I’m reading a book called House Lust about the North American obsession with homes, renovations, house-hunting, decorating, HGTV and pretty much everything else to do with feathering your nest.
The problem, Internet, is that House Lust is bankrupting people and destroying their relationships. One contractor estimated that almost a third of his clients got divorced or separated during the course of a renovation. What the WHAT? Are granite countertops really worth your marriage? What is wrong with us?
The more I think about it the more I think that buying a house is insanity. I might opt out of this particular incarnation of the American dream. Amidst the obnoxious high-fiving people engage in while comparing the amount their house was bought and subsequently sold for, there exists a gross underestimation (or lack of estimation altogether) of closing costs, reno costs, realtor fees, property taxes, bills, regular maintenance and replacements, upgrades etc. Especially now that the housing boom has turned into a housing bust, I’m beginning to think that real estate isn’t the golden egg it once was.
Perhaps a better option is to pay rent, avoid all of the costs involved with home-ownership and put the difference into high-yield investments. I think the money saved on non-renovations alone would result in a huge gain. (and don’t jibber jabber about reno’s being an investment themselves, very few renovations result in a dollar for dollar return, it’s usually around 75 cents on the dollar … now you’re divorced AND you have lost 25% of you investment. Zeut alors!)
At this point I’d rather have a few vacations than a new kitchen. And, for that matter, an intact marriage rather than new bamboo floors. What’s with the obsession with ownership? Adam and I have enough to fight about as it is, like whether or not one partner is maritally obligated to warm the perennially ice-cold feet of the other partner in bed (Um, OBVIOUSLY. We took VOWS.)