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Buying a house instead of renting could save you £200,000

Barclays reveals how much more renters pay over their adult lifetime compared to homeowners.

 

by Victoria Bischoff on Jun 18, 2012 at 11:41

Buying a house instead of renting could save you £200,000

Renting a home costs nearly £200,000 more over a lifetime than buying one, according to new research.  

The cost of mortgage repayments, maintenance and other costs associated with buying a home worth £160,000 – the England and Wales average – comes to a total of £429,000 over 50 years, according to Barclays. Renting a similar home over the same period, on the other hand, costs £623,000 – some £194,000 more.

Initially, being a tenant is often cheaper, Barclays explained, as mortgage payments tend to be higher. There are also one-off costs to pay such as a deposit, stamp duty and solicitor fees as well as permanent costs such as maintenance and insurance.

However, after 25 years the buyer will own his home outright as the mortgage will have been repaid, while rent will inflate over time. What’s more, these figures don’t account for the potential sale value of the property bought.

The problem is that first time buyers are struggling to get a foot on the housing ladder and so cannot benefit from any savings.

Just last week a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) warned that unless the government introduces fundamental reforms more than a million young people stand to be locked out of the housing market by 2020 – with the number of homeowners under 30 expected to be down by half.

Barclays, meanwhile, added that the potential savings a homebuyer could make varies hugely across England and Wales.


House prices Year 1 Rent Lifetime cash saving from owning over renting
England & Wales £160,780 £8,361 £194,341
London £343,522 £17,520 £396,049
North West £111,264 £7,788 £300,456
Yorkshire & The Humber £118,204 £7,801 £280,125
West Midlands £130,212 £7,552 £220,671
Scotland £148,764 £8,182 £216,463
East Midlands £123,879 £7,185 £210,461
South East £206,918 £10,139 £201,835
East £173,227 £8,142 £137,270
North East £101,676 £5,084 £101,301
Wales £113,036 £4,974 £56,903
South West £170,261 £6,810 £33,863

In the South West, for example, where renting is cheap in comparison to house prices, potential savings are much lower than what a buyer in London could make.

Barclays also highlighted that its calculations depend on a great many assumptions – such as the buyer purchasing a property in his thirties, a steady 2% inflation rate and the homeowner making no further moves.

31 comments so far. Why not have your say?

S G

Jun 18, 2012 at 12:58

I remember having an arguement with someone on here last year, who said it was cheaper to rent! And I would lose out when I buy a home as the value will drop by another 25%. Going by this, The value could drop to zero and I would still be better off.

I wonder if these also take into account, that as a renter, you will probably change home every 3 to 5 years and the additional fees and moving costs!!

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Chris Clark

Jun 18, 2012 at 13:24

Misses the point if at the other end, you get caught 40% for inheritance tax, or have to sell the place to pay late life health care.

There seems to be a narrowing house size and price zone where you can be free from these threats.

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Ian Pinkard

Jun 18, 2012 at 14:04

Assuming no further moves? On average a home is owned for seven years so seven moves in a life time is seven lots of stamp duty, estate agents fees, solicitors fees, removal costs, adjusting new home to one's taste ( usually far more than you'd do with a rental ) This would put most areas of the country into the cheaper to rent category.

I'm sure Barclays would love you to believe the opposite. They'd rather you'd pay interest to them on a mortgage than rent to a private landlord.

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S G

Jun 18, 2012 at 14:21

Ian... Why would you move home? Larger house, change of job etc...

These are all reasons you would also need to move from rental properties!!

As you move to a bigger house renting you have more rent to pay.....

Unless in the south west you are saving about £100k that is a lot of stamp duty to make up the differece and solicitors fees.... Renting alone in fees cost £400 to £500, Plus you get changed when renewing your contract when you havent even moved!!!

Being able to adjust a home to ones taste is down to the individual, problem in rented you cant adjust it to your taste, you can not make it truely your own home... This is also a choice, to how much you spend!!! You are also stuck with the landlord and having to negoiate fees etc... When you own you can shop around the market place at different mortgages and switch when you like to a cheaper deal (I know it costs to move mortgages) but again as an owner you have that choice.

Yes you might pay interest, but a lot of mortgages are cheaper month on month then renting!! At least at the end of 25yrs you could have no more to pay ever again!! renting you pay till you die!! And if you want you could get some of that money back by selling!! With renting you never get that!!

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S G

Jun 18, 2012 at 14:25

Also 7 moves every 7 years, so you would move 3 to 4 times in your 25yr mortgage. When renting in ten years I had to move 5 times due to landlords wanting to sell their property or wanting to charge crazy rent, and never maintaining the property!

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Ian Pinkard

Jun 18, 2012 at 14:58

SG, I agree with you being a home owner myself. I disagree with the figures in the article which I believe are unfairly biased in favour of ownership. For many people the initial often crippling cost of home ownership can cause financial and personal disaster.

The article encourages the pursuit of what is for many an unrealistic dream that easily can become a very real nightmare. Signing a mortgage document is a far more serious undertaking than a rental contract and potentially far more damaging.

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S G

Jun 18, 2012 at 15:11

Ian, I think the article is right in showing that owning in the long run is a cheaper option.

However as you pointed out, this route is not achievable for everyone. Its the hurdles at the beginning, the deposit, the fees etc... what would be interesting is on average how long do you need to own a home for, for it become cheaper then renting. I did the maths on my own situation but it would help people realisticly manage their expectations. It seems too many people nowadays make big life decisions on hardly any facts or understanding!!

This is also one of the reasons why economy is stuck where it is now!!

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jingoistic

Jun 18, 2012 at 15:46

Dont forget when buying a house say at £150,000 you will probably end up paying £300,000 as you pay to borrow money, on top of that you have the insurance plus the upkeep, so these figures do not add up.

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S G

Jun 18, 2012 at 16:07

Jingoistic

Just some simple sums, 25yr mortage on £150,000 at 5% it will cost you £262,800. Assuming this home was brought by a 30 yr old.

If he rented and assumed lived to be 85, he would pay rent in the amount of £495,000 assuming rent of 750 a month.

Now interest rates change and so do rents! but as you can see if nothing changed there is almost £232,200 difference. So lets divide that by the 55 years gives the home owner £4221 a year for maintence etc.... for them to be the same......

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Dislexic Landlord

Jun 18, 2012 at 17:57

buying is not for every one

Ive met quite a few who wished they had never bought a house

but there again ive met quite a few who had a good experiance

its every ones own choice

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 19, 2012 at 05:41

What do you do with the money saved by renting in the first few years? Stick it under the mattress or invest it? Put it into a shares ISA with rising dividends accumulating tax free and you have options for the rest of your life.

I have lived in five parts of the country, rented a flat once and lived in six houses. The worst housing related financial experiences were the insane interest rates of the late 1980s and a solicitor who literally stole the sale proceeds of a house. Renting would have made all of that somebody else's problem and made it much easier to move to find work. The money wasted on high interest rates, theft and sorting out the resultant mess would, I estimate, have accumulated to around £300,000 in a PEP and ISA. Which is enough to buy four hovels like the one I now inhabit. My current mortgage will be paid next year.

Buying a house is for rich people with secure jobs who will never have to move, never get divorced and never have to fund children's education. Which is to say: nobody but billionaires, who can survive a few hiccups in their life plans.

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Debt-free

Jun 19, 2012 at 09:30

I'd like to know what assumptions Barclays have made in these calculations.

For example:

1. What assumptions have they made about interest rates over 25 years - I hope they haven't assumed they'll stay at anything like today's abnormal level;

2. What makes them think the mortgage will be paid off in 25 years? That used to be the norm when house prices were 3.5x average single income, but today's prices are more like 6x average earnings, and the FSA deliberately stopped short of banning longer mortgage terms.

3. Have they allowed for the fact that a renter will receive housing benefit during either any periods of unemployment or (probably) throughout retirement to cover the cost of rent?

4. Have they allowed for the opportunity cost of the capital a homebuyer is investing in his/her house (which could otherwise be invested in equities, which historically have outperformed housing....)

I'm a home owner, and appreciate the extra security of tenure that owner-occupation gives me. But I don't make any arrogant assumptions that I'll be any better off financially than if I rented throughout my life, and don't see any logical or moral reason why I should be.

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S G

Jun 19, 2012 at 09:53

@ Debt Free

Agree, it would be nice to know what they have taken into account when they do this research, to give readers an idea of how accurate or inaccurate the data is.

You could take everything into account, but then it would not be a like for like comparison. The article does not state which one is more risky, as I would agree buying is a lot riskier then renting. The article is showing that, if your gamble completely pays off as a home owner you will be quids in. What it also shows if the numbers are correct there is breathing room to take into account the minor mishaps in life. The big mishaps are going to affect you where ever you live. Then add in edditional money you could get if you sell your house, looking at the top row that is 160K plus 192k actually means you are £352k better off. Now after 25yrs the chances that your home would be worth less then you brought it is nonesence.

So what it comes down to is risk and the gamble and its not right forever one, however their are millions of familys here in the uk, that have won that gamble which will be a lot more then the ones who have lost........

The problem is no matter what you earn you spend it!, If you are on £15k a year it will all go, when you get to £35k you look back and think how did I live on 15, as you spend the whole 35k. Maybe not all in one month, but you put it into savings, why??? To spend it later!!

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Dislexic Landlord

Jun 19, 2012 at 10:11

The comments on this blog are indeed intresting

I would imagin 10 years ago or so nearly everyone would say buying would be best

how times have changed and its not just in the UK Spain Cyprus views on buying have changed a lot and if you look at the spanish situation as of 2012

the person who moved from the uk to live in spain would have been better off renting

I know my views on buying a large home have changed a lot I live in a modest Bungalow

I have thought of buying a large house with land as my grand children love horses but I came to the concludion that I would rent which is suppriseing

Ive been buying BTL property sinncethe crash as yeilds were good and in a word its made money

But as Ive just said If i did want to move to a large house in the country I would rent

when you own a large house its a big mouth to feed for repairs and the repairs have to come out of taxed income

It just dosent add up for me personaly to buy and im a Landlord LOL

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S G

Jun 19, 2012 at 10:28

@ Dislexic

I agree with your reasoning around buying a larger house, there is a scary amount of people who seem to borrow top wack to get the biggest house they can afford, without actually thinking how they will pay for maintance and repair!!

As for abroad, again it amazes me, as an expact kid originally, I moved a lot with my parents, and I understood from a very early age, there is a difference in holidaying somewhere and living! It seems so many people move because they had a nice holiday, before understanding the economy. I thought it was crazy everyone buying in Dubai, when I last read an update, Dubai had not actually changed the law on non nationals buying! I would never buy somewhere where the law was not on my side at all.....

Spain is interesting, as again there was so many dodgy deals, and buidlings being brought on already allocated space. I have a family friend who brought a posh appartment worht £500k, in marbella, why?? God knows as I dont rate the area at all. However her husband pasted away, and she is stuck with the appartment, she cant move or sell as it is not worth anything as the building was illigally built and the tennets are currently fighting for it not to be demolished. It they lose, they will not get anything back from their purchase....

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 19, 2012 at 21:15

Anyone who wants their research taken seriously publishes their methodology, their sources and their data. Any research published without such is likely to have the filthy fingerprints of the marketing department all over it. Wait for the sales pitch. Followed by the mis-selling scandal and the calls for tighter regulation.

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Victoria Bischoff (Citywire)

Jun 20, 2012 at 09:04

Hi guys - I did include a link to Barclays' methodology but it doesn't seem to be working.

Try this - http://www.newsroom.barclays.com/Press-releases/Buying-beats-renting-by-almost-200-000-over-lifetime-8f6.aspx

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 20, 2012 at 13:04

Thanks for the link Victoria.

