After reading someone else's blog about being able to compile a description of my life in only 6 words. It has been on my mind all day today. To be honest, since I turned 40 last year it seems that things are so much clearer to me than they ever were before. Is it because I have less distractions in my life now? My son is grown and I can focus more on my needs as opposed to him being the center of my life, or maybe since I am more financially stable and don't have to worry about how I am going to come up with money to pay bills until the next month of worrying how I am going to pay bills? Maybe it could be that at this age, I finally realize that I don't actually have to look like a super model to be acceptable in todays society and I truly understand what my mom used to tell me about how it is more important what you look like on the inside than on the outside.
All of these things, among other daily stresses, used to clog my brain on a regular basis and I have come to the conclusion that I see things clearer now because I regularly ask myself "Do I need it or Do I want it"?. It is so easy to waste precious moments of this life worrying about things that you have or don't have, not to mention the worry and stress over "things" that you want or think that you need. I mean seriously, does anyone really "need" a $50K car or a million dollar home with 5 bedrooms when you have no children at home? Believe it or not, just a few short decades ago there were families of 6 that lived and thrived happily in a 3 bedroom 1 bath home. An now it comes to the part of my ranting where it actually relates to real estate. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the benefits as a Realtor of the urge that numerous folks have to up and move just because the want a bigger closet or nicer yard or something closer to work, etc. But I have to think that all of this moving just to satisfy our need for better or bigger or nicer has to play an important role in the meltdown of our real estate industry as it stands today. I am no saint myself. I am now in my fourth home in 10 years, so I am to blame as well. Anyway, we have totally gotten away from the "old" way of thinkingabout buying and owning a home. I know I am not the only one that remembers the days when you did not buy a home until you had 20% saved for a down payment and when you bought it you stayed there unless something major happened. I can still remember the days when folks said "you are crazy to sell your house unless you have been there at least 10 years. You will loose your 'you know what'. No one says that anymore. Is there anyone that is holding us accountable anymore? (It certainly is not going to be Realtors or mortgage lenders) When did we start buying and selling homes just because it was a buyers market or a sellers market, that never seems to work out that well, does it? Does it really have to come down to the foreclosure departments, judges and court systems of our country to tell us, "Hey, you really can't afford this house".
Anyway, as my rant comes to an end, my only point is that we have no one to blame but ourselves for the mess we are in right now. Just because the bank will give us a 120% loan does not mean that we should not "save-up" for the down payment and walk-in with positive equity, and just because the appraiser says that the house is "conveniently" valued at the exact amount of the purchase contract does not mean that is what it is actually worth, and just because your realtor calls you to tell you about an awesome deal on a house that is perfect for you does not mean that you have to jump on it immediately (I know, I know, that is totally counter-productive to my own efforts to survive as a realtor).
The only one that is going to hold us accountable for our actions is us! We all know this, but somehow have forgotten it. Maybe it will help, if we all ask ourselves "Do I actually need it, or do I just want it"?
Have a great day!