We’ve had a lot of doom and gloom in the mainstream media over the last couple of years, with very second headline yelling something about pricing bubbles, banking corruption and mortgage stress. As an antidote, here are some reminders of why owning your own home can be a wonderful thing, from our editor Lisa Davis.
You can’t pick up a daily newspaper in Australia these days without at least one article that seems designed to make you feel miserable about the housing market – and this can’t help but take the joy out of the home ownership experience for some people. And while factors such as the broader economy and the global political situation are obviously important, it seems a real shame to let them erode the pleasure that comes with the freedom and stability of owning your own home. It’s called “the Australian dream” for a reason, after all.
So, in no particular order, here are some reminders of the positives that can also come with owning your own home.
Even if it’s a one-bedroom flat, when it’s yours, you can set it up the way you want it. No-one gets to tell you that you can’t put up pictures, or have pets, or mount your enormous TV on the wall. So go ahead – paint all your doors silver using the sample pot you bought at Bunnings on a whim. Install a putting green in the backyard. Line your garage with mirrors and put in punching bags and a ballet barre. Breed quail in the side courtyard. Actually, best check your local council regulations before you do that last one, but the point still stands.
You also get to call whatever tradies you want, whenever you want, rather than waiting for someone else to decide how urgent your leaking toilet, or broken oven, or dodgy light switch is.
The peace of mind
Knowing that you’re on the property ladder makes all the difference to some people. Not just because it removes the fear that you’ll be priced out later, but also because of the feeling of relief that comes with knowing that when you move out, it will be because you, rather than someone else, made that decision. Added bonuses include that no-one will be coming into your residence with a clipboard, frowning at scuffmarks twice a year; and gardeners can devote as much time as they like to creating their own botanic wonderland, and not have to leave it behind or work out how to dig it all up and take it with them to the next place. Bliss.
It’s a plan for your future
Property isn’t just a place to live; done right, it’s an investment in your future, because it’s a big fat asset with your name on it. It is something you can point to, that you can work into your retirement plan, or any other long-term money goals you have.
It’s a privilege
Being well off enough to own property in the first place means that you already have a lot to be thankful for. And no, owning property isn’t for everyone. Not everyone wants to put so many of their financial eggs in one basket; not everyone wants to make such a big financial commitment. However, there are even more people who would love to take this plunge, but can’t.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: we all know that affordability is an issue in this country right now. It hasn’t just led to the coining of terms like “generation rent”; it has led to a rise in homelessness, with one in 200 Australians estimated to experience it on any given night.
So, if by now you still don’t feel very joyful in your status as a property owner, then at the very least homeowners can take some comfort in knowing that you have a roof over your head, and a lot would have to go wrong before it could be taken away.