In the next few days our home of 13 years goes up on the market, It’s with a little in trepidation, but much more relief we will be entering the rent market for the first time. Throughout my whole life the powers that be have stuck to the mantra that owning one’s home was the only way to live, after almost 20 years of doing so I’m not so convinced.
It’s only when one has family deaths, life long diseases diagnosed laced with multiple financial problems, that home ownership can seem more like a massive inflexible weight around one’s neck, than a golden prize to aspire to. In fact that is almost exactly what my grandad had told my dad when he was buying his first house in the 60’s. If only he had listened. He ended up taking on a house just on the edge of his financial reach and by doing so he limited his life and sadly in the recession of the 90’s he lost everything. Despite that I still went down the mortgage root something that also limited my own life and cut off my freedom of movement when I needed it most.
I must confess to being a little scared of that word ‘renting’, in ‘Great’ Britain renting is a bloody logistical nightmare especially if like us you have a dog. Oh if only we were both still living in America where renting is the norm and on the whole a very easy and straightforward process. While I know many in the UK look down on renting and renters, it offers us a whole host of benefits, not least the flexibility to move wherever we like and often to homes we simply could never afford to buy. Gone will be the sleep depriving worry of those expensive and unforeseen house repairs, or necessary house upgrades to keep the property value up. Homeownership is a grand idea if you have the bank balance that can cope with it, but for the financially stretched it can often seem like debt slavery or a prison sentence with no hope of parole.
A mortgage in truth until it is payed off is still just a glorified rental agreement, start missing too many payments and then see what you really ‘own’. With houses getting ever more expensive and mortgages longer by the time the bloody thing is paid off your be just the right age to check into a care home. At this point it will become evident that owning your own home should you need care is far less of an advantage than you would think.
I fully understand that renting has it’s downsides, yes it can often be more expensive per month than buying, but when you think about the money most people plough into a house over it’s lifetime it often evens itself out. I must come back to the one thing that is important to us Freedom! The ability to move and move again if need or whim comes up. The ability to finally be free of debt after so many soul crushing years, outweighs all the downsides we may have to face over the coming month .
I shall post more as events unfold.