On This Presidents' Day, Let's Talk About the American Dream

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Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

On This Presidents' Day, Let's Talk About the American Dream

The American dream.  For my purposes as a Bristow-Gainesville Real Estate Agent, let's boil that dream down to housing.  What IS the American housing dream these days?  Being a real estate agent who's brain tend to swim on the more cynical side, I am beginning to think it may involve granite kitchen counter tops, a jetted soaking tub and hand scraped hardwood floors.  

The American Dream as it pertains to real estateDon't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with any of these things, but they should not be made a priority if you simply can not afford them.  Take for instance the young mother of three children I helped get into a rental, paid entirely by the county.  Not putting one single dime into the property, and having any aspiration of digging herself out of county assistance, she had the nerve to tell a landlord, "I'll take this house if you upgraded the kitchen to have stainless steel appliances, granite counters and large ceramic tile flooring."

You see, there are reasons I got as cynical as I am.  Like sitting in front of a young couple looking to move up to Bristow from the southern part of our state.  I knew they wouldn't qualify for the single family home they felt they had now earned at the age of 25 and 28.  When the lender broke down what they qualified for into dollars, I immediately knew I could find them a luxury townhouse. The wife broke down sobbing about she wanted a single family home, looked up to her husband through the tears and asked, "Would you take another contract in Afghanistan or Iraq so we can get one?"  Seriously.  You can't make this stuff up.  She was ready to risk her loved one's life and limbs to get a detached house instead of a luxury townhouse.  

This Presidents' Day I spent with a family that really understood what was important.  Each other. They wrote a new construction contract, forgoing all but a few of the upgrades that many buyers would have insisted on.  Why?  They have a growing family and what is important is having the space to raise them.  Who cares if it is a home with basic flooring or basic counter tops?  A master bathroom with no luxury tub?  They didn't care.  They were so excited to be writing a contract for a home that they would fit into and love as their "forever home."  Yes, they meant forever.  They want this to the home their kids bring their kids to for the holidays.  That is the American dream to me.  A home where families can be proud to gather, even with its basic finishes.  

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Rainmaker
1,780,453
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

It is amazing to hear what some of the younger buyers are talking about "needing" in their new home Chris Ann - crazy!

Feb 17, 2014 12:47 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

What an eye opener.....such a loving wife, willing to risk her husbands life because of her selfishness.  She'd be crying tears of "disbelief" when I threw her ass out on the street if she was my wife and asked me that question.

Feb 17, 2014 07:18 PM #2
Rainer
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Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Broker / Author / Advocate/Short Sale

Sounds like a real case of being "spoiled".  Too many of the younger folks have not learned the process of home ownership, and how it takes years to move up into the higher end properties.   The great news is, yes in the USA, we have that dream alive and well.

Feb 17, 2014 08:38 PM #3
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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Chris Ann. If you have been in the business for any period it is hard not to be cynical but the couple you told us about make it all worth it. Suggested.

Feb 17, 2014 09:00 PM #4
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Tom:  Yes, some of them actually willing to risk life or limb for superficial details.

Roger:  What was worse was the husband's reaction.  He would've done anything for her.  So dysfunctional.

Dan:  Home ownership is one thing, but being blind to opportunities to do that when you are too superficial is beyond comprehension to me.  I grew up in a duplex with one full bathroom and one half bathroom.  There was a shower schedule as we got older and all wanted it at the same time.  You do what you have to do.

Sheila:  The couple I helped yesterday will have a very long, happy life together, and probably in that very home they will be waiting to be built.

Feb 18, 2014 02:12 AM #5
Rainer
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Pat McCormick
Long and Foster Manassas - Manassas, VA

Chris Ann, I bet the couple this weekend was a lot more fun to work with and be around than the ones who wanted everything right now.  Level-headed clients are great!

Feb 18, 2014 02:14 AM #6
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Pat: They were definitely level headed.  And more financially prepared for their future than any young couple I have ever met.

Feb 18, 2014 02:36 AM #7
Rainmaker
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

And I walked 10 miles to school, one way, uphill, in the snow barefoot. Yeah, people are a bit spoiled.

Feb 18, 2014 03:14 AM #8
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Elizabeth:  Just a smidge.  It's okay to be spoiled where you can put your money where your mouth is.  That is deserved indulgence.  When you are scraping to make ends meet, it's just silly.

Feb 18, 2014 04:03 AM #9
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Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Ahhhh Chris Ann, One could only wish to have dozens of Buyers #3! Realistic and down to earth with good family values!

Feb 18, 2014 04:55 AM #10
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Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Chris Ann.  Some people just think they are so entitled.  What is wrong with that woman.  Then there is the other family who are just thrilled that they can buy a big home without the frills.

Feb 18, 2014 04:59 AM #11
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Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

Wow!  This so pains me to read.  I know how this works though, having seen similar situations (though not as drastic) through my own two eyes.  

Entitlement has become a way of life, unfortunately.  I could go on, but I can't because of the sadness of how people view the way the world (in America) works.

Feb 18, 2014 05:57 AM #12
Rainmaker
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Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

In the inimitable words of Mickey....."he needs his head examiined".

Feb 18, 2014 08:15 AM #13
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Connie:  But that is not what we are churning out as a society these days.

Belinda:  Which woman?  Either one in scenario one or two was just off their rocker.

Suzanne:  Maybe entitlement is the new American dream.  I hope not.  

Roger:  I love Mickey's words of wisdom.

Feb 18, 2014 08:30 AM #14
Rainmaker
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Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I have had a lot of the same thoughts.  I know there are a lot of folks all over the world that would be more than satisifed with a basic home... Sometimes, I just have to hold my tongue.

Feb 18, 2014 12:14 PM #15
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Joan:  I try to gently remind my buyers that a lot of the things they may focus on can be changed over time as they only cosmetic.

Feb 19, 2014 09:36 AM #16
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