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Why Are Brits So Obsessed With Buying Their Own Homes?


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Of course there is. There's a million and one ways to live your life without paying down a loan on a pile of bricks. Many of them are a more sustainable, prudent way of living too. You just have to live a different life to the other idiots, but again, most people are incapable of comprehending any asset other than 'property'. Suits me just fine.

Give me a couple of examples. 32, no dependents, no debt, £140,000 in the bank - what do I do with it?

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There is something in this. Widespread owner occupying is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries ours was a feudal society where the landlord wielded huge power over tenants.

We haven't quite gone back to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droit_du_seigneur*yet but we have certainly regressed.

* There are probably some on Tribes/118 who advocate a return to these good old days.

Precisely. Landlords are miniature despotic governments and rents are their taxes. Whilst this is only implicit now it was perfectly explicit and acknowledged until around the end of the 19th century.

Owning even a small piece of land means freedom, at least relative to those who don't.

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Give me a couple of examples. 32, no dependents, no debt, £140,000 in the bank - what do I do with it?

Too little info to make a judgement. What do you want out of life? Do you have any other responsibilities or family to potentially look after etc? I.e. is your location fixed?

If so then :

1 - Find somewhere decent to rent. If you dont mind living with someone else, houseshare with someone who you get on with who *owns* the place and wants a lodger. It is far better (in my experience) to do that rather than a conventional shared rental. It's more informal, they deal with the bills, what's not to like? It's also usually very cheap for what you get (imho).

2 - pursue interests that make you happy in your free time.

3 - start playing with that stack of cash. Buy some shares, invest in your own ideas etc. Work on a simple diversified plan with some play money to also take a few risks.

4 - work part time. Best decision you'll ever make.

5 - put as much into your pension as you can stomach to reduce your marginal tax rate. It's an incredible feeling to know that you're one of the few people actually taking the future seriously. Most people are not. All their eggs are in the house basket. That is an incredibly imprudent strategy. Don't be one of them.

If you really are free, then take the 140k and bugger off round the world for the rest of your life working as you go. I'd do that, but I'm not free.

But...if it'd make you feel less stressed, buy a house.

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Precisely. Landlords are miniature despotic governments and rents are their taxes. Whilst this is only implicit now it was perfectly explicit and acknowledged until around the end of the 19th century.

Owning even a small piece of land means freedom, at least relative to those who don't.

I have rented various places for the last 20 years. More often than not I am under impression that despite paying for the accommodation, I am not being treated as a client:

- 'wear and tear' repairs are always done on a minimal budget, with the cheapest labour, paint, plumbing

- repairs often done slowly, and treated almost as a favour

- for some reasons landlords get involved whenever I have friends or family staying over a few months. Rent is paid on time, house in a good condition - what is their problem?

- there is never any preventative maintenance, things need to break before they are fixed

And I am not talking here about some cheap slums; last few years rented mid-price, mid-market properties.

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I have rented various places for the last 20 years. More often than not I am under impression that despite paying for the accommodation, I am not being treated as a client:

- 'wear and tear' repairs are always done on a minimal budget, with the cheapest labour, paint, plumbing

- repairs often done slowly, and treated almost as a favour

- for some reasons landlords get involved whenever I have friends or family staying over a few months. Rent is paid on time, house in a good condition - what is their problem?

- there is never any preventative maintenance, things need to break before they are fixed

And I am not talking here about some cheap slums; last few years rented mid-price, mid-market properties.

:lol::lol: My neighbour's rental house just fell down, well, the whole back wall fell out.

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Thanks for the reply, Frugal. I've answered in bold below:

Too little info to make a judgement. What do you want out of life? Do you have any other responsibilities or family to potentially look after etc? I.e. is your location fixed?

My location is fixed for now as I've carved out a decent low-stress life for myself with plenty of holidays.

If so then :

1 - Find somewhere decent to rent. If you dont mind living with someone else, houseshare with someone who you get on with who *owns* the place and wants a lodger. It is far better (in my experience) to do that rather than a conventional shared rental. It's more informal, they deal with the bills, what's not to like? It's also usually very cheap for what you get (imho).

Have been renting a wonderful apartment for the past 5 years. Costs 25% of my take home pay, but is right in the city center and a 10 minute walk to work. In other words the location could not be more perfect. No commute costs, cheap to run, no need for a car. Very happy to live here for as long as I live by myself.

2 - pursue interests that make you happy in your free time.

