The Psychology of Home Ownership - Jay Moss

Purchasing real estate can prove to be an emotional roller coaster. Buying a home is not a regular, everyday transaction — its price tag is probably higher than anything you have previously purchased. The finances and emotions together can create a big scary cocktail of stress. Furthermore, buying or renting — what we expect out of home design has changed due to the pandemic.

Today we are in conversation with Jay Moss- a highly experienced homebuilding executive, who is going to unravel the fear of buying and psychology of renting — the latest trend in the real estate industry.

Jay, you mentioned that there is a need to unpack and leverage the generational psychology behind renting versus buying to secure/maintain success in both. This might be linked to what some people refer to as the “Fear of Buying: The Psychology of Renting.” Further, regardless of whether one rents or buys — the basic necessities a home should provide have been altered by the pandemic.

Can you share your take on this?

Home Features in 2020

“As we stay home and shelter, the rooms we once spent a few hours in, have now encapsulated our existence. Regardless of whether one is buying or renting, the pandemic has introduced the necessity of various new home features. Since parents and children alike are working and schooling from home, work stations and home offices have become extremely relevant. Further, the pandemic has offered a lot more time at home with family members, and hence homes need to satisfy a new set of requirements. We’ve overhauled our living spaces for work, rest, and play.

“Home designs have been revamped — homes are smarter and as homebuilders, we have adopted new thought patterns. People are doing way more in their homes now than they ever did — work, sleep, entertain. New and updated home designs are aimed to be aesthetically pleasing and functional. Things like ‘package drop off doors’ have become popular as well. The pandemic has made online shopping our method of purchasing — from groceries to clothes to electronics. The most obvious and stark addition has been that of home offices. These offices are often used by numerous family members (work from home parents, online school students, etc.). All the mentioned requirements apply to renters and buyers — families desire well-designed indoor and outdoor spaces. Self-sufficient home designs are becoming commonplace. Elements like sunrooms or spaces for urban farming are becoming popular to make up for outdoor spaces.

“Whether homes are for sale or up for rent, homebuilders are required to put a lot more thought into building and designing. Things like — adapt designs to how family dynamics have changed, as well as altered design needs and requirements, and so on. The new needs of the family need to be answered. Another aspect of this is paying attention to the environment the home is in. ‘Healthy homes’ have gained popularity due to a global focus on good health and immunity.

“In the past, the American dream has always been homeownership. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, homeownership was the thought on everyone’s mind. Getting married, buying a home, and raising a family in it was the norm. Today, things are different. The world transitioning to remote everything has allowed extreme mobility. People may now choose to rent as it allows flexibility.”

A Changed American Dream

“Today, society is a lot more fluid. People like moving around. Further, the last recession brought to light certain shortcomings of homeownership. The assumption was that you buy a home and it never goes down in value. Well…people found that when you buy a home, it can go down in value, and you can lose it. This phenomenon is very much on the mind of millennials, who saw their parents go through it in 2008. For this new generation, the American dream has changed. The dream is no longer homeownership. Instead, it is having a secure place for their family to live (aka a rented house).

The Psychology of Home Ownership

“The psychology of homeownership has changed in a lot of ways. There are still people who want to own a home, that too is evident in the marketplace. But there is an equal number of people who don’t want to buy but desire a similar lifestyle. So, both these classes- the buyers versus the renters, are demographically not different at all.

“The ‘craze’ behind homeownership was the pride attached to living in an owned home. A home that looks good, is well maintained, has amenities, a park, schools nearby, etc. — all that was a part of the package.”

The Fear Factor

“To answer your question about the ‘fear factor’ — I think it is a very personal, individual choice which determines if one is going to rent or buy. Renting allows higher flexibility to see if the family likes the area before truly committing. This is like test driving the automobile, or should I say test driving the community. Leasing a house for a year or two eliminates that fear because as a buyer you can be more sure.”

Thank you for sharing, Jay.

Insights from Leaders is a platform where people with a vision can share their ideas and insights.