I think that one of the things that went horribly wrong a while back (hard to pinpoint an exact starting point) was when people started thinking of their houses as “investments.”
Now I am no economic genius—-they are all in the other Washington—-and I certainly am no expert in the sales side of real estate either—even though I was a decent builder in my day. I read a statistic somewhere that claims that over the long haul, a home’s value stays relatively flat—–after adjustments for inflation and all that. So how did people get persuaded to jump on the “investment bandwagon?”
Once on board though, it makes sense that they would now be so upset with the huge supposed loses that have resulted in the most recent downturn.
Nobody likes to be a sucker.
So if a house is not a good “investment,” what is it and why would anyone buy one?
Mainly because it is a “HOME.” (And that is not to say that a rental could not also be a home.)
Here is a short list of what makes a house a home as opposed to an investment (I am sure you can think of other things to add and are encouraged to do so in your comments).
1. You can paint it whatever color you choose (in most cases).
2. You can remodel it any way you choose (with proper permits of course).
3. You don’t HAVE to mow the lawn or you can mow in either a diagonal or horizontal pattern (in most cases).
4. You can punch holes in the walls and you don’t HAVE to fix them (there is no damage deposit).
5. You can let the toilet leak until it falls through the floor.
6. Being able to fart at will.
7. You can change your own damn furnace filter.
8. You can turn your whole yard into a vegetable garden if you want (in most cases).
9. You can plant a cherry tree.
10. You can cut down that 40 foot tall tree that you are afraid the airplanes might hit.
Now here are a few things that also make a house a home—-although ownership is not required. And this list is also an “investment” albeit a more valuable asset than what “investment” has come to mean.
1. A place to chase the old lady or old man around in, which results in:
2. Having babies in them.
3. Raising babies in them (translate to: a place to change diapers and feel the babies smiles—-not all smiles mean they have gas).
4. Fixing the windows the babies kick soccer balls through.
5. Sending the babies off to college or war.
6. Grieving the loss of a parent.
7. Grieving the loss of a child.
8. Grieving the loss of a spouse.
9. Divorcing the old lady or old man you chased around the house.
10. Discussing politics, religion and food.
11. A place to be a believer.
12. A place to be one that does not believe.
13. Thanksgiving Dinner.
14. Getting wasted (you pick your poison).
15. Watching television (could be included in #14)
16. A place to be sick.
17. A place to be taken care of when you are sick.
18. A place to care for sick people.
19. Eventually a place to change your own diaper; and finally:
20. Something to pass on to your kids (by then they will KNOW it is not a “monetary investment” but is actually their own personal money-pit—but they will take it for the memories).
When all is said and done—-a home becomes a collection of memories that gets embedded in the structure of the house that forms its character over time—-a social investment that can be read in the worn floors, the nicked door jambs and the stains on the ceilings.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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