We put our house on the market this summer and re-read this old post with mixed emotions. I never thought selling a dwelling could be so emotionally taxing...
I dwell in Possibility,
A fairer house than Prose.
Our house sits on one of Minnesota's 15,000 lakes and its screened-in deck provides a lovely view. Middle Jefferson's not the best lake in the state by any measure - shallow, mud-bottomed, and weedy until early July. But it is quiet and a refuge for pelicans, muskrats, ducks, leaping fish, herons, turtles, egrets, and the occasional eagle. The sunsets are glorious. Could be worse.
What got me thinking about the house was a story on public radio about how the "net worth" of so many Americans is completely tied up in their houses. And how the uncertainty in home values causes great unease among lots of people.
And here I naively thought humans bought homes for the quality of life they provide, not simply as a financial investment. As a nest rather than a nest egg. Were I to sell this house at a fiscal loss, I still would come out ahead considering the wonderful events it's hosted - holiday meals for the hoards of relatives, fishing and boating with the grandsons, graduation parties, quiet evenings with friends, and even summer department meetings. It's a congenial place that's value lies less in land, paint, and shingles than in memories and pleasant hours spent.
I was once asked if I knew the monetary value of a school library. Such a number is not that hard to calculate - add up building costs per square foot and the cost of resources, furniture, and equipment. I'm sure such numbers have importance to some people, but I have a tough time seeing any program that nurtures a love of reading, problem-solving, and learning in a safe and welcoming environment in purely dollars-and-cents terms.
Perhaps I am just getting sentimental in my old age. But I feel sorry for those who only see worth when dollars are involved in either homes or schools.