property investment

Discussion – Do you NEED a home?

As someone who is familiar with migrations, I moved from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city when I was little. Moving from Vietnam to Australia when I was 18, and moving from Ballarat to Melbourne 5 years later. I feel like I experienced a different way of living, in contrast to how our predecessors have been living.

Tl; dr;

  • We WANT a home and we NEED a place to live.
  • Sense of ownership and jealousy often clouds our judgement when it comes to purchasing our dream house.
  • There is nothing wrong renting for the whole life. It just needs more planning.

Housing is a basic need

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a place to live satisfies the safety needs, and some of the physiological needs.

Having a place to feel safe, to keep ourselves warm, to be able to rest is a must for any human.

Back in the days, we normally stay in the same community throughout our lives. We were born and raised in the same house, even live in the same house when we became adults and gets married. At the end, we probably died on the same bed that we slept as a kid.

With that context, it is no surprise that most people who experienced that lifestyle, including my parents, think that one needs to own his/her own house because it is an absolute necessity.

An alternative aspect

Let us take a look at some statistical facts.

Back in 2012, a social indicated that 43% of Australians moved house in the last 5 years. The number is a staggering indication of how much we move around these days. We do not stay in the same geography for a long time due to various reasons, such as changing life styles, kids, work opportunities, etc.

In the new working environment, the idea of job hopping is becoming the norm. People are encouraged to change employers every 3 to 4 years to increase competitiveness and enhance their skill set. Sometimes changing job means that you need to move to another area, and I do see people renting out their own home, move to a rental property to be close to their new workplace.

The question is, is owning our own house a necessity?

To think about an answer, we must take a step back and look at the reasons why we purchased our home.

  • Is it because our parents told us, “You need to have your own home!!”
  • Or it is because your friends all have their own home?
  • Is it because you feel like owning a piece of real estate satisfy something within you?

There may be other reasons, however the above 3 is what I feel when looking back at my previous home purchase. Those reasons are not about what I need, they are all from external factors. And the one thing that inspire me to purchase is just because I wanted the feeling of ownership.

Therefore, it is never about my needs to buy my own home to live in. It is more about what the society expects from you, what I want to achieve in life.

With that being said, there is nothing wrong in purchasing a house of your dream. However, you need to think about the WHY are you buying as the very first step. If there is no good reason to buy, it is ok to keep renting.

The renting hassles

I used to rent for over 3 years when I arrived in Australia, and have resumed renting for nearly a year now. What did I encounter?

  • I lost all bond because of a dodgy tenant who sublet the room to me.
  • Living in a house infested with mice and I had to arm the traps every day.
  • I lived in a cold room with no heater for an extended period of time. In Ballarat winter, you wouldn’t like it 🙂
  • I lived in a house that had a break-in.

It is fair to say that I have quite a bit of experience as a tenant. Most people fear the stories of renting, and fear the hassles of moving houses, of being kicked out by landlords.

Fortunately, in Australia, if landlords want tenants out, they need to have formal notice and give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to find another place. Rental is a heavily regulated topic, and most of the regulations actually favour tenants.

And the moving, it is much easier nowadays with removalist services. When I last moved, it took me like a week to pack, a weekend to move, and another week to unpack. Yes there were some work to do, but then again, don’t we do the same thing when we move home?

Summary

Owning our own home is not really a necessity, but it is more about what we want, and how do we fit into the society.

Always questioning the reason why you purchase a property, and you will be more aware of your goal.

“We live in this bubble of ignorance. Most people know nothing about history, or the historical context of the traditions they still follow today. People do things without knowing why they’re doing them.” – Oliver Markus Malloy, Inside The Mind of an Introvert

By Tuan Nguyen

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