Should You Stay on Rent or Take A home Loan?

Should You Stay on Rent or Take A home Loan?

Should You Stay on Rent or Take A home Loan?
(Sandeep Bhatnagar)

Shekar had just shifted to Pune and met his long lost friend Manish at the local café. While discussing their personal life, Shekar asked Manish about his home rent. Manish said he was paying Rs 16,500 per month for a 2BHK flat just on the edge of the city. Shekar, who had come from a smaller town, was shocked to hear about the rent amount. He thought why not pay the same amount in paying off the loan after buying a home. This got Manish thinking.


The “INTEREST”ing part

His father advised Manish that he personally had not taken a home- loan in lieu of staying on rent, as he could not digest giving his hard-earned money to a financial institution as interest. Manish countered this by saying that he was instead giving his hard-earned money to his landlord. To this, his father replied “true, but I have also simultaneously saved more money by staying on rent in a smaller house and will use that cash to buy a house outright.” On buying a house worth Rs 30 lakh, I would end up paying Rs 28 lakh as interest to the bank over a period of 15 years (even at a low interest rate of 10 per cent an annum), why should I do that? Manish now had one reason to rethink his idea.

What if you get posted to another city?

When he asked his colleague Angel the same question, she asked him what his career aspirations were. He said he wanted to be the country manager of his company in the next few years. Angel said that his aspirations itself were an answer to his question. If he got posted out of the city, he will have to take a new house on rent in the new place and also pay the EMI for the old house. Although he could save some part of his EMI by renting out his “own” house, it was very rare that he would get the same or higher amount as rent. The risk of defacement, poor maintenance, irregular rent payments etc too was there to think of. Manish now had a second reason to rethink.

What happens when your family grows?

Manish asked his wife the same question. She replied saying that they were now only three members in the family, Manish, his wife and their two-year old son). But they were planning to have another baby. With four of them and regular visitors, they would need a 3- 4 BHK house. But, if he takes a 2BHK home on loan, he would be stuck with it for at least 15 years. With a rented home, he could always move to a bigger house when needed.

It does not always end at the same rental amount

Manish decided to ask someone who had done the same thing (shifting rent to EMI). He spoke to Ajay, his boss. Ajay said that when he was on rent he used to pay Rs 1,2000 a month. But when he took a house he took it on an EMI of Rs 22,000 a month, as the houses available at Rs 12,000 EMI were small and his wife kept saying that “it's a onetime investment so let's go for the biggest house possible.”. This thought made them buy a house with a loan EMI that was almost twice the rent. From that day on, Ajay had to be very frugal with his life style.

What if you lose your job/get a salary cut due to recession

Manish still thought he needed a strong reason. He went to his financial planner and told him all the reasons given by his advisors. His planner added to the list asking “what if you lost your source of income? How would you repay your loan?” Manish countered saying why should he worry about things like extra rooms, losing income or being posted out of town, as he could always sell his “asset” – the house. To this, his planner replied that Manish would have to understand that the house would not be his until the end of the last EMI and hence it was a myth to think of it as an asset.

Also, if he had to sell the house in urgency, he would not get a good rate. His asset appreciation would be comparatively lesser, as his principal would have reduced by minimal amounts in the first five-six years. To this he would have to add the broker charges, registration fees, pre-closure charges, etc, thus gaining very less for all the trouble.

Manish now had second thoughts of replacing his rent with a home loan EMI. Rather, he decided to move to a cheaper rental home and invest the surplus in a “buy a house on a high down-payment fund” to raise at least 50 per cent of the loan amount before going for a house.

Last Updated: Sat Jun 18 2016

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