They are selling something - a joint parent / child mortgage.

Most of the figures make sense but not all.

The return of investment on the notional deposit of the renter is set at 3.25 per cent in a taxable account. Anyone sane would at the least move the money into a cash ISA and, if sane and having even half a brain, would invest in equities. There are seven companies in the FTSE 100 paying out six per cent or higher. Four are forecast to pay over 9 per cent by 2015. Judicious selection would pick from the whole market a mix of income and growth shares to obtain capital gains. Investing well takes some time and effort but so does owning and maintaining a house.

Almost no one today stays in the same house all their life. Marriage, divorce, children, jobs, aged parents to look after... There is a high probability of having to move more than once.

In this age of unstable employment you might have to move several times within a couple of years. Many graduate trainee jobs deliberately rotate potential managers not just around this country, usually in six month chunks, but often overseas.

Sooner or later you will have to move at an inconvenient time when prices have moved the wrong way, when mortgages are hard to find, deposits are huge and interest rates are prohibitive.

The chances of mortgage interest rates never rising above 4.4 per cent are next to nil in a fifty year period.

The chances of never being made redundant and never becoming long term sick are low. True you can insure against these possibilities and Barclays will doubtless sell you the insurance. The insurance adds to the cost of purchase by a considerable amount and once used would become prohibitively expensive. Both redundancy and long term sickness tend to hit the same person more than once.

So: many of the assumptions of the survey are debatable and it omits several serious potential drawbacks. Having said which, they are to be commended for having published their methodology which allows potential customers to reach their own conclusions.

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S G

Jun 20, 2012 at 14:26

Jeremy,

Just a couple of questions on your comment. Yes people are going to move, but as a renter that is going to be a lot higher, as you do not get long term rents. Also if your job changes you still have to move, so would these just cancel each other out.

Wouldnt your Insurance arguement be valid in both cases. Being in either you own home or renting, you will still need insurance incase of redundancy/sick etc. Espically if you have a family. The added bonus, if you become redundant/sick after say 15 years, as a home owner would you not have a reasonable size of equity in your house which you could call upon, as a renter you will have nothing??

I myself take the report as, if your lifestyle/living fits into the average band, and half the population is above the average, then it is best to buy. However if you are below average, you are better off renting.

The issue is how can you educate people, so they know where they fit, and what is the best possible action for them to follow? As many as pointed out in many posts many do not see this and live outside their means.....

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 20, 2012 at 22:26

SG

My point is that insurance against sickness and redundancy is expensive and not there when you most need it - on your second or third redundancy or your second or third bout of long term illness. It is better to self insure by saving in an equities ISA.

Renters can and should put the money that would otherwise form the deposit on a house into an equity ISA. This will grow by compound interest from re-invested dividends. They should top it up whenever possible as a superior alternative to a pension scheme.

Saving in an equities ISA is likely to be more profitable in the long run than saving via buying a house. It also stays still wherever you move so you don't have to sell all your shares and buy them back with all the associated costs. Which is effectively what happens when you move house.

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S G

Jun 21, 2012 at 09:13

Jeremy,

Can see your thought process, however I will raise you this... :-)

At present and what has been the case for many years, Mortgage repayments have been similar or lower then renting. I know people on Trackers that are currently paying £200 for their mortgage. Now I am not saying that will always be the case.

There are a lot or BTL rentals out their, which came along during the boom, and the mortgages on them are set at the low rates of interest. When interest rises, the landlord is going to have to charge more rent to cover costs, so for a a while the difference in mortgage and rents are going to be fairly similar.

So if you are paying the same, that means that your spare income will be the same, so even the house owner could save in similar products. So the option of saving etc can be done by both parties. So the saving angle cancels its self out.... You did mention using deposit to put into savings? So the only difference is the renter could have 10 to 15k etc in savings from the start, but the monthly top ups will be the same. This difference could easily then be made up by the homeowner once the mortgage is repaid, they could put what they where spending in mortgages into savings..

