At dinner with lovely friends the other night, one of the lovely friends asked me something that got my back up. “So….you’ve given up on getting a house?”
No, I have tabled the decision until the 1,000,000 items on my “YOU PROMISED TO DELIVER THIS WORK MONTHS AGO” list comes down to a dull roar, and I can sit down to read a book without a crashload of guilt falling on my shoulders.
Is that so wrong? What is it with people and houses? A few years ago, in passing, I mentioned wanting a first edition Hemingway I saw at Barnaby Rudge. Nobody has mentioned it since–not once! I once mentioned investing in a print from De Koonig. Nobody has ever once followed up on that. But a house purchase? THAT’S REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT and we need to ask and ask and ask about it.
Apparently, the lesson from this housing crash hasn’t gotten through people’s brains: just because you buy a house, even a house in a *walkable community*, that action doesn’t make you a better, more stable, more worthy citizen than anybody else. It makes you a person with a mortgage.
In the past few days, I’ve had yet more frenzied conversations. Now, my exposure to real estate related conversations is going to be high anyway since my real estate colleagues are great to hang around and I learn a lot from them.
But no: I’m talking about people having the same bizarre real-estate-obsessed conversations I had to sit through prior to the bust. And in the bust. Because prior to the bust, it was possible to blither on endlessly about real estate, its desirability, and how clever one was for buying. After the bust we could talk endlessly about the bust, and how “now was a good time to buy.” Before the bust, the conversation was exactly the same, but “You’ve got to buy now or you’ll never get in!”
Yes, when I said I was going to “wait to see how Andy and I were feeling about settling in LA”, my friends all gasped and said “Oh no! Prices are going up from here! You’d better buy now.”
Look, people. It’s doesn’t matter if you buy a huge house with a pool in back or a New Urbanist urban-hipster approved condo loft: YOUR SHELTER IS NOT WHO YOU ARE.