free and didn’t pay anything. My mum would have completed a loop and been back with the neighbours she left 30 years earlier.

My mum stayed in her Terrace house. If she goes into care, we will have to sell it to pay for the care home, whilst no doubt there will be others in the same care home that will have come from the same council estate and will be there for free. My Parents worked hard and went without, to buy and pay for their own home. Later the maintenance of it became a liability. Yes, it’s an asset, but the Government stands first in line to profit from that asset. If we the children get anything, it will be about enough for each of us to buy a second-hand car. In reality, my parents never made it out of the “nothing to nothing loop”. In fact, they became more trapped by owning their own home, than benefitting from it. I wish I could go back in time. I would have advised my parents to stay in their rented home and work fewer hours and spend their money on foreign holidays and expensive cars.

I am a landlord and have a portfolio, so I have broken out of the loop and risen above my roots. Property owning does work for me.

I have had Tenants who have moved out of one of my rented houses to buy their own house and I have also had Tenants who inform me, that whilst they are on their month-long holiday in Australia, it would be a good time for me to redecorate their house or renovate their bathroom. Which is right?

For these reasons, I have come to question, that in this increasingly socialist country, that people that saddle themselves with the task of buying a modest home, are doing the right thing. I suspect private homes will also soon become the target of capital gains tax and equity release loans will be taxed.

Graham


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Comments

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:05 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Hi Graham
A very interesting and thoughtful article.
I often think about myself and a sibling of mine and how we have made different choices. I'm naturally frugal and don't splash the cash on many holidays etc and am now what you might call comfortably-off. My sibling has always spent everything along the way, enjoying themself and they don't own a property. Some on the left would look at our relative positions now and suggest eg that I hand over one of my properties to him because it is immoral that I own more than one. This takes no account of how people choose to spend their money over decades - as though that never actually happened.

XPP

10:27 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

What an article......
This enables one to see both sides of the coin....
My parents didn't own any property but never stayed in a home. I had the honour to look after them in their last days....
My childern also do not save any money to buy a property; instead enjoy spending it..... In life we never brought anythin when we were borne and will not take anything when we go... Best is to enjoy what one has....

Deborah Clare

10:31 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

I have thought about this too. It seems to me that when you get old and need care and supported housing etc., you either need to have nothing or be rich enough that the cost doesn't matter.

I work as a support worker for older people and have seen several times, the disappointment as they see their savings from the sale of their home disappear in fees and rent that other people do not have to pay because they spent their money on living a different lifestyle. It seems to be a very unfair system to me and one that I worry about, as I have worked very hard for my assets and have gone without holidays, new cars etc. in order to buy property. I certainly don't want to lose it all when I am old, as it is my wish to pass it on to my children but there is no guarantee that this will happen and as you say, they may be left with only enough to buy a car!

Maybe I should sell up and spend up before then? My grown up children (and many of their friends) do not particularly want to buy their own homes. They are happy to rent and enjoy a better standard of living, such as holidays, new cars, expensive phones, rather than spending on a new boiler, etc. They also seem to move around much more than my generation did.

I don't know who has got it right but I know who I think has less stress.

loretta wight

10:55 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Deborah Clare at 19/08/2020 - 10:31
So true . I think attitudes have changed . Owning a home was an achievement in a family and you saved and suffered to get one. Now holidays , materialism is important while blaming the lack of buying on everyone and everything else. Perhaps if they allowed you to keep more of your hard earned money then the system would be fairer. When you are next to people who have spent , spent , spent then you wonder why you didn't do the same .

Dr Rosalind Beck

11:01 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by loretta wight at 19/08/2020 - 10:55
Ah, one doesn't every day get the chance to quote Dylan Thomas, but his most famous poem touches on this very subject:

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas - 1914-1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Paul Shears

11:11 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 19/08/2020 - 11:01I make no excuses here but I will just state how it was for me. I am motivated above all by fear. Fear of poverty. It has stood me in good stead. On this matter I have no regrets. In any case, once you clearly see the distinction between wants & needs, you see how much of our efforts at material consumption yield no value or just add another burden.
I happen to come from an impoverished background but I am the only one that was sufficiently motivated to escape.

Chris Novice Shark Bait

11:13 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

A very thought provoking article. Always worth remembering life is shorter than we think and we only get one shot at it. It can be even shorter than that, without warning and against the odds and all expectation. Until the government relaxes its intentions to prevent offspring benefitting financially from their parent's toils after they are dead, and preferably whilst still alive, life and death will seem even more unfair than perhaps it should be. Perhaps tax benefits should be bestowed on those who defer gratitude's. Don't see that coming any time soon.

Smartermind

11:15 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

You have proven by your own efforts (you call it breaking out of the loop) that it IS worth buying your own house and investing in property otherwise you wouldn't be a landlord. So in essence you have answered your question by your own efforts.

My own father was a hard worker and from poor roots, but he invested wisely in property (long before Buy to Lets became popular). He didn't die rich, but was moderately comfortable and had paid his mortgage off.

david porter

12:06 PM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

and Corbyn witters on about social justice.
Where is the social justice in dole bludgers being taken care of from the cradle to the grave?

loretta wight

16:45 PM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 19/08/2020 - 11:15
I wish I hadn't , it has been more trouble than it is worth. I became a landlord through ill health ie didn't get benefits due to saving so I needed an income. Pensions /markets had collapsed .It is hard with people in rent arrears, court cases, repairs/lack of them etc Even the value has dropped . I speak to some that have been on benefits for 10 yrs plus , don't have a care in the world. I would have hoped that I would get a better room for my money in the care home but I don't see that happening.

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