dear africa – To rent or buy

Dear Africa
(Damn, Thabo Mbeki is already on vol.9, I need to catch up)

Today, I want to touch on a very sensitive topic. Property. This topic can divide renters and owners like region divides believers and atheists. Like region, discussing the pros and cons of owning vs renting property is not my favorite subject. And just like religion, those who worship a deity strongly oppose those who don’t, and vise versa. Fortunately, with property, there’s numbers to backup arguments.

To set the record straight, I am pro renting. I’ve been working since 2006, I’ve never owned a property. I have toyed with the idea of buying a few times, but, fortunately I have never signed the few OTP papers that I have applied for. I have read many articles and books, and crunched lot of numbers in my spreadsheets over the years. I am now convinced that I will never own a property.

There are 2 types of properties. There’s primary residence, and there’s investment property. The biggest lie of the century is banks telling us that owning your primary residence is an investment and society giving us some fake “Mama I made it” status. Liars. The banks are the ones benefiting out of this scheme. Charging you double the price of the house in a 30 year period. Have you ever wondered why a Gti costs R500k and takes 5-7 years to pay-off, but a small home of the same value takes you 30 years with negligible differences between the installments? That’s some serious organised and perfectly legal white-collar crime.

So, I’ll give you 2 reasons why I’ll never own property, primary residence or investment property:
1. Flexibility
2. I’m lazy

Flexibility because I’m just not ready to settle down in 1 geographic location and 1 house for the rest of my life. When an opportunity comes up in Australia with 10 times my current salary or when I take my startup to Silicon Valley, I want to take it with no delay of trying to sell a house or finding tenants. I just want up and go, with my family in-tow. I think I will only ever be ready to settle down when I go to an old-age home and wait for the inevitable, and by that time, I should have enough money to buy the whole old-age home and charge you ex-homeowners to your grave. Evil smile 🙂

And for an investment property, I’m lazy to chase after tenants and fix broken geezers. I’ll much rather just wait for my dividends to be paid, automatically, without first employing red-ants to evict tenants. And instead of owning just 1 or few properties in a couple of places, through my investments in property funds, I literally own portions of multiple properties all over the globe. I literally have small but growing stakes in Menlyn Shopping Centre, Sandton City, W&A Waterfront, just to mention just a few.

Having said all of this, I know owning a property can also be a lifestyle thing for some people. They understands all the costs associated with owning a property, and are quite happy to pay the price. Because of the feeling of having a place you call ‘home’. They want to tend their garden, and mow the lawn, and hang their family pictures on the wall with nails, slaughter a goat to appease the ancestors. That feeling is priceless. If you fall into this category, I will not argue with you. Enjoy your home, you deserve it.

I know this will ruffle a few feathers. For all the pro property owners who want to attack me without giving valid counter-arguments, I invite you to read the following articles before you jump on to the keyboard:


***This reminds me, I must call my landlord to come a fix a few things at the house that are broken 🙂 at no extra cost***

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