The larger the deposit invested is also off set as this would be more against the mortgage, relating to either a shorter mortgage term or smaller amounts, so again, in the end the difference would be that different.

Now insurance is another matter, as you would both be paying the same.

Their are plenty of products out there some are really good, some are worth nothing....

However putting it in an ISA a really bad idea idea. £50 a month policy will cover you for 150 to 200k. How long would it take to save this amount in a ISA??

If it happens in year 1 to 5, your savings would be minimal. £50 a month for 5 years in ISA would be 3000 plus any interest.

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 21, 2012 at 12:01

SG

The way compounding works is that it is very sensitive to the initial capital. £15,000 in an equity ISA compounding at seven per cent doubles every ten years. So, if you take your Barclays period of fifty years and never add a penny in new money, you still end up with £480,000, Which the house buyer will never have unless he sells his house. If both the renter and the house buyer save £50 per month for fifty years, dividends at seven per cent paid twice a year they each have an additional £517,000. Supposing the house buyer pays off the mortgage after 30 years then saves another £50 a month he will have an extra £50,000. So it works paying off the mortgage makes little difference because the starting capital and the length of time it compounds is more important.

Of course the house buyer might decide to raise his investment to the full amount of the former mortgage payment which would improve the performance. The renter would also have been saving more than £50 a month after a few years and would have been doing it for longer. I would back the far sighted renter as being more resilient to shocks, exposed to fewer risks and capable of improving his investment performance by devoting the time wasted on painting, decorating and DIY to learning to be a better investor.

The point is that both scenarios are very sensitive to early years performance. A recession that halves the value of a house will take decades to recover the starting price. Remember that if an asset falls fifty per cent it has to rise 100 per cent to get back to the starting point.

A recession bad enough to halve the price of shares will also cut some dividends but not all. So reinvesting the dividends will continue the compounding effect even while markets are falling. Equities give the renter more options, he can go liquid and wait in cash until recovery begins to reinvest - which imposes transaction costs of around ten per cent. Or he can sell some of the shares most likely to fall furthest - high beta in the jargon - and buy downside insurance via covered warrants, reverse ETFs, traded option puts etcetera.

Given my time again, I would prefer flexibility and the chance to learn and improve my performance.

Of course some house buyers spend their lives buying in what they hope are improving areas, doing up their house and selling for more money than they put in. Which negates the advantages of buying a house and staying still. It is also an exercise in judgement and learning skills plus sweat equity. If it goes badly wrong - the area goes down or a recession leaves the owner in negative equity - he is stuck. It is also something best done by a couple. Single people are very unlikely to have the time or the money. Renters have no such limitations on learning investment skills.

As you say, personal circumstance and personality affect decision making.

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S G

Jun 21, 2012 at 13:26

Jeremy,

Wouldnt you be very lucky to get 7%, when currently you are looking at around 3 to 4%. I dont think you would get the level of investment return you are calculating, even now looking at ISA, Bonds and savings over the past 10 years the amount of interest earn is not a lot...

With regards to DIY risks etc, This is completely cancelled out by the chances that each year, as a renter you could be forced to move, without any changes to your situation, but the landlords circumstances could change as well as rent changes. Also DIY is very easy for some people, others have friends in the trade industry, where others will be good at investing. In my opinon a lot these things cancel each other out near enough. With regards to Home Improvements, this is a choice, a choice that a renter does not have.

It would be interesting, if they could do some research around some case studies with an average. Eg the average homeowner moves x amount of times, as they move up the lader etc. Renters move x because of having to change property as well as moving up the lader in property size, and take into account, the average cost of home improvements. What these improvements do to the value of the property. A timeline showing the various stages of the life cycle...

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 21, 2012 at 17:21

SG

I keep using the word equity meaning shares. You keep talking about ISAs as though the only kind was fixed interest.

