Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Why We Love Investing in Houses

Over the last couple of years I have had chats with my fellow friends and family about their future plans. There is one thing that I have come to discover, regardless of what point in their life they are at whether student, job seeker, or employed the majority aspire to be entrepreneurs one day. When I decided to probe further about what sort of investments they would make I can safely say that over 90% of them stated “To buy houses and put them on rent.” Now this default response has somehow always baffled me. How is it that over 90% of young people have the same investment plans for the future?
                I have often pondered how this almost universal investment plan came to be. Is purchasing a house the right investment plan? Is buying houses for investment in our syllabus and I just missed that class? Or can we blame it on the enticing sky rocketing rental prices? I have done by own research even though I should admit it is not scientific and I have come up with certain theories to explain this phenomenon among us.
                The one logical theory that seems to stick out plainly in all this chain of thought is that we are LAZY. We are a lazy bunch that fails to think of innovative business ideas, write a business plan, jump into the deep end and take the risk and lazy to break sweat or a nail. The reason we want to buy houses in Kabulonga, Roma, Ibex Hill and all the suburbs so we can put on rent is because collecting rent is very easy. All you have to do is wait for the month end and expect the cash to hit your account. There is nothing easier than that except for a few tenants who do not seem to obey this simple rule. This laziness has crippled the brilliant minds that fail to see beyond putting houses on rent as a way to earn a living. Why can’t we think of developing software to rival Windows 7, a gadget to surpass the iPad, the next Subway or a hospital with the luxury of Sun Hotel? Perhaps such ideas require someone to actually sit down and think, I guess that is too much work for most of us.
                The Me-Too Syndrome is really killing us. We are becoming carbon-copies of the next person. Simply because you saw an Altezza on the road you also want one, just because your neighbour is selling chickens you also want to do the same, if your cousin goes to South Africa to buy clothes you are also going to hop onto a bus to do the same. This Me-Too syndrome has also sadly sipped into the investment plans of our generation. Just because we heard from someone somewhere that they are making money by renting out their houses so we figured there is enough space to jump onto that band wagon. Whenever, I attempt to state that buying houses and putting them on rent may not be the best investment plan the responses I get only cement this theory. Many of the responses I receive go something like this, “My uncle/aunt has houses in Kabulonga, Chudleigh, and Olympia. Each tenant pays K3, 000, 000. That is K9, 000, 000 per month by 12 months you calculate. There is no better investment than that boi.” It is at this point that I realise I am dealing with someone who has the Me-Too Syndrome.  Maybe we simply just too afraid to take any risks.
                My final theory is that we fail to do our ground work. We are unable to do the research to get our facts right and to substantiate what we are told. As long as it sounds good to be true, that is exactly what we are going to believe. We need to get to a point where we are asking enough whats, whys, whens, wheres and hows in order to get concrete evidence about the things were hear. This is because even if many of us state that my uncle, aunt or whatever the relation is making money from renting out houses that is only half the truth. If we are to take a step back and look closer we shall see that they do not just rent out houses and sit on the beach in this case the lake sipping champagne. They probably have other businesses going for them. It might be a school, restaurant, construction company, salon or guest houses, in simple language they are doing something else. This means that we need to see both sides of the ball before we can come up with any conclusion that we hold dear like principles not to be broken.
                By and large, the theories I have come up with are of my own thinking. You may not agree with them or like those with the Me-Too Syndrome we simply say, “I concur” without stating exactly why. For those that may wish to rubbish my theories. Do not just dispute them for the sake of disputing, bring up your theories and let’s see if you actually sat down to think or like many young people it was too much sweat than you could sacrifice.

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