not sold on houses

April 22, 2008

Sunday morning I joined my mom who was watching some of those "get your home ready for a sale!" shows... I suppose it's especially poignant for folks in this stage of the real estate cycle. Some of the advice seems a bit contradictory ("get your stuff out of there so people can visualize their own stuff there!" "your place is too sterile, get some more stuff in there!" - I guess it's a fine balance) and for some of the shows I'm happy I don't have to deal with the hosts in person, they seem kind of overbearing.

I wonder why there aren't as many "hey buyers! Look out for these stupid tricks!" shows. (Sometimes when the hosts tell a would-be seller "that's a real negative for the price of the house" I wonder if there is a "did you realize that when you moved in, you fool?" subtext. Also it seems kind of weird when they talk about the current value of the house, minus the original cost and the cost of improvements, they absolutely ignore inflation.) I guess there is another set of shows for people who just want to improve the space they plan on staying in. All these houses look a bit off too; I'm not sure if it's because they're in that weird seller's mode of decoration, or if they just lack books. At least they are realistic situations, not stuff that seems made up for TV.

It makes me think about my house ambitions, or lack thereof. In some ways my view of home ownership might be a little stunted, growing up moving through a series of pre-furnished places, with no one in my family having say in where we lived. So when I hear about Condo membership fees, or how much property tax can be (big issue here in MA, with a lot of argument on either side of the property tax limit override issue... it kind of gives you a feel for how it used to be only landowners who got a vote) on top of what I know about mortgages, it makes me wonder what the point of it all is. Rent is a "black hole" but so is that other stuff!

I guess my ideal for a home is a place where maybe you had to spend a lot of money to get it, but then you could just live there and not have to think about it any more, or make it a big part of your budget.

I suppose my views might be very different if I had a family to raise.

Bathrooms of the Moment
The corner of the bathroom in the Au-Pair apartment I'll be moving into:
That was written by Beth, a friend and former colleague of my Aunt Susans. (She sometimes would stay overnight in the apartment and would leave messages when she had to leave early the next morning.) I'm kind of loathe to remove it, I kind of dig the friendly flirtiness of it.

We all had late-Easter / pseudo-Passover dinner at my cousins' in Brookline; I'm hoping this is just a promotional item and not actually Zoloft in convenient pump form.

Poem of the Moment
Higgledy Piggledy, my white hen;
She lays eggs for gentlemen.
You cannot persuade her with gun or lariat
To come across for the proletariat.
--Dorothy Parker