As a professional who has helped a lot of people buy and sell houses, I know there are lots of reasons why people buy houses. However, sometimes we may get so caught up in the mechanics of buying a house that we lose sight of what is often the main reason we buy one.
First, as one who has rented houses and appreciates rental property, I realize that home ownership doesn’t always make sense and isn’t for everyone. There are good reasons why home ownership isn’t for everyone. For instance, some people don’t want the responsibility of maintenance or want to be tied down to one place—or have fears relating to the economy and how it will affect their finances.
And when it comes to reasons why people buy houses, there are quite a few. Maybe someone is just starting out and is a first-time buyer, while others need a bigger house because their needs have changed. Another is downsizing, maybe looking for their retirement house or desiring to move up to something more special than what they currently have. Some are looking for unique features, such as waterfront, or a golfing community, or a certain school district. Then there are vacation houses and investment properties, and the list might go on and on.
These reasons relate to factors such as, necessity, finances, change in life circumstances, tax benefits, planning for the future and even leisure and recreation.
But there’s another reason why people buy houses, and I believe it is because of who we are as people. It is because of who I am and who you are.
You have an appreciation of ownership. As a child, you owned a doll or some crayons or a bike or something else, but whatever it was, it was yours. Ownership can give us a sense of stability; we have something real and tangible. Even if it is an investment, you can still point to it and hopefully enjoy saying, “This is mine.”
You like to have independence and control at the same time. If a house belongs to you, you can change it to suit your needs, decorate how you want and when your air conditioning goes out, you can call the repair company to fix it, maybe two days before the property manager does.
You want to be happy. Who doesn’t? I’m not saying someone renting can’t be happy, but when you are out there looking for a house, you are thinking about it being a home you enjoy, with pleasant memories to create, feelings of safety, security. You anticipate driving home from work and you want it to be the place you’re looking forward to, even if there are dirty dishes in the sink and the yard needs mowing.
You are relational. Despite the fact that we can enjoy being alone, we know we are in a community with others, so we pick a neighborhood that we will enjoy—where we can develop friendships and be with other like-minded neighbors who support and are happy to look out for each other.
In the final analysis, the other reason why people buy houses goes beyond questions and concerns about market analysis, square footage, noise zones, homeowners association, age of the roof and other items, as important as all these things are. The other reason is about who we are as people, and our desire for ownership, independence, control, community and how we each define happiness.