In the FTSE 100 alone, Resolution pays 9.75% dividend, expected to rise to 15%% by 2014, with the prospect of capital gains. Old Mutual paid 3.6% in 2011 but is expected to more than double by 2013. RSA Insurance paid 8.6% in 2011 and is expected to rise slightly by 2014. Aviva is expected to fall from 9.32% to 8.73%. If you don't like the concentration in Life Insurance you can go for Vodafone, Astra Zeneca, BAE Systems, Admiral Group, National Grid, ICAP and SSE all of which are expected to yield over 6% by 2014.

Moving outside the FTSE 100 there are huge numbers of high yielding shares and plenty of growth stocks. If you don't like ordinary shares, you can buy corporate bonds, preference shares or PIBS. Which generally pay a lower return but with notionally less risk. It is still perfectly possible to get well over six per cent for the foreseeable future.

You might have a point about being forced to move in rented property. It sounds, from what you are saying, as though landlords like to waste money forcing good tenants to move and then advertising for new tenants every few months. Or am I missing something? It is forty years since I last lived in rented property.

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S G

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:11

Jeremy

Not really into investments hence the query. But can see what you mean about investments. But if it is that easy why is everyone not doing it? Also isnt their a risk with these investments?

Going on to your last point, as a recent renter for a period of 10 years, I moved about 4 times. My sister moved 7 in the same period. This was due to Landlords either deciding to sell, putting the rent up to much year on year as they were being greedy, only to see the property to go empty for months before the price being lowered back down again. Lanlords not maintaining property/being very slow to sort out problems. Estate agents not doing their job.

Estate agents lying... The list goes on.

Each time you move, you have to raise a deposit for the next place, fight to get your old one back, pay high fees, 120 for credit checks which cost nothing near this (Still dont believe they actually check) Contract fees, check in fees, check out fees. If you renew, you pay £100 just for them to reprint the contract. It would be great if you could take long term contract, but most letting agencies, only do 6mths first of then its yearly. You have to fight tooth and nail to get any longer. The thing is the fees vary so much from agent to agent. If you want to paint, you sometimes get charged extra deposit incase you dont paint it back when you leave. Know a friend this happened to, they never repainted lost part of the deposit, someone moved into the same place a couple years later and the wall was still the same colour..... Better regulation is needed espically with estate agents, as a lot of the time its the middle man!!

However sometimes you are lucky and you get a good agent and landlord and things are fine. Problem is their is no real way to know before you sign up......

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Dislexic Landlord

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:37

FAO SG

I run a large BTL bussiness and your last comment how do you now a good landlord

Ive thought about this problem and I get around it buy alowing a customer to talk to customers I already have If you see my point

Tenants are customers and should be treated as such i

In any bussiness the customer is King so why would any bussiness person want to spoil a good customer relationship beats the hell out of me

I treat good customers with great respect after its the customer who makes my bussiness what it is today

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S G

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:56

@ Dislexic,

Totally agree and it is beyond me why some do this. My last landlord was great after the first year, we ditched the agency middle man as they where terrible. The landlord and I got on well, he kept the rent low, as he knew I looked after the property and did a lot of the repairs myself. Only because fitting around plumber etc can be a pain and I like DIY. No issues with rent payments so we where both in a win win situation.

The Estate Agencies, are the problem. Heres a recent story, My sister passed a house with a for rent sign outside, that belonged to her friends mother. She contacted the Mum, and she said, the current occupier was moving out 4mnths into a 6mnth contract, and told her to call the estate agent and say she would like to move to cover the last two months, after that my sister could rent privately from her. So my sister did this. The estate agent did not know the landlord and my sister knew each other, and was lying to both of them. The agent told my sister, she spoke to the landlord and she wanted her to have a new 6month lease, but would not offer any longer. My sister called the mum, and the agent had never called her to discuss. The lies went back and forth for about a week, until my sister told the agent she knew the landlord..... lets say the agent was a little red faced.

So yes there are some bad landlords out, there are some that do not have any business sense what so ever. Then there are letting agencies which make even the good landlords look bad,.....

