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Is Home Ownership for Suckers?… Maybe.

November 5, 2010
Should You Surrender to the New Rentership Society?

This month’s Wired Magazine has an interesting article in it regarding Abandoning Ownership.  That is ownership of all kinds of things (cars, houses, books, etc.).  The author (Chris Suellentrop) begins the article by talking about how renters have traditionally been looked down upon.  He goes on to insinuate that home ownership is for suckers and that we are heading toward some kind of brave new world, a Rentership Utopia if you will.

Philosophically, I think Suellentrop is replacing one false paradigm with another but he does have a point when it comes to overblowing the virtues of home ownership. 

For years it has been shoved down our throats that by becoming a home owner we are fulfilling the American Dream.  It is a symbol of autonomy.  It is a historical symbol of freedom (40 acres and a mule).  We are confronted with it in our movies (“You ain’t no kind of man if you ain’t got land.” – Delmar O’ Donnell in Oh Brother Where Art Thou).  It is everywhere.  If you want to be someone you need to own property.

The Foreclosure Crisis has gone a long way in proving that home ownership isn’t necessarily the best course for everybody. As Suellentrop mentions in his article, we were closing in on 70% of the nation becoming homeowners. That percentage of homeowners throws the real estate world out of proportion. The fact of the matter is that the market needs renters. There is no shame in renting, whether by choice or necessity. The important thing is determining what is most important to you and moving in toward a housing decision fits you.

Check out the article for Suellentrop’s reasons for Abandoning Ownership and let Ted know what you think.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Judy Abolafya permalink
    November 8, 2010 2:29 pm

    Doesn’t speak much to the idea of legacy. If you rent your home and most everything else, how then do you be hospitable by loaning out your lawnmower? Or leaving your china to your daughter? Or having your grandkids over to the house your kids grew up in?

  2. November 8, 2010 3:05 pm

    Hey Judy,

    Yeah, I left this article thinking that the author had a limited perspective being a Manhattan-ite. I also felt like he was being somewhat cheeky. That being said, I think there is a lot of merit in his argument for a lot of people out there. Lots of folks hold legacy as a high priority while others are running from it as fast as they can.

    When it comes down to renting vs. owning people have to work those issues out for themselves and determine not only what’s important to them right now but try to look into the future and try to imagine how they might feel in 10 years.

    By the way, I obviously don’t think home ownership is for suckers. If I did I’d be in a world of hurt professionally! ( :


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