It’s today in Seattle. Which means yet another news story, blog post or social media thread about our hot housing market. And not just hot, but red-hot, scorching-hot or hotter-than-a-firecracker hot. No matter how it’s described, the bottom line is always the same: prices are up and inventory is down; buyers are in a frenzy and sellers are in the driver’s seat. Which is why the following is so perplexing.
From the outside peering in, it looks like a lot of fun to be a millennial. After all, as a group they grew up surrounded by electronics and have no fear finding digital solutions to just about everything, like buying groceries or eye glasses or streaming entertainment choices on demand. But when it comes to buying a house, well things are tougher for them.
I just heard from my longtime pal, Steve, who shared the news that he and his wife had just sold their beautiful houseand would be moving in three weeks. I was surprisedto hear this because theirsweet little bungalow was their empty-nester home, the smaller place they’d down-sized into after their kids had grown and gone and begun families of their own. Plus, Steve’s green thumb had turned the yard into a real standout. But things change and now, to be nearer the grandkids, a move was in order.
When I decided to sell my beloved first house in late 2009 it wasn’t a particularly good time. We were a year into the Great Recession and home prices were down. Way down. Having owned the house for 14 years and substantially improved it, I still made a handsome profit on its sale. But had I waited a few years my proceeds would have been greater. On the other hand, lower home prices meant I got a smoking deal on the house I bought, which wouldn’t have happened even a year later and would be unimaginable in today’s red-hot market.
Why do homes sell? Is it because of location? Price? Architectural style? Surely these all come into play, but more than anything else, homes sell because buyers fall in love with them. And love, generally, has little to do with location, money or architecture. People buy homes with their hearts. It’s an emotional thing.
I’ve been using the same tax accountant for about 15 years now and I always try to meet with her early enough to avoid the last-minute rush to April 15. This year, after we exchanged the usual pleasantries and I handed over the usual suspects – my W2s, charity receipts, car tab bill, etc. – she began the annual inquisition: “Did you buy a new car? Did you refinance? Did you do any remodeling?”
Once, a Jetsons kind of life seemed like a pipe dream, the stuff of cartoons. Well, even pipe dreams come true. Though we’re not yet zipping through the sky to commute to and from work, today’s smart home technology is making many of our daily commutes more than just a way home. Example:
Buying, DIY Projects, Home Life, Gardening, Home Maintenance, Selling, Decorating, Home Technology
Even though it’s almost February, 2017, I’m still struggling to polish off my New Year’s resolutions for last year. I only had three: attention to health, organization and comfort. I did manage to hit the gym more often than not, and I bought a bunch of new shoes that make my feet deliriously happy. So, two out of three ain’t bad. But organization … well, I’m still working on that one. I successfully cleaned out my closets and reorganized my kitchen cabinets and pantry early in the year, but my home office is still not the tidy, efficient workspace I know it can be. And every weekend, it seems, something more fun exciting urgent keeps popping up instead.
It doesn’t matter whether you bought that to-die-for bungalow that needed just a little TLC or you opted for a brand-new home in the ‘burbs – sooner or later something in your house is going to burn out, fall apart or start leaking. Maybe all three. At the same time.