There are two parts to this article. Part I deals with some of the questions we ask at a philosophical level, whereas Part II is more direct in mentioning ‘19 reasons’ which one could ponder over. For a good understanding and self-introspection, it is advised to read both Part I and II of the series.
Buying and owning a home or an apartment: the 2 dimensions
Sometimes we do mull over this question of whether or not to buy an apartment. We may sometimes even wonder whether it’s worth the effort, time, money and sacrifice involved!
We apply many filters in our mind while seeking the right answer to this question. Yet, the final answer sometimes remains elusive as the filters we apply may keep changing. The criteria upon which our ‘rationalization process’ works is also prone to incessant changes or fluctuations. We tend to take a stand on any subject based upon the ‘rationalization process’ our mind is exposed to, and this process is constantly involved in solving the conflicts and problems our brain encounters, including the question of home ownership.
In fact, there are folks who are confused about deciding about owning a home, waver by the minute, and are just not sure or fully convinced. And, that is okay! It is completely normal, because, end of the day, committing to own a home is a huge decision involving a substantial chunk of one’s wealth, effort and time. It is a very big ticket item, and is not as simple as picking a candy-bar off the shelf. Most of the times, buying a home also involves a mortgage (home loan), and servicing a home loan beyond a decade can sometimes be quite a roller-coaster ride for some.
Hence, there is no right or wrong to what you want to do with you money, be it buying a house, spending it, saving it, or investing it elsewhere! Whatever a person feels eventually is the right answer because each individual’s circumstances, priorities and personality is unique.
Having said that, a home is something very basic to the story of human evolution! Even those who do not wish to buy a home can someday turn in favour of the idea owing to any change! Fact remains: people change, their thoughts get influenced, and their conditions or contexts also vary with time.
So, let’s ponder over the reasons why people think buying a property is great, or otherwise.
For simplicity, let’s classify the reasons broadly into 2 categories, namely, the ‘rational’ and the ‘pragmatic’ dimension.
The first dimension is the completely RATIONAL or logic-driven which may argue both ‘for’ as well as ‘against’ the idea of buying an apartment or a house.
Arguments ‘against’ home-acquisition may go to saying that a home is a depreciating asset which need not be bought, and could as well be rented. Those who take this stand view home as a ‘pay, use and move-on’ commodity. To them, ownership means nothing if we are paying EMIs, and are under debt (courtesy, home loans). Plus, with an over–supply of apartment and home offerings in the market, there is a strong likelihood of the property not appreciating as expected. Worse still, with time, the dwelling unit gets older and worn-out, and loses its attractiveness in the resale market. Consequently, a home may turn out to be a liability rather than an asset.
Alternatively, the logical arguments ‘in favour’ of acquiring a home may state that a good property in a good location eventually gives an annual appreciation of over 10-12%, which is much higher than the banks. Plus, investing in a home cuddles you into a ‘forced saving’ for your future security along with reasonably healthy capital appreciation, and, sometimes, even good rentals! A ‘ready to move’ home offers added incentive, which is: Instead of paying rent, it is better to pay an Equated Monthly Instalment of your own home, and simultaneously live in it!
The second dimension is the PRAGMATIC one based on human instincts and thoughts where our physical needs, psychological temperament, spiritual inclinations, and emotions are at play.
These factors and feelings fuel the desire to own a home, and makes the sense of ownership deeply satisfying and rewarding. Owning a home is a deeply emotional craving which brings continued joy and a sense of fulfilment.
‘Living under a roof that belongs to us’ is a lovely feeling beyond compare! We get attached to every brick, every wall and every aspect of a home that we own.
In fact, the feelings multiply and spill over to other human motivations. The thrill of ‘ownership’, the sense of ‘belongingness to a community’ (where the home or apartment is located), a sense of ‘achievement’, the ‘status’ that it confers upon us, and the ‘overwhelming pride’ of having finally arrived in life consumes a home owner.
For someone who is aspiring to own a home, these factors influence and trigger a desire to own a home. More specifically, the ‘absence of having satiated these factors’ (or felt need) creates a ‘gap’ that requires ‘bridging’. This ‘gap’ triggers a very clear goal in the mind of an individual, and accentuates the ‘desire to own a home’. This ‘unfulfilled need’ leads us to seek ‘bridging of this gap’ by making home ownership one of our critical life goals.
In this article we shall cite reasons and motivations based on this pragmatic aspect.
Buying a home: a home buyers’ perspective viewed w.r.t. Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’
Priorities differ for each human being, however, a commoner’s desire to own a home one day is deep–seated at a primal level. To cite Maslow’s construct, buying and owning a property motivates and satisfies the following needs:
- the physiological need of ‘food and shelter’; a shelter here is the home that also provides us with safety and security by putting a roof over our head; this is how the home caters to the good health, and keeps
- the drive for love, belongingness and esteem; a home is where a person is rooted and provides the care and environment of affection and shelter to the family
- an urge to satisfy self-actualization need; a home allows us to establish our roots with the place, the locality, the community, the city and the State
Tenant vs. Home owner: which one should I be?
When an owner enters one’s own house or apartment, it feels warm. We feel as if the home is actually getting-up to greet and welcome us. The satisfaction we get entering our self-owned home is indescribably warm and gratifying. There is no way you can feel that way as a tenant. As a tenant, you are entering your living space, but the spaces are not yours since you are a temporary occupant.
An inner motivation sets in, which, despite the burden of ‘Equated Monthly Instalments’ (EMIs), intensifies the craving to own the roof over our head.
Owning a home simply becomes one of the greatest feelings in the world!
An individual is driven not just by financial goals! We have personal goals too. These are to do with our values, the cultural influences, our upbringing, and, above all else, our personality. All these make up our ‘mental maze way’, and the way we nurture our ‘beliefs and attitudes’ about all the people, things, and emotions we live with. These personal goals drive an individual to acquire a home.
Thus, our self-owned home is not just a ‘piece of real estate’ made of brick and mortar! Rather, a home extends far beyond into the realm of emotional rootedness and personal connect with the people and place it is located in.
Owning a home: a dream worth fulfilling?
With an average life-span about 80 years, people usually like to provide shelter, care and protection to their kith and kin. It is natural for the elders of the family to leave their property to the next of kin upon demise. This makes our home a legacy, a remembrance, and a loving gift for our descendants.
Besides, as age advances, we may not enjoy the life of a wanderer moving from one rented apartment to another. People after a while fancy settling down in one place, preferably, in a home they own! Besides, elder members of the family with grown-up working children, love to have their children and grand-children visit them in their own home (or apartment). It can get painful living in a rented apartment all our life, with the Damocles’ sword hanging over our heads perennially, where we can be asked to vacate rented premises anytime!
Another factor is uncertainty of our life, and the uncertainty of the resources (wealth) we own or hope to further accumulate! We can never be sure of the kind of maintenance and upkeep our body may require as we live on. Plus, the inflow of income may not remain constant or continually increasing at all times. There is always a risk of upheavals lurking large in our lives. We could be derailed completely by the uncertainties in our life like economic slow-downs, job-losses, medical conditions and many other unpredictable situations.
With this backdrop, it is prudent to own a home that we can fall back upon. Having our own home actually works as a rescue mechanism in difficult times.
Conclusion of Part I
Being human, our heart rules over our heads, emotions run high, and buying a home just ‘feels right’. It simply feels that our own home is the ‘right space’ that exudes the much needed warmth and aspiration. It also is a ‘status symbol’ for many! Not having your own home creates a ‘void’ which people normally like to fill. This ‘cognitive ability or desire’ to ‘fill the gap’ of not having a home of our own makes us inclined to buying a home!