Thursday, August 2, 2007

Living Space

I know its gonna sound like I'm talking about work and in a way I am, but I'm really not. I promise I have a bigger point. I was watching Oprah the other day and she had guests on the show who live in what most would consider extremely small spaces. She had her main man Nathan on the show helping people open up their tiny spaces. There were of course your Manhattan renters who pay lots of dough to stay in studios and those who have chosen the life of the village to raise a family. Even those who moved to smaller spaces so that they weren't living "house poor". But the man that caught my attention was a man who lived in a house that was literally no bigger than a room. He paid no mortgage and had very few other expenses. He said that he chose to live in that small house so that he could have fewer bills and really use the money that he did make to ENJOY LIFE. That statement really got me thinking, since when did the number of square feet you owned determine your quality of life?

Oprah as well as the others seemed extremely captivated with those who were much more concerned with living than how big their living spaces were. It seems today people are more impressed with how large your house is, what seems to be forgotten is that in most cases with a large house comes a large mortgage. I am not saying that is wrong to live in a big open space with lavish furniture, remarkably high cathedral ceilings and tubs and closets the size of rooms. But do we really need these things? And can we really afford them? I realized that while there are a vast majority who determine wealth with how much stuff you can accumulate there are the wiser few who remember that the more you concentrate on what you have it only leaves little time for you to develop and enjoy who you are.

As you look at these large houses with grand pianos that collect dust, and furniture that people arent allowed to sit on it makes you think are people really ENJOYING these homes. I work in an industry that is supposed to help people purchase homes. But often I come across single parents who have worked on a job for 10 years with steady incomes and decent savings and are still unfortunately not able to afford to purchase a house on their own. Houses appreciated at almost 17-25% a couple of years ago. Someone could buy a house for 150,000 and in six months when they were ready to refi the house would appraise for 225,000. That is insane!! I thought to myself when is this going to backfire. When are we going to pay for all this rapid growth? And now, now the subprime market has practically deteriorated. The guidelines that lenders are changing are becoming more strict by the day and programs are being cut so that only those with healthy incomes and strong credit scores have the luxury of home ownership.

All things ebb and flow. While we enjoyed an extreme growth in the mortgage industry over the last 4 years it is now time for the market to slow down and catch up with itself (if you will). Its time for a house to be worth pretty close to what you bought it for six months earlier. Time for those who have only been on a job for 6 months to get a little more stability before they are eligible for homeownership. Unfortunately, we have experienced more foreclosure recently than in years previous put together. And the real estate market directly affects our job market and economy as a whole. While I know things are looking bleak, I know that it will clear itself up. I know that things will turn around.

It is extremely important to have a home for your family. But isnt it more important to have one that we can afford? The biggest doesnt always mean the best. When we go to the market do we look for the food that is in our budget. HMMM I know I can get those crackers for 1.50 but my income says I can afford 3.00 so I'm gonna pay double. Thats absurd, most of us look for the lowest price. Its the same thing with a house. Get the most for your dollar. Really research the amount of space that you'll need and dont pay for extra space. Trust me I had to learn that the hardway. I was in a house where I was only using two of the rooms, never went in the basement and was hardly ever downstairs. And finally I thought, why am I paying for all this extra space...for who, Jinxi. My cat has the biggest playground ever. And I could be saving myself so much money. So Welcome Granny, Darren and Dakota. Nice to have you share my space.

Get a house that suits your needs. One that fits your family and your lifestyle comfortably. And make it yours. Decorate it so that it says so much about your family unit and about who you are. And use your extra money to really live. Not in the house. Go places. Outside. Do things, things that cost money. Enjoy your life. Wordly possessions are just that, wordly possessions, yes even the house.


See: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-te.bz.mortgage07aug07,0,7864476.story

1 comment:

Finally Defined said...

"that the more you concentrate on what you have it only leaves little time for you to develop and enjoy who you are."

This statement is profound. I love words. I love to read. I love to write. Your blog is a pleasure to read - and I dont' mind at all that you read and/or comment as often as you like to my blog... I started it as much to touch others, as to have an outlet for myself...