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Renting Is Not Dead Money - Owning Your Own Home At 25 Is A Mistake

08/02/2017 11:30 GMT | Updated 08/02/2017 11:30 GMT
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Us Brits are obsessed with owning our own homes and millennials are no exception. The problem is while our parents managed to get onto the property ladder in their early 20s, young people beat themselves up for being nowhere near that point.

Today the BBC released the piece 'How to own a home by the age of 25' interviewing young couples on how they managed to buy a property before even hitting their mid-twenties. They have defied the odds - they must have been doing something right, while all other young people have been doing it wrong. See it is possible, meet these four couples who did what you couldn't.

The piece starts off with "Owning a home by the age of 25 has become an unachievable dream for many over the last two decades." Well yes, the world is a very different place. Parents of millennials would be married, have children and own a house by 21 - most of us would be horrified by that level of commitment at such an early age. We have far more options these days and the world is a more complicated but exciting place.

Look, if you have plenty of money buying a property, can be a great financial decision. The rent isn't going into the landlord's pockets and many say they have a greater sense of security (which is fine if you can easily afford your mortgage).

However, in a bid to get on the property ladder more and more adults in their early twenties are never moving out of their family home. The only 'sensible' options are live (often rent free) in your parents house, or buy a flat - what happened to renting? Why is the idea that you move out, gain independence and learn how to pay rent and bills a worse idea than being snuggled up with your parents at the age of 24.

My career is built on the idea that you should be able to live the life you want, while keeping a sensible eye on your finances. But I think young people have been brainwashed into thinking they want to own a property - without considering what it really entails.

Renting is ideal in your 20s - you become financially and socially independent, can have parties, make noise, watch Netflix til 3am, bring people home without having your parents sitting there in the kitchen to meet them in the morning... Normal things young people do.

And let's be honest here, the only reason these young people can even begin to think about buying a property under the age of 25 is because they are shacked up. How many of you are with your partner from when you were 21?

asmr fatberg from Twitter said it best: "Allow tethering yourself to the partner you chose in your early 20s - Jesus Christ. I wouldn't wear the shoes I wore back then.'

We don't settle down early anymore because we have more work and relationship options. If you've bought a property when you're barely out of your teens - you've lost all flexibility which is a gift to the young. And of course, if a young couple splits up, selling the property is complicated.

We need to stop telling young people that renting is awful and buying is the only option. I left my house at the age of 19 and rented in house shares up-until the age November 2016, when I bought my flat at the age of 31 (and I still think that's pretty young).

Your twenties is a time to travel, to party, to try out different jobs - and fail spectacularly and life, work and relationships - so you can learn and get things right for your 30's. The pressure of a mortgage you're barely able to cover is a total unnecessary and frankly, you don't know what is important to you in a property until you've lived in a few different ones.

Mark from the BBC piece even goes on to mention that while working at McDonalds, he applied for a job that paid a £27,000 a year, but couldn't take it because he is stuck with the house he bought. Most of us aren't in the jobs we were in during our early 20's - it's not worth defaulting on your mortgage because you wanted a career change. A mortgage is inflexible. Renting is not dead money because you're buying flexibility.

And let's assume that with scrimping and saving, never going out, on holidays you can save the bare minimum with a 5% mortgage - it doesn't mean the frugality is over. It's just begun, because being a homeowner means you live in a money pit.

Literally the same day we moved into the flat we bought, the ceiling had a leak in it (a portion of the roof needed to be replaced), we found the bathroom wall was rotten and the boiler stopped working - this cost us over £6,000 to deal with. We need to be careful not to push young people into stretching their budget to buy a place they can just afford - because the costs don't stop.

Again, if you are young and can afford to buy a house - good for you. If you can't, living with your parents is not the way forward. Renting is not dead money, you're paying for freedom, flexibility, the chance to live in an area you couldn't afford to live in if you bought.

Just because you can own a home by the age of 25, doesn't mean you should. And young people shouldn't be made to feel like they're failing because they haven't managed to.