I could put my house on the market just to watch the spectacle of people clamoring to pay me more than the asking price.
I wouldn’t sell it because then I would have to move out, which means paying someone else more than the asking price.
It’s the Catch-22 of the area’s searing housing market – if your home’s value skyrockets, so does everyone else. You can sell high, but you are definitely not going to buy low.
Of course, buyers are not going to listen to this. I know I never did.
We had a less intense version of the current market when we last bought a house in 1993. There weren’t any bidding wars like now, but there were bidding skirmishes. We lost one, and I still think of the house that ran away. There was good storage space.
But soon we found another one to fall in love with. Passionate about its dimensions, we didn’t see the house’s flaws during our fiery pursuit. It wasn’t until later – say half an hour after closing – that we started to have doubts. Why didn’t we notice the lump under the carpet in the family room? Is something buried there? (No, it was just a bad job of leveling the ground, which I managed to fix 27 years later.)
I have owned three houses. In each case, I thought I was going to die if someone else approached them first, and later realized that I didn’t like any of them very much.
It occurred to me after buying the first one that I really should have bought land. I loved the freedom to dig holes in the ground and plant things without permission.
But the house? Too complicated, too degraded, too demanding. Outdoors, you can work wonders with a dish of annuals and mulch. Inside, every upgrade is expensive, and you can’t just trim your rug into shape or transform a tired decor with shrubs at half the price.
After every home purchase, we felt like we were in virtual poverty by the amount of the mortgage payment. And then it would subside and we would start to feel cramped in the available space.
The second house had a basement, a great desire of ours. The third had a bathroom and a half more than the second, which seemed essential at the time.
Now the kids are grown up and gone and, if anything, we have too much space. If we were to move now – which we don’t – it would be to a smaller location. But, wow, would that come at a steep price.
Joe Blundo is the Dispatch columnist.