On the other side, you have bad tennents, who burn the good agents and landlords....

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 22, 2012 at 13:15

SG and Dyslexic

I understand both your points. The cash at risk is less with renting. After having the sale proceeds of a house stolen by a solicitor which took two years to recover with no interest and no compensation for the bridging loan and the huge debts I ran up because of it, I would prefer to minimise the individual risk.

On the point of the risks in shares: of course there are risks. I understand them and cope by careful research and diversification. I watch my shares and the markets in general. I get rid of duds and always have a list of potential replacements.

Why doesn't everyone do it? Education and environment. Teachers know little and are allowed to teach less because of the National Curriculum. My mother owned a very few shares and taught me to read and think with the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and company reports. She asked my opinion and made me defend my views while still in primary school. Much like I do on Citywire :-) I became hooked on the romance of trade and industry at an early age. Early TV programmes on industrial archaeology, geography lessons on what each region and country produced and made, stories of inventions... ...all of that fascinated me. So I suppose that a lot is down to personality and curiosity. I was regularly excluded from general knowledge quizzes because my team always won.

John Masefield's poem "Cargoes".

http://allpoetry.com/poem/8495911-Cargoes-by-John_Masefield

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Jeremy Bosk

Jun 22, 2012 at 13:32

Just remembered other things that piqued my interest in trade and industry. My mother's grandfather was a ship's captain sailing to Bolivia in the days it had a sea coast. My father's father was a cabin boy who sailed up the Amazon to collect wild rubber from Manaos, sailed to New York when Broadway had the wooden side-walks you see in cowboy films, and to Odessa in a winter so bitter that the cargo of Ukrainian wheat was brought out to the ship by horse drawn sleighs over the frozen sea. His brother emigrated to Chile to manage a shipping business.

How can anyone not be interested in the companies that organise all this activity? How can anyone not want to be a part of it, to own a share?

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kathleen wood

Sep 24, 2012 at 13:00

Jeremy ... you are so right with regarding to taking the macro rather than the micro view on the investing universe! What a fabulous eclectic mix of relatives!

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Jeremy Bosk

Sep 25, 2012 at 13:01

Kathleen

My mother was a good story teller. I watched "Who Do You Think You are?" on iPlayer last night. Alex Kingston was somewhat surprised to find a great grandmother who was a Victorian brothel keeper. I think many people have an extraordinary family history but are unaware.

As for the macro view, I have a brain that sees connections and traces cause and effect. Curiosity, I suppose.

I put it down to having been an early reader and the good luck to fall out with all the other local kids at the start of a summer holiday when I was about seven. There were a couple of dozen classics at home, my mother signed me up at the local library, one of the neighbours was keen on history and astronomy... I had read most of what I was supposed to learn in junior school and some of what came later in grammar school before the teachers could succeed in killing off my interest and curiosity.

They tried really hard. In first year juniors we read David Copperfield one child, one paragraph at a time. I understand now that it was how the teacher gauged individual reading skills in a class of 41. At the time I regarded it as pure torture, listening to other children stumble over words and utterly fail to shape phrases or invest the wonderful language with emotional meaning.

I fail to understand why the school syllabus is usually both boring and very badly taught. It need not be.

What I am really saying is that you don't need finance lessons in school to become aware of investing. Although they would help if done well and integrated with other subjects. What you do need is imagination and curiosity. With those two essentials the facts needed for everything else assemble themselves into meaning. Maths and the sciences can be as interesting as the arts.

I seriously wish that I had become acquainted with philosophy, including ethics, rhetoric and formal logic at a much earlier age. They allow people to take part in adult political discourse without resorting to the yah, boo of Prime Minister's Question Time or the "Yes it is. No it isn't" of the school playground.

We have come a long way from renting versus buying, so apologies to those who dislike discursions :-) I think we mined the formal topic dry a while ago.

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Q&A: what next for the Co-op?

by Michelle McGagh on Apr 17, 2014 at 18:56

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