Yeah I really need to start doing more of this actually.

3 - start playing with that stack of cash. Buy some shares, invest in your own ideas etc. Work on a simple diversified plan with some play money to also take a few risks.

I've been somewhat terrified by the stock market with the big swings that happen, and I probably missed my chance to profit in the 2008 crash, but I do like the idea of owning a wide range of stocks, drip feeding in say 500-1000 a month to my 'pile', and resting safe in the knowledge that I have an ever-growing pile of stocks that I can 'tap into' when I need it. If I did that and the market continued to grow year on year I reckon I'd have a quarter of a million by the time I'm 40. For what that's worth like...

4 - work part time. Best decision you'll ever make.

I think I'm a bit young for that, but it's something that I'd definatley look into in the future. My current job is such a skive at the moment that I'm taking every day that I can from them - it's the easiest money that I'll ever make.

5 - put as much into your pension as you can stomach to reduce your marginal tax rate. It's an incredible feeling to know that you're one of the few people actually taking the future seriously. Most people are not. All their eggs are in the house basket. That is an incredibly imprudent strategy. Don't be one of them.

I'm not a higher rate tax payer, so this probably isn't worth it I guess? Plus, if I put it into a pension surely I can't take it out until I'm 65? Or am I being thick here.

If you really are free, then take the 140k and bugger off round the world for the rest of your life working as you go. I'd do that, but I'm not free.

Perpetual travel has never appealed, but I do take plenty of holidays. I have 49 days of leave this year so plenty of opportunities to go away.

But...if it'd make you feel less stressed, buy a house.

At this point I think houses are too expensive, and owning one would decrease my overall quality of life which is why I haven't bought one yet. What it all really hinges on is whether I ever meet someone that I want to have kids with I guess. If I'm alone, I'm ok to stick with my flat.

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Worse than that, you can pay your rent and be a good tenant and a s21 can be sent, no reason needed. Didn't Fergus drive round and check on whether his tenants had opened the curtains in the morning so he could evict those who were 'not working' (could have been on shift work ..... of course )

Often LLs see tenants as caretakers of their investment, no pets, no pictures etc.

Yup and s21 can arrive at any moment for any reason, even no reasons.

We've just had one hit our doormat un the middle of december No reason given, property is well kept. Recently had a baby though.

Oh well cest la vie.

A stable home environment for your family is a big draw. Having to run around over Xmas dealing with letting agents trying to find somewhere for your wife and child to live isnt much fun especially with limited supply and high demand.

Edited by hans kammler
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Yup and s21 can arrive at any moment for any reason, even no reasons.

We've just had one hit our doormat un the middle of december No reason given, property is well kept. Recently had a baby though.

Oh well cest la vie.

A stable home environment for your family is a big draw. Having to run around over Xmas dealing with letting agents trying to find somewhere for your wife and child to live isnt much fun especially with limited supply and high demand.

What utter scum. We cannot go on like this imo.

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For me it was part economics, part need, but mostly belief structure - I sank a fair amount of savings into our first house, and that made the mortgage on a 2 bed character cottage with decent garden 20% lower than the crappy 1 bed shoe box that we were renting before - it made sense to us.

We recently moved again, sinking the proceeds (we owned outright) into a bigger property so the mortgage on a 5 bed detached (in fantastic location & great schools), with great space for the kids, is much lower than I could rent a 3 bed semi for in the same area. I have pension investment, stocks, bonds & funds, and a mortgage which is about 25% of take home pay - to be honest the rate of returns on investments aren't enough to risk selling up and renting for us.

It's all personal decision ultimately - our route suited us, but wouldn't be other people's preference.

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Planning is import in today's world of unknowns. Personally living with rent all my life I could think nothing better than not having to pay rent, especially when I stop working because then I cannot have much outgoings.

Things that ilk me are lax government policy on building control where it matters like minimum room sizes, forget bed rooms, any room, no 2/3 size show house furniture along with lack of rent control with special courts to handle such cases, taking into account of their low inflation rates would be a real bonus. But even so I still see ownership of your one dewelling import for old age.

Actually thinking about it right now - with the notions of economic collapse and how it could happen for a HPC to occur I'm not sure why I even bother wishing to be a home owner as I can't see it would make much difference as they'll find something to tax your pants off with it when that times comes.

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The guy who wrote the book 'Debt- the first five thousand years' made an interesting observation that our modern day concepts concerning 'human rights' in the UK are actually derivations of the old Roman laws regarding the status and legal standing of slaves.

It's a truism to point out that slaves have no human rights but even a slave has some protection from harm in his role as property- you could not in ancient Rome casually damage someone else's slave since that slave was owned and thus protected by property law.

So while most people in the UK fondly imagine that the law protects their 'human rights' this is not the case, what the law protects is in fact their rights as property owners of themselves. If you are damaged by a third party you can sue them for compensation on the basis not of human rights but on the basis that you, as the owner of yourself, have a right to such compensation.

Ok- the distinction seems trivial or bizarre but it's really not. Because it turns out that in terms of the law property rights trump 'human rights' every time.

For example; suppose you are renting a house in the middle of the worst winter on record, a winter in which outside temperatures fall to dangerously low levels especially at night. By a sad twist of fate you then lose your job and cannot pay the rent so the landlord takes you to court. Of the two competing 'rights' in play here- your 'human right' to shelter or the landlords desire to exert his property rights by having you evicted, which of the two is supported by the legal system?

So perhaps the desire to own property in the UK is in part a reflection of the reality that the only way to be 'safe' in your shelter under UK law is to be a property owner since that law places the rights of property and it's protection far above any human need you might have for shelter on a freezing winter night.

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'This seems a bit odd if you're a foreigner.'

Does it? She mentions her French parents, renting in Paris for decades. And I dare say there's plenty of renting in Paris, but I was under the impression that outside the big cities many French people do buy their own homes, and prefer to, if they can.

It was an awful long time ago that I did a school exchange trip to Paris - the family lived in a flat (presumably rented) in a bog standard concrete sort of block in a not particularly wonderful suburb. But the parents were having a house built or renovated (forget which) in a nicer area a little furth

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'This seems a bit odd if you're a foreigner.'

Does it? She mentions her French parents, renting in Paris for decades. And I dare say there's plenty of renting in Paris, but I was under the impression that outside the big cities many French people do buy their own homes, and prefer to, if they can.

It was an awful long time ago that I did a school exchange trip to Paris - the family lived in a flat (presumably rented) in a bog standard concrete sort of block in a not particularly wonderful suburb. But the parents were having a house built or renovated (forget which) in a nicer area a little further out, and clearly could not wait to move in. Each weekend I was there, and it was 3 weeks, we would be taken there and have to amuse ourselves while Papa and Maman busied themselves with DIY and doing the garden, ready for the move.

A Swedish friend's son, who lives in Stockholm with his wife and 3 kids, has just moved house for the 3rd time in about 6 years. Each house has been 'in need of modernisation' and each time they have done it up to a high standard and sold for a profit, to help with the next. And from what I hear this is not at all unusual among his contemporaries in Stockholm.

It's a lazy cliche to imply that it's just the UK.

Lazy, cliched article altogether, IMO.

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I have rented various places for the last 20 years. More often than not I am under impression that despite paying for the accommodation, I am not being treated as a client:

- 'wear and tear' repairs are always done on a minimal budget, with the cheapest labour, paint, plumbing

- repairs often done slowly, and treated almost as a favour

- for some reasons landlords get involved whenever I have friends or family staying over a few months. Rent is paid on time, house in a good condition - what is their problem?

- there is never any preventative maintenance, things need to break before they are fixed

And I am not talking here about some cheap slums; last few years rented mid-price, mid-market properties.

I'm renting in a very reasonable private estate and I had a guy from a building firm ask if I was the home owner in relation to the facias/soffits. They must of not been painted in years, possibly since it was sold in the early 2000's. I explained that I was only renting and he'd have to ask the estate agents.

Anyway the guy said before he went that they were 'the worst condition he's ever seen'. :lol::lol::lol:

I had the cooker replaced a few years ago and a quick check on Currys showed it was the cheapest one possible.

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When I leave my current rental (after 8 years) I would conservatively estimate that the LL will need to spend in excess of £50k to get the place up to scratch. None of it my fault - just what happens when you spend less than £500 per year on preventative maintenance.

That looks like a lot but thinking about it, my place probably needs just as much to bring it to the level I'd have it at if I owned it: new carpets, windows, roof, kitchen, bathroom, heating, plumbing and electrics. It all works just has cheap/dyi feel to it. Kind of waiting and hoping for FUBAR events: roof actually leaks properly next time. Or worn carpet deteriorates into a massive hole. Or heating finally packs up for good.

However, renewed alternatives of the same size in the same area are another £300-400 pm.

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