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Should you buy a home or be a forever renter? That’s the question – Editor’s letter

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Mine is one of those tragic property stories. Bought young, sold at the wrong time, didn’t reinvest the proceeds immediately, the market changed and I couldn’t get back in to buy again.

Decided to rent for a short time in a new city. The rental property turned out to be my home for 17 years. It is almost a story written as a warning for youngsters who choose not to invest in property.

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Or for someone who decides to buy but sits too long on the fence trying to find the perfect home in the perfect area with the wrong budget; trying to tick all the boxes.

Some things that have held me back: waiting for the market to turn; wanting to live in a particular area which is way out of my budget; being spoilt by the location and size of my rented apartment; finding it difficult to get a home loan as I was working for myself for 15 years; unable to gather money for a deposit… and so the story goes on.

I think if I could go back to my younger self perhaps I’d say to her: don’t sell your apartment – use it to build wealth. Or if I met her after she had sold it I would have said: get straight back into the market now – don’t even wait a moment.

Would have, could have, should have. So while I am still looking for that “forever home”, I am also finally okay with the idea that I may very well end up being a “forever renter”.

It would have been comforting to have known that by my older years I would have a piece of property that was my own and the freedom that would give me; that I’d have a roof over my head and not be at the mercy of a landlord.

But renting also has its pros and there is a sort of a freedom in it too. Experts say there is no time like the present to buy. So yes, if you’re looking and have a budget, go for it. Property has mostly proven to be a good investment as our main story this week – which tracks property values over the past decade – shows.

By the same token, perhaps if I bumped into my younger self I’d tell her not to spend so long bemoaning what she feels was a bad decision. Because whether you buy, rent, live in a camper van, share a home, get a mortgage with a friend, move back with your folks, move in with your kids – it’s all okay.

Of course, had this Property360 magazine been in existence in my youth with all its valuable and helpful weekly advice and tips, maybe things would have (could have, should have) been different … Happy reading everyone.

Have a great weekend

Warm regards

Vivian Warby

vivian.warby@inl.co.za

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