Today's New York Times
article, What’s My House Worth? And Now?
by Michelle Slatalla, reminded me of how strange it is to not know what our house is worth. I generally stick with the selling price in my mind, because that feels safest. The Professor thinks that the work we did increased the value, but the market is stalling where we are. We have a quite a few friends who are wanting to buy, but not willing to pay the prices that sellers are asking for. So properties are staying on the market for a while. It must be outsiders (like we were) buying them.
When we got here from the Big City, prices looked low to us. I mean, we winced at paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, justifying it to ourselves that it would seem like nothing when we are 60, but in return we got a huge house with wood trim and pocket doors and high ceilings. And we're happy. Our mortgage payments are high but doable on two professional salaries, though paying extra each month feels like pouring drops in a black hole for all the effect it has.
The house feels more and more like it's ours. At first, it seemed so foreign and filled with Grandpa's stuff. But painting helped. And filling it with our furniture. Putting art on the walls was a HUGE help (thanks, D., you rule!). And just living there for a while, having it become a part of our daily life.
It is like a marriage. Where once I had an yearning emptiness, now I feel fulfilled. Like the house has satisfied a deep need of mine. I grew up moving every few years and never felt settled. My parents don't live in any of those houses/apartments any more. There's something so profound about the sense of belonging someWHERE, in the same way that belonging to someONE is. It's been two years now (I know! Incredible, isn't it?), and I've accepted the house, imperfections and all, as a part of my life and a part of me.
It must be that feeling about the house that makes it so hard to evaluate worth. Just like when you're happy in a job, you're not thinking about salary, but as soon as you start feeling dissatisfied, you focus all of your unhappiness on how little you are being paid. I hope Casa Revivalized has retained its value, I hope that nothing we did has lowered the value, I hope that the market doesn't crash. But I really have no idea.
And it doesn't actually matter.
Because we're not selling. I see lots of lovely homes, especially along my 30-mile drive to work every day. And a little of that lust comes back, but it passes too. I'm so happy with our house, our life, our friends who are just a few blocks away that it's just not that tempting.
By the way, I did check, and none of those sites could estimate our current house value. I think it's because the technology is younger than two years. And some didn't even cover our rural area. But I did see what some friends of ours paid, which made me feel a bit better.