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A common problem faced in modern society is the question of buying a house vs. renting a house. My questions are:

  • Do Hindu scriptures recommend one to buy and live in their own house instead of renting one, or vice versa? If so, what reasons do they give?

  • Does Hindu scripture discuss whether the house one buys should be a new one or an old construction?

See related meta question.

  • Vastu Sastra gives suggestions to both buying and renting. So, i guess both are accepted. – The Destroyer Dec 14 '16 at 13:45
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    I edited your question so that it's a simple factual question on what Hindu scripture says or does not say on this subject, rather than going into economic reasons why people might be inclined towards one or the other. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 15 '16 at 0:17
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Ok. No issues. But I think we should keep the reference to meta, because people will wonder how is this related to Hinduism. Then I don't have to explain it here. – sv. Dec 15 '16 at 0:21
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    @Rickross I don't know much about Vastu Sastra. But from personal experience (through consulting Vastu experts), i know some rules to be followed. But they don't distinguish buying and renting. – The Destroyer Dec 16 '16 at 9:46
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    Unrelated to your question, but felt like sharing - In Bhagavatam, it says each human lives in a city with nine gates (or a house with 9 doors). Even our very human body is rented since there are 3 runas/debts to be repaid, and we can vacate it voluntarily or involuntarily. If we leave the house without repaying debts, then we wont get new house, similarly, we wont get new body until we're punished for defaulting loan. So, whether we're renting or buying, it is important to pay the rent correctly or repay the loan amount after buying :) – ram Apr 22 '17 at 15:14
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No, Hindu scripture does not discuss whether buying or renting a house is superior. But it does recognize both of those as legitimate activities. Here's what this section of the Brihaspati Smriti about acquiring immovable property:

Immovable property may be acquired in seven different ways, viz. by learning, by purchase, by mortgaging, by valour, with a wife (as her dowry), by inheritance (from an ancestor), and by succession to the property of a kinsman who has no issue.

And here is what this section of the Narada Smriti says about renting:

If a man has built a house on the ground of a stranger and lives in it, paying rent for it, he may take with him, when he leaves the house, the thatch, the timber, the bricks, and other (building materials). * But if he has been residing on the ground of a stranger, without paying rent and against that man's wish, he shall by no means take with him, on leaving it, the thatch and the timber.

Which sounds strange to me, but I suppose houses were more primitive then.

But concerning "Does Hindu scripture discuss whether the house one buys should be a new one or an old construction?", here is what the sage Bodhya tells Yayati in this section of the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata:

I conduct myself according to the instructions of others but never instruct others myself. I shall, however, mention the indications of those instructions (according to which my conduct is framed). Thou mayst catch their spirit by reflection. My six preceptors are Pingala, the osprey, the snake, the bee in the forest, the maker of shafts (in the story), and the maiden (in the story)! ... Hope is very powerful (in agitating the heart), O King! Freedom from hope is high felicity. Reducing hope to an absence of expectation, Pingala sleeps in peace. Beholding an osprey with meat in his beaks, others, that have not found any meat, assail and destroy him. A certain osprey, by altogether abstaining from meat obtained felicity. To build a house for one's own self is productive of sorrow and not of happiness. The snake, taking up his residence in another creature's abode, lives in felicity. The ascetics live happily, betaking themselves to mendicancy, without being injured by any creature, like bees in the forest. A certain maker of shafts, while employed at his work, was so deeply attentive to it that he did not notice the king who passed by his side. When many are together, dispute ensues. Even when two reside together, they are sure to converse. I, however, wander alone like the anklet made of sea-shells in the wrist of the maiden in the story.'"

On a side note, this list of Gurus overlaps with the the list of Dattatreya's gurus whom I discuss here. That list was narrated by Dattatreya to the king Yadu, whereas this list was narrated by Bodhya to Yadu's father Yayati.

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"Do Hindu scriptures recommend one to buy and live in their own house instead of renting one, or vice versa? If so, what reasons do they give? Does Hindu scripture discuss whether the house one buys should be a new one or an old construction?"

Anything of them.
If one's orientation is towards liberation from the material world, then whatever comes on the way, should be accepted by an illuminated person. Because ultimately whatever is done in the material world (all loka-s / planes) doesn't matter.

Not limited to home, but the one who doesn't show concern about any such matter -- is considered knowledgeable.

BG 13.8-12 - Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, for-bearance, sincerity, service of the teacher, cleanliness, steadiness, control of body and organs; Non-attachment with regard to objects of the senses, and also absence of egotism; seeing the evil in birth, death, old age, diseases and miseries; Non-attachment and absence of fondness with regard to children, wives, homes, etc., and constant equanimity of the mind with regard to the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable; And unwavering devotion to 'Me' with single minded concentration; inclination to repair into a clean place; lack of delight in a crowd of people; Steadfastness in the knowledge of the Self, contemplation on the Goal of the knowledge of Reality --- these are spoken of as Knowledge. Ignorance is that which is other than this. (GambhirAnanda)

Above doesn't mean that we should choose neither rented nor buying & stay in forest. It simply means that don't let such things dwell your consciousness into them for too long. Pay minimal attention they deserve and keep your mind free of thoughts. When one's mind is free of thoughts, that automatically means, one is engaged into devotion of supreme (Read Ramana Maharshi about 'thoughtlessness').
If complete free of mind is not possible then allow only those thoughts, where you see supreme. Such as one's job, parents, teacher or "anything". It can even include children, wife, house etc. :-) But one should be seeing supreme in those.


When one acts in Swadharma [BG 18.47], the attachments don't bind easily. Below are few examples of how people decide their Swadharma based on affordability:

  • Having own house & car might be part of American Dream. But predominantly in other developed nations such as Germany & Netherlands, people rent homes & rent cars, respectively.
  • Decide based on your workplace to avoid waste of time & resources.
  • A long term planner should buy a house for good of his/her own children & further generations
  • A short term planner should rent a house to avoid big liabilities of loans & keep oneself free

Note: According to me in the same meta post, this Qn can be closed as either opinion based or off-topic. Hence to make my answer appear valid, I have taken liberty to edit the title of the Qn.

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