I have a serious addiction to watching the Home and Garden Network programming. It is my go-to-television-station and I seem to find it hard to sit and watch any other channel.
I have no idea what it is about watching other people renovating or house hunting or making the best use of their space (upsizing, downsizing, beachfront living, and the list goes on and on) that has me hooked.
Especially when my grandest dreams are buying new doors, a living room window and simply utilizing and taking care of the space I already own.
House prices have gone wild in my neck of the woods. Our Fair City has some of the highest housing prices in the country.
My modest, completely out of date, in dire need of TLC and maintenance is quite likely worth a quarter of a million dollars.
I cannot begin to fathom taking out a mortgage that exceeds that-which-I-already-owe (which is very low, in light of this housing frenzy).
I spoke to some young, new parents and they told me that they are looking at moving out of the city (in part) due to the high cost of housing. They know a couple who bought a house for half a million dollars and they are house poor. They cannot afford to maintain, furnish or decorate it.
We live in a world where two incomes are necessary. Just to pay the meet one's basic needs.
Then I turn on the TV and watch young couples moan and complain that a kitchen "needs a total gut job" because it is so dated (and we are talking about the 1990's).
They don't like the color of the hardwood. As they wander through a 2,000 sq ft home, they claim they need more space. The bathroom is too small. The backyard looks out onto the neighbor's. They want quartz over granite. They need space to entertain. They need a chef's kitchen. Open concept. Popcorn ceilings?!?!! Egad! You have walked into a minefield there.
I look at the programming and then think of this young, house-poor couple.
Low down payments, maxing out debt ratio and buying on the highest end of what people have been told they can afford is a recipe for bankruptcy in my books.
When I bought my home, I had a (relatively) large down payment. I bought on the lowest end of what I could afford (according to the bank). Even at that, if anything broke down, it meant 'immediate debt' to cover replacing or fixing what I had.
Granted, I only had one source of income coming in, but I could have been approved for a higher mortgage. All I could think was, "Why??"
When I hear these couples on the Home-Hunting programs exclaim, "I can't wait to hear what people think", I quite literally cringe.
One of the worst reasons for overextending one's credit limits (in my opinion) is to impress anyone other than yourself.
If I could live in a one room shack that was well maintained and contained a space for everything I needed to live a comfortable life, I would be happy.
As it turns out, I am trying to make my house work for me. So (presently) I need to have space for my daycare business, have child-friendly environment and I need to utilize my space efficiently.
After hours, I like to feel like I live in a home (not a daycare zone) so I crave convertible spaces and storage areas to embrace a feel of warmth and homeyness.
I don't want to spend a lot of time cleaning. I don't want to spend a lot of money updating that-which-works. I don't want to impress people with my house. If there is any 'impressing' to be done, I hope it is by looking into my eyes and seeing 'who' I am. Not what my life looks like.
I like my simple little life, within my simple little home.
I suppose watching others dream, house hunt and renovate is akin to my previous desire to go for a walk at night, in the hopes of being able to peek inside people's houses and admire that-which-I-don't-have.
One day, I may be able to purchase those doors and window. I will have watched so many renovation shows by that time, I will be ready for the domino effect that often follows changing 'one small thing'.
Perhaps that is the reason I do nothing and savor 'peeking in other people's windows' by tuning into the HGTV. It is always nice to have a dream...