I have been thinking of buying a house but the idea of paying interest is not sitting well with me. Can you please confirm if my following understandings are correct?

1) Saving for a house and khums. I understand that khums is not applicable on this type of savings only if not having a house will put me in severe difficulty (that is unbearable) and if not having a house is a sign of neglecting my duties towards my family. I believe I do not fit into these two categories as renting is not putting me in severe difficulty nor am I neglecting my family duties. Therefore, any savings that I set aside for purchasing a house should be subject to khums?

2) Mortgage. I understand that a mortgage loan is only allowed if we change our intention when applying for the loan and only in extreme hardship are we allowed to take out such a loan. My questions for this are; how is it possible to set such an intention when you literally sign off paperwork that states the interest rates you are signing up for? Also, I wouldn’t consider that I’m in extreme hardship by renting (even though I may be paying more than I would if had bought a house via mortgage) so, given my situation I can’t really take advantage of this ruling to take out a mortgage?

3) Many people I know, including family members, take advantage of the above rulings when they are not really in a state of hardship and will do just fine renting. It may be more expensive but they would be fine. Some even go as far as not paying their annual khums because they took out a mortgage and now they owe money, which doesnt make sense if the mortgage was taken out with an intention if a gift. My third point here is only highlighting the situation that I have been observing and would love to see more content around this, as this is a huge topic in the west.

1- Your understanding is correct.

2- You don’t have to be in extreme hardship to use this method. Basically there are two solutions here. One is what is called istinqaadh. You make the niyyah, when collecting the loan, that you are salvaging the money of a kafir. So the money you take is not a loan, it’s basically money you are salvaging. Then the monthly payments you make, you do so with the intention that either you are giving them a gift or because the law requires you to do so. So even if you sign on paper, your intention is not not seek a loan. It’s to claim the money, since Ayatollah Sistani says in this case you can take the money with the intention of salvaging it. There are other workarounds too.

3- One does not have to be in hardship to seek some of these workarounds. I recommend seeing